Guest post by Shylah Addante
Three years ago, I started a blog to talk about this amazing book I read. You might have heard of it- it was called The Hunger Games. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, just me talking about my thoughts on things like video games and Finnick and Annie… until I wrote a post about the personal impact reading the series had on me, not only as a reader, but as a citizen of the world:
“It would be an understatement to say that I was a wreck. I like happy endings. I can deal with loss, and death, and sadness, as long as at the end good triumphs over evil. To me, no one won at the end of Mockingjay.
It felt so sad, so hopeless in those hours after I finished the book. I couldn’t let it end like that. I needed to give myself a happy ending.
The Hunger Games series is a book about many things, but for me the realistic depiction of how poverty and oppression go hand in hand was at the heart of the books. The districts were easily manipulated by the Capitol not only by a deprivation of resources, but also (and more importantly) by a deprivation of information. It is not until the Districts gain the ability to learn and communicate with one another that the Rebellion is born.
Education powers revolutions.”
I put my words into action and went to donorschoose.org. There I found a project from a teacher in New York City:
“My Students: My Latino and African-American students attend a high poverty school in New York City.
They are 13 going on 14, have a nose for injustice, and love to argue. I need The Hunger Games to give their voices a focus. After I discussed the book on the first day of school, they were hooked. They would love a chance to investigate a current social issue and try to solve it. As we will read this novel later in the year, they will also have a chance to apply their Social Studies lessons.
My Project: The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel full of social issues that the students will identify and define. For each issue, they will need to explain how external events shaped it, how it shapes a character’s choices and relationships with others, and how it inspires characters to act and change their social environments. At the end, they will choose a social issue we face (problem) and think of ways to change it (solution). The unit not only allows them to examine how literature reflects society, it helps them see the complexities of real social issues. By discussing the issues and thinking of creative solutions, they are laying the groundwork for a better future.
Unfortunately, my school does not have the money to purchase 35 books. Reading is fundamental to a good education. Please help me provide my students with the resources necessary to foster my students’ minds!”
I donated and then spammed my family and friends through social media until the project was fully funded. The teacher was thrilled, the students had access to books they were genuinely excited about reading, and I had that warm fuzzy feeling that only comes with helping someone else out… and I wanted more.
Through the support and help from Savanna and Adam of the Fireside Chat and DownWithTheCapitol, we started a small movement to fund more teachers looking to use the series in their classrooms. This was back in the early days of the fandom- the Fireside Chat was about a month old and DWTC less than a year with only a handful of other sites out there; but our small band of rebels was still able to help two classrooms get the books they needed.
Fast forward to now: the Hunger Games is a global phenomenon: there are dozens (if not hundreds of fan sites); the Fireside Chat logged 130 episodes, and there are almost 20,000,000 fans on The Hunger Games’ official Facebook page. I’d say it’s time to try this literacy revolution over again.
Let’s get Books For Tributes.
My goal is to fund teachers across the country looking to put The Hunger Games in their classrooms and libraries using donorschoose.org.
As of today, I have 45 projects queued up on this donorschoose campaign page, and every. single. one. of them is looking to place our favorite book series into the hands of kids across the US.
So, let’s do it.
Let’s stand with the Mockingjay and start a Literacy Revolution. Our goal is simple. As Hunger Games fans who believe in equity and empowerment, we will work to fund as many as possible of the requests for Hunger Games books posted on donorschoose.org.
We’ll take it one class at a time—just as Katniss and the Rebels worked District by District to overthrow the Capitol. Give as much or as little as you like, as often as you wish. When we fully fund a project, I’ll let you know on the Books For Tributes twitter and Facebook pages.
When you donate please place the following somewhere in your personal message:
“I gave to this project because I’m with the Mockingjay, and support a literacy revolution in American classrooms. #books4tributes”
When you tweet about donating please use #books4tributes
Let’s set a goal to fund these 45 projects before Mockingjay hits theaters this fall, so that when we see Katniss on screen, fighting the Capitol, we can know that we’ve done our part to fuel our own revoltion in Panem.
Fire is catching, and we are the spark. And if we put our hearts and minds behind this effort, the Capitol doesn’t stand a chance.
*three finger salute*
Shylah Addante is a member of DWTC, the writer for Mainstay Pro’s Finnick / Annie shorts and also makes Hunger Games crafts. Join the @books4tributes community on Twitter.