Athletic department chooses ‘The Hunger Games’ as required summer reading

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by Amanda Hills

This summer’s school-wide required reading will be the first book in The Hunger Games series, according to athletic director Tom Giusti, who is organizing the project with the physical education health and wellness staff and librarians.

The project will be called One School, One Book. It is a revised model of last year’s pilot Two Schools, One Book, which both this school and South participated in it. This year, each high school has selected its own book.

Giusti said that he and librarian Donna Johns “bounced many different ideas” around before settling on The Hunger Games. He said that they agreed that the book has many dimensions that lend itself to class discussions.

The project proposal says that the book “looks more closely at the themes of violence in society, competition and teamwork, as well as privilege, poverty and oppression.”

Their hope, Giusti said, is that students who have already read the book will “delve back into it” and find some of its subtle messages.

In addition, he said that contrary to this year, when Zeitoun was rarely discussed in classes, the goal is that all teachers will integrate discussions on The Hunger Games into subjects.

Physical education health and wellness teacher Bill McAndrews, who is also assisting in coordinating this initiative, said that many of his students expressed interest in reading this book. He also noticed that some faculty members seemed apprehensive, saying that the book was mainly geared towards kids. He said he hopes that faculty members will also open their eyes to the important issues addressed in the book.

He also said that because there is a very accurate film version of The Hunger Games, kids who have only seen the movie might be motivated to read the book.

Giusti added that although only the first book in the series will be required reading, he thinks it might prompt students to read the other two books.

He concluded that the ultimate goal of this project is to encourage a school-wide “reading and discussion of the topics outlined in the book.”

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