Another Hunger Games Movie, Another Opportunity to Engage Young People
If you follows movie news, you've probably noticed that publicity for Catching Fire, the sequel to the 2012 film The Hunger Games, has begun in full force. Fans are chatting about the casting choices and movie posters and trading bits of gossip about the film, scheduled to be released later this year. If you know a young person who is excited about Catching Fire, you have an opening to talk to them about issues of hunger and poverty.
Around the time of the last film's release, Oxfam and Imagine Better launched the "Hunger is NOT a Game" campaign as a way to educate Hunger Games fans about international food justice and spur them to action. Whether there will be another large-scale social action campaign around Catching Fire remains to be seen, but the movie (and the book) offer an opportunity to introduce adolescents and teens to anti-hunger efforts. The books and the movies in the series all center around a young woman who leads an uprising against a system that has kept her people impoverished and starving for generations. The works fall under the umbrella of science fiction and fantasy, so there are special effects and outlandish costumes, and, yes, some violence, but the core message is about fighting injustice and challenging the status quo.
The trilogy's key messages are especially timely now, as people suffering from hunger and poverty are particularly vulnerable, thanks to the sequester and ongoing budget negotiations in Congress.
Catching Fire isn't out until later this year, but it's not too early to start a conversation about its themes. Consider reading the books yourself, or watching the first movie, and talking to an adolescent or teen about the poverty and hunger described in the trilogy (there are a ton of discussion guides about the books available online, most of which include questions about class, poverty, and hunger). For teens and older adolescents, consider showing them the documentary A Place at the Table as a way to explain that hunger isn't something faced by fictional young people in a faraway land, but a very real problem that may be affecting some of their friends and classmates. Consult Bread for the World's companion discussion guide "No Place at the Table" for help. If a kid is impressed by the efforts of The Hunger Games’ protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, to take on the Capitol and fight for a world in which everyone has enough to eat, he or she should be excited by the real-life equivalent: help a young person write a letter to Congress to ask for adequate funding for programs that address hunger and help lift people out of poverty.
Sarah Godfrey is Bread for the World's associate online editor.
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