Inside Opinion

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Tag: literacy

June
7th

Ray Bradbury opened up worlds of imagination

Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" was the 2003 book selection of the Tacoma Reads Together program. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Long before “The Hunger Games” portrayed a grim, dystopian future and ignited the imaginations of young readers, there was Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”

It came out in 1953, but it’s as timely today as it was then with its glimpse into a future society in which people are so mesmerized by their big-screen TVs that they no longer read. They’re unconcerned when firemen show up to burn books, which ignite at 451 degrees F.

Bradbury, who died Tuesday at age 91, was significant not only for his uncanny ability to foresee future trends but also for the accessibility of his writing.

For many youngsters, his “Martian Chronicles” collection of stories was their first foray into science fiction. It likely wouldn’t be their last. His darkly poetic “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is a classic fantasy story that influenced the likes of Stephen King (Bradbury himself was a literary descendant of Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs). And “Fahrenheit 451” – the 2003 choice for the Tacoma Reads Together program – has long been a standard on school reading lists, its message about the dangers of conformity, anti-literacy and ceding rights in return for security striking a chord with generations of students. Read more »

March
28th

‘Hunger Games’ has power to create scores of avid readers

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." (Lionsgate)

This editorial appears in Wednesday’s print edition.

With its huge opening last week, “The Hunger Games” is a bona fide film phenomenon. What’s important to remember is the driving force behind that popularity: Suzanne Collins’ trilogy that has enthralled young readers – and a lot of not-so-young ones as well.

With its huge opening last week, “The Hunger Games” is a bona fide film phenomenon. What’s important to remember is the driving force behind that popularity: Suzanne Collins’ trilogy that has enthralled young readers – and a lot of not-so-young ones as well.

The movie has a built-in audience eager to see if its version of Panem – a future America – and its inhabitants match their own imaginings. The series’ avid fans are invested in its teenage heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and the other characters. The story is set in a dystopian version of the future where society has taken the concept of “Survivor”-like reality shows to their ultimate, logical conclusion.

Many have compared “The Hunger Games” trilogy to two earlier literary phenomena that became wildly popular film franchises: Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” books and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. About all it has in common with them is the fact that it was written by a woman and involves young people in dangerous situations. Read more »