Did 'Hunger Games' send wrong message?

How many parents know the plot of the Hunger Games trilogy or have seen the movies? If you don't, the plot describes how the government of a dystopian America forces children to kill other children in order for their geographic region to survive. The annual death match is televised for the entertainment of the nation. Add beautiful Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the heroine who kills with grace, to the movie version and you have a blockbuster magnifying the best-seller series by Suzanne Collins.

As a school teacher, I saw this book take control of 4th-6th grade free-reading time. Students lived the story; their conversations about nothing else. I had discussions with parents who hadn't read the book but approved it so their children could keep up with their peers and who were amazed that the kids were reading with gusto. Scholastic Books, which handles book fairs, featured it. Parents were dropping kids off at the movies because of peer pressure.

I recall the dismaying conversation with a well-meaning father who said he didn't mind his 11-year old daughter reading about violence, as long as it was not about sex!

Perhaps a coincidence that Elliot Rodgers went to the opening of The Hunger Games, of which his father was a director? Do we become what we read and watch?

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