What Latino kids can learn from 'Hunger Games'

I'm buzzing with excitement over the release of The Hunger Games this Friday. I've been anticipating this movie ever since devouring the books last year!

I read everything I could about how it was being made and, although I wasn't thrilled that Katniss isn't being played by a Latina despite being described as having olive skin in the books, I bought tickets to the midnight showing the day they went on sale.

Since then, there has been a lot of debate online about whether the movies are appropriate for kids. Yes, there is violence but there are also a lot of lessons to be learned from the books, and by extension, the movies--the kind of lessons that every Latino kid needs to learn.

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Read more ¿Qué más? Why Katniss Everdeen of "The Hunger Games" should be Latina.

1. Recognize your strengths: Katniss knows she can't be good at everything but she's good with a bow and arrow, so she focuses on those skills. Although it's important for kids to be well rounded, it's also a good idea to really concentrate on one skill that they're particularly good at. This builds confidence and who knows? It may lead to a bright future or career.

2. Defend your family and friends: Katniss' family is the most important thing to her, which she proves early on by volunteering to take her sister's place during the Hunger Games. Her fierce love for her sister and the way she always puts her family first is a great lesson in what's really important in life.

3. Stay true to yourself: Throughout the books, Katniss never loses sight of who she is. It's important that kids (and, well, all of us) don't give up on themselves or what they believe just because something difficult happens.

4. Be flexible and adaptable: Although she stays true to herself, Katniss also proves that she is flexible and adaptable as she navigates the world of the Hunger Games. It's good for kids to keep this in mind, particularly as they get older and school gets harder,  and they get wrapped up in sports or other extracurricular activities like getting jobs and applying for colleges.

5. Appreciate the power of a mentor: Katniss has a good mentor in Haymitch. Although it's a rough relationship in the beginning, she learns a lot from him and he does what he can to support her throughout. It always helps to have an adult (or two, or five) who support and encourage children as they become adults.

Read more ¿Qué más? La próxima locura de adolescentes: The Hunger Games.

Will you be watching The Hunger Games with your kids this weekend or do you plan to see it yourself first?

Image via Lionsgate