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Thank you all for helping us.  I am posting it for the archives.

I would not recommend it for an elementary student - too graphic and 
violent and beyond their comprehension.

I thought it was a fantastic book. I don't think it would be objectionable to a 
mature student. 

Everybody that I've talked to has loved it... but I decided not to read it because 
it was described to me as a very dark tale. Depressing... but since I haven't read 
it, I'm not the best source... but just from that, I wouldn't give it to an 
elementary student without knowing the child very well to know that he or she could 

handle it. Then I doubt it. 

It's been very popular at our HS. If he's a good reader he won't have any
trouble with the vocabulary, etc. It's actually kind of fantastic but it's
also kind of believable on another level. Delightful story of survival, has
a ring of the Old Man and the Sea to it. I'm sure he'd enjoy it and I
wouldn't be too concerned about any of the situations that arise in it. Have
never had a complaint from anyone here; I realize elementary is a different
universe than a HS but still...I'm sure it will be a movie someday!


I read it, and I'm not sure that it would be a good choice for even 
advanced MS kids. It has been a year or so since I read it, but there is 
implied cannibalism and murder in it. I can't say that it has been 
popular, but it has been checked out a few times by HS students

The situations are a bit much for Elementary. He gets his name Pi
because of his nickname being piss. His time on the raft is very
violent regardless of which ending of the story you pick. A hyena rips
out the guts of a living Zebra. Graphic cannibalism is part of the
story and Pi is forced to drink urine in order to survive. A friend who
is in to survival stuff says that you should never drink urine. Your
body is getting rid of the poison for a reason.

There are some scary moments for an elementary student but the character in the 
book is a kid so....I would say let them read it unless you know they are very 
squeamish or something. It's a great story. 

I read it, and don't think there is anything offensive except the animals eating
one another to survive on the boat. If your student is sensitive toward
animals, I would say he/she should wait a while. It is pretty philosophical,
also. So that is why I think that on the whole it is better for him/her to
wait until at least 8th grade.

I have read it and loved it; the story is a little grim as it's about a boy who 
survives the sinking of a ship. There is some violence and some sophisticated 
religious searching. I just consulted with a senior who is an avid reader, and she 
thought it was a little depressing. I guess it depends on how advanced the student 
is, and of course s/he can always get it at the public library.


Definitely a good high school read. Challenging but personally I loved 
it and have had several students read and appreciate.

There should be no problem with cursing or sexuality; I don't remember any at 
all, 'tho' it has been over a year since I read it. The situation Pi was in really 
raised my anxiety level, but I'm a horror weenie; your student may have no problem 
with imagining being on a raft with a Bengal tiger! It was a wonderful story; I 
would guess he would enjoy it if he has strong nerves & likes adventure stories. 
I'm not sure a youngster would be able to pick up on some of the more subtle 
symbolism, though.

He would have to be awfully advanced to read it. The first part of the
book is a bit dry - setting up lots of scientific information that is
needed to understand the plausibility of the rest of the book. There is
violence - totally appropriate for the topic. There is death. I loved
it and several of my high school kids have as well. One of those that
you want to discuss as soon as you finish. (Did what I think happen
really happen?) Don't think it would hurt him, but not sure if he will
like it. That would be a shame, since it is such a great book. (I hate
it when they teach books too early for kids to appreciate them. Then
the kids say - oh, I read that in 6th grade and didn't like it - when
they just weren't able to appreciate it at that point in their lives.)
Hope this helps.

Wow, this would be a really tough book to make sense of (not literally,
but figuratively) for an elementary student. The conclusion pivots on a
story with cannibalism as the central theme. No sexuality, though. It's
a personal favorite of mine, but heavy thematically. I would give it to
an 8th grader, or maybe a really astute 7th grader, but not elementary.
Would be a great novel to teach at the h.s. level.

I have read the book. It was assigned for summer reading to a high school junior, 
so I decided to read it too. The language/situations are not a problem, although I 
think the content might be too difficult for your student.

I couldn't get through the book, Life of Pi. The author pontificates a
lot and rambles on about his philosophies. A better alternative could
be the Curious Incident of the dog at night time.

My reaction is absolutely not. Situations not at all appropriate. I 
think this is a great book for high school juniors and seniors. Not much 
before. --

Depending on what you mean by advanced, I would probably not recommend this
book for a student younger than 6th grade. The situation which is veiled by
Pi's imagination and then revealed is quite gory and may upset someone who
does not like that kind of story, involving quite graphic details of killing
and maiming. In addition, there is the usual loss of family/parents, which
may be more widely acceptable for younger kids just because there is so much
of it in the literature. I think the book appeals to a younger crowd
because it nominally involves animals and I don't recall the language being
too challenging, but don't be fooled - it is really about life and death
choices and the nature of human beings. I think it's a great book (read it
when you get a chance), but for someone with the maturity to handle it.
Just my opinion, of course. 

I have read Life of Pi....not appropriate for elem. kids.

We all read Life of Pi here as an all-school summer book a couple of years
ago. What struck me was the gory details in the text which could offend
the sensitivities of even older readers who are animal lovers. Your reader
should be a really advanced one and a mature one to handle this book. It
deals a lot with a young boy and his desire to try many religions instead
of prescribing to just one. A little heady for those too immature to
appreciate the subject matter. You might try to find a review of it and
possibly notify a parent of the student's desire to read this.

The language is no problem, but the descriptions are sometimes quite gory (like a 
nature show that actually SHOWS the lion eating the gazelle alive.) Lots of kids 
that young would get nightmares from stuff like that. Heck, I would have at that 

I listened to the first half of it on cd--I can't imagine that an elementary 
student would get anything out of it--I usually finish everything, but it was just 
too off-beat. No bad words or sex or anything--a lot of zoo keeper info. just plain 

weird. But, its on a lot of not to be missed books. I say ask them why they think 
they want it--I know the cover has animals on it...? 

The book has a lot of graphic violence with the tiger eating several of the 
occupants of the boat. My main caveat however would be that the book would be way 
over the studentís head. The ending of the book puts into question everything that 
happened in the book. There are all kinds of allegory, symbolism, and open ended 
ideas. Way to mature thinking for even some of my high schoolers. Great book to 
read in a few years, however.

It's a wonderful book perfectly appropriate for high school. The first 1/4 
of the book is very philosophical, and discusses the ethics of zoos. The 
remaining 3/4 is an incredible survival story. It's of my very favorite 

I read the book and liked it. It's a bit odd. (M. Night Shalayman(sp?) is making 
the movie, I heard.)

I'm not so sure I'd recommend it for an elementary student. There are scenes or 
reports of violence that are a bit more raw than say, Redwall. Still, I would have 
let my "advanced" daughter read it when she was in 5th grade if she'd asked.

I would suggest to the child to have their parents take them to the public library 
to get it, but have their parents read it first as they know their own child.

I have a friend who has "Pi" in her middle school library and no one ever checks it 


And it's not really a tiger...

Lots of high school kids have read it. If the kid is precocious enough, no problem.

The book is about a boy that wants to please God and he adopts every world religion 

in his pursuit to please God. The vocabulary is very difficult. The senior AP 
English class is reading it here at my high school.Life of Pi is a very deep book 
full of symbolism, but you can be taken at face value. The book is wonderful and 
full of facts and data.

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home"  Edward R. Murrow

Donnette Mickelson
Library Media Specialist
Colfax Elementary School
Colfax, WI 54730

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