Capitol Party - The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Pre-release Party




Join us on May 9th from 1-2PM for a CAPITOL PARTY to celebrate all things Hunger
Games along with the release of the latest book The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
We'll have games with prizes to be won and a costume contest, so come dressed in your
finest Capitol fashions. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is officially released on
May 19th, but if you pre-order it during our party you save 10%!

 


Read an excerpt of the first chapter!

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
By Suzanne Collins
May 19, 2020

©2020 Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter One Excerpt

It is the day of the reaping for the tenth annual Hunger Games. In this scene, we
see eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow head to his school, the Capitol’s elite
Academy, in order to see how he’ll be involved in the Games.

The grand staircase up to the Academy could hold the entire student body, so
it easily accommodated the stream of officials, professors, and students headed for
the reaping day festivities. Coriolanus climbed it slowly, attempting a casual dignity
in case he caught anyone’s eye. People knew him — or at least they had known his
parents and grandparents — and there was a certain standard expected of a Snow.
This year, beginning this very day, he was hoping to achieve personal recognition as
well. Mentoring in the Hunger Games was his final project before graduating from
the Academy in midsummer. If he gave an impressive performance as a mentor,
with his outstanding academic record, Coriolanus should be awarded a monetary
prize substantial enough to cover his tuition at the University.
There would be twenty-four tributes, one boy and one girl from each of the
twelve defeated districts, drawn by lottery to be thrown into an arena to fight to the
death in the Hunger Games. It was all laid out in the Treaty of Treason that had
ended the Dark Days of the districts’ rebellion, one of the many punishments borne
by the rebels. As in the past, the tributes would be dumped into the Capitol Arena, a
now-dilapidated amphitheater that had been used for sports and entertainment
events before the war, along with some weapons to murder one another. Viewing
was encouraged in the Capitol, but a lot of people avoided it. How to make it more
engaging was the challenge.
With this in mind, for the first time the tributes were to be assigned mentors.
Twenty-four of the Academy’s best and brightest seniors had been tapped for the
job. The specifics of what this entailed were still being worked out. There was talk of
preparing each tribute for a personal interview, maybe some grooming for the
cameras. Everyone agreed that if the Hunger Games were to continue, they needed
to evolve into a more meaningful experience, and the pairing of the Capitol youth
with the district tributes had people intrigued.
Coriolanus made his way through an entry draped in black banners, down a
vaulted passage, and into cavernous Heavensbee Hall, where they would watch the
broadcast of the reaping ceremony. He was by no means late, but the hall was
already humming with faculty and students and a number of Games officials who
were not required for the opening day’s broadcast.
Avoxes wove through the crowd with trays of posca, a concoction of watery
wine laced with honey and herbs. It was an intoxicating version of the sour stuff that

had sustained the Capitol through the war, supposedly fending off illness.
Coriolanus took a goblet and swished a little of the posca around his mouth,
hopefully rinsing away any trace of cabbage breath. But he only allowed himself one
swallow. It was stronger than most people thought, and in previous years he had
seen upperclassmen make complete fools of themselves by imbibing too deeply.
The world still thought Coriolanus rich, but his only real currency was charm,
which he spread liberally as he made his way through the crowd. Faces lit up as he
gave friendly hellos to students and teachers alike, asking about family members,
dropping compliments here and there.
“Your lecture on district retaliation haunts me.”
“Love the bangs!”
“How did your mother’s back surgery go? Well, tell her she’s my hero.”

*

Dean Casca Highbottom, the man credited with the creation of the Hunger
Games, was overseeing the mentor program personally. He presented himself to the
students with all the verve of a sleepwalker, dreamy-eyed and, as usual, doped up on
morphling. His once-fine physique was shrunken and draped with sagging skin. The
close-clipped precision of a recent haircut and crisp suit only threw his
deterioration into relief. Due to his fame as the Games’ inventor, he still had a
tenuous hold on his position, but there were rumors that the Academy Board was
losing patience.
“Ho there,” he slurred, waving a crumpled piece of paper over his head.
“Reading the things off now.” The students hushed, trying hard to hear him above
the din of the hall. “Read you a name, then you who gets that one. Right? So, fine.
District One, boy, goes to . . .” Dean Highbottom squinted at the paper, trying hard to
focus. “Glasses,” he mumbled. “Forgot them.” Everyone stared at his glasses, already
perched on his nose, and waited while his fingers found them. “Ah, here we go. Livia
Cardew.”
Livia’s pointed little face broke into a grin and she punched the air in victory,
shouting “Yes!” in her shrill voice. She had always been prone to gloating. As if the
plum assignment was solely a reflection on her, and not on her mother running the
largest bank in the Capitol.
Coriolanus felt increasing desperation as Dean Highbottom stumbled
through the list, assigning each district’s boy and girl a mentor. After ten years, a
pattern had emerged. The better-fed, more Capitol-friendly districts of 1 and 2
produced more victors, with the fishing and farming tributes from 4 and 11 also
being contenders. Coriolanus had hoped for either a 1 or a 2, but neither was
assigned to him, which was made more insulting when Sejanus Plinth scored the
District 2 boy. District 4 passed without mention of his name, and his last real
chance for a victor — the District 11 boy — was assigned to Clemensia Dovecote,
daughter of the energies secretary. Unlike Livia, Clemensia received news of her
good fortune with tact, pushing her sheet of raven hair over her shoulder as she
studiously made note of her tribute in her binder.

Something was amiss when a Snow, who also happened to be one of the
Academy’s high-honor students, had gone unrecognized. Coriolanus was beginning
to think they had forgotten him — perhaps they were giving him some special
position? — when, to his horror, he heard Dean Highbottom mumble, “And last but
least, District Twelve girl . . . she belongs to Coriolanus Snow.”

 

 

 

Event date: 
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:30pm
Event address: 
107 Mill Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Staff Pick Badge
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781338635171
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - May 19th, 2020