News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 24, 2012

Students of all ages enjoy 'The Hunger Games' book

Won Young Hoosier Book Award at middle school level

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — While it’s not assigned class reading, several students in Tiffany Scamihorn’s grade 4/5 GT class at Sugar Grove Elementary have read The Hunger Games.

With the action and suspense, “It’s the perfect book,” said fifth-grader Aaron Gentry. “It keeps you at the edge of your seat.”

The plot, in which teen-agers fight to the death on national television, “is what makes you read on. You want to see what happens,” said Moses Bovenschen, another fifth-grader in the class. He read the book in three days this week.

While it’s not an organized class activity, several of the students who have read, or are reading the book, plan to meet Sunday afternoon at the theater, where they’ll watch the movie together. (They’ll pay their own way and provide their own transportation).

Joining them will be Scamihorn and Janella Knierim, the school’s media specialist, who are fans of the trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins.

“It was constant action, excellent character development and you absolutely felt like the characters going through those hunger games,” Scamihorn said Friday afternoon. “You were rooting for all of them, but you knew they were going to all die.” Most of them die, she clarified.

The book “has kind of an evil theme to it. It gets a little bit gory in parts,” Scamihorn said. “But the kids don’t seem to mind because it’s very fictitious and they are rooting for the good guys to overcome and take over and beat the Capitol.”

Fourth-grader Austin Willis, who is currently reading The Hunger Games, said that as he reads the book, “All I’m thinking is that I hope this never happens in the real world.”

Trevor Ley, also a fourth-grader, described the book as action-packed, mysterious and a little scary. The fight-to-the-death plot “is really barbaric,” he said.

Bovenschen told Gentry that if the two of them had to participate in a fight-to-the-death competition, “I don’t think we’d live.”

Gentry said he wants to see the movie in part because “the book was so good, we want to see the movie to compare.”

The Hunger Games won the Young Hoosier Book Award at the middle school level last year, Knierim said, and the author, Suzanne Collins, spoke at the Indiana Library Federation state conference.

“We asked her why she chose to write about war and she said that hopefully, kids would read the book and learn how tragic and devastating war is and maybe prevent wars in the future,” according to Knierim.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or