Feature

Author of the week: Suzanne Collins

The final book in Collins' Hunger Games trilogy is this summer's most anticipated children’s book.

The author of the summer’s most anticipated children’s book thinks parents need to do a better job of exposing their kids to violence, said Rick Margolis in School Library Journal. Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay is the final book in her highly readable Hunger Games trilogy, which takes place in a world where young kids are made to fight as gladiators—but rise up to fight for their own freedom. The series tackles many topics—government oppression, flesh-devouring mutants, young love—but one theme recurs. “For me, they’re absolutely, first and foremost, war stories,” Collins says. Kids today see plenty of virtual gore, but rarely learn the realities of combat. “It’s not comfortable for us to talk about, so we generally don’t,” she says. “If the whole concept of war were introduced to kids at an earlier age, we would have better dialogues going on about it.”

Collins’ own favorite childhood reading tended to be Greek mythology, said Tina Jordan in Entertainment Weekly. But she remembers falling in love with a quirky book about the siege of Leningrad, Jaap ter Haar’s Boris, and she learned plenty more from the firsthand accounts of her father, a Vietnam vet. “He felt that it was part of his responsibility to teach us, his children, about history and war,” she says. “He would discuss these things at a level that he thought we could understand and was acceptable for our age. But, really, he thought a lot was acceptable for our age, and I approach my books in the same way.”

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