Exam hunger for dark themes

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In today’s paper there was an article about The Hunger Games and how it was being used as an NCEA text:

Teachers are encouraging pupils to study the popular novel The Hunger Games in preparation for their NCEA exams.

At least four secondary schools taught the controversial post-apocalyptic book last year, and exam moderators find it one of the most popular essay topics for Level One English students.

The book is now on the recommended reading list, alongside vampire series Twilight and the Harry Potter books.

The Hunger Games, the first of a trilogy, is a dystopian thriller, set in a metropolitan capital city that holds the rest of the nation to ransom. The “games” involve 24 children – including 16-year-old heroine Katniss – fighting to the death in a reality show.

In the US, the trilogy is third on the American Library Association list of most frequently challenged books, but its popularity in schools here has been welcomed.

“I think it could be quite a good idea,” said Massey University education and literary professor Tom Nicholson. “It might be controversial, but to me it’s been phenomenally successful as a good read – and anything that gets teenagers reading is good.”

Read more here.

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