The odds were ever in the favor of these English students.
Seventh graders at the David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy (M.S./H.S. 141) got a chance to rewrite The Hunger Games in class.
The novel — the first in a bestselling series written by Suzanne Collins — is a favorite among many students in Charlie Schiller’s English and language arts honors classes. It follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen as she struggles to survive in her dystopian homeland of Panem.
Each year, the Panem holds a lottery to choose 13 girls and 13 boys to compete in an elaborate, days long televised battle — with only one survivor. The winner becomes a puppet for Panem’s totalitarian governmental body, known as The Capitol, and its leader, President Snow.
In the first book, Katniss volunteers to take her sister Rue’s place after she is chosen.
“There’s intense action throughout the book,” said 13-year-old Brian Sullivan, a fan of the series even before the class delved into the world of Panem. “I liked Katniss. She was a good role model for all the people in her country.”
Students wrote three new books in total — from the perspectives of Katniss’ mother, Mrs. Everdeen, the formidable President Snow and the lovelorn Gale, who endures watching Katniss and her Peeta feign a romance during the games in order to gain audience support.
After students finished reading — or re-reading — the book, they created e-mail accounts through the school and used Google Docs to interweave their chapters. Each student or team of students wrote one chapter.
“The book was coming to life before our very eyes,” said Mr. Schiller, who added that students wrote multiple drafts of their chapters and edited one another’s work.
The teacher asked students to take evidence from the original text and apply it to their own stories as they explored different points of view.