Want some easy motivation to get your kids reading more? Try movies based on books! Read the book before the movie or afterward, and use these books made into movies to inspire more reading! This has helped many reluctant readers I’ve taught –including my own two kids.
Note: I keep this list updated on a monthly basis so the newest shows and movies get added! (Last updated: November 2023.)
Movies Based on Books (for Kids)
Reading books that are movies or have been adapted into a television series can be very motivating! First, read the book, then watch the movie or series. (We know that books and movies both are rewarding, but kids *may* think that the movie is the reward.)
Discussing the differences between the book and the movie will happen naturally. You might inquire further with questions like these:
What did the book to movie adaptation change?
What did the book movie leave out or add anything?
Which characters were true to the author’s original description?
Was the setting what you imagined? Why or why not?
Are you glad you saw the movie, or do you wish you had skipped it?
Why do you think someone picked this book to turn into a movie?
What makes for great movies, particularly movies based on books?
Which was better? The old novel vs. book debate can get kids really discussing — and learning how to back up their opinions with evidence and examples.
BOOK CLUB IDEA: Recently, my tween’s mother-daughter book club read The Giver and watched the movie. I loved this idea because it gave them a fun activity for their book club meeting, especially for their age group.
BOOK + MOVIE: Below, you’ll find children’s picture books made into movies as well as chapter and middle grade books made into movies. So, I’ve listed both the BOOK and the MOVIE with the children’s book listed first.
What are good movies based on books that did a good job with the source material? This recommended movie and show list based on picture books is worth watching because these books turned into movies will hook you into the story!
Nothing is better than hooking kids on a good book, a book series, or a favorite character. If a movie based on books does that, then the movie is a success in my mind. If a book movie gets your child interested in reading the book, that’s wonderful, too. So no matter the order, whether you watch the movie or read the book, keep in mind the ultimate goal: to get kids reading more.
More movies based on books, children’s books, have their origins with excellent chapter books and middle grade books. When these books are adapted into movies it’s interesting to compare the differences and similarities between the book vs. the movie. Plus, it’s an opportunity for kids to consider the success of the film adaptation. How well did the movie stay to the source material? Did the characters look how you imagined? There’s a lot to consider!
I’m happy to report that most of these book to movie adaptations are excellent. You’re going to love watching the movies based on books listed below!
My suggestion is to read the children’s book first. Then, decide if you want to watch the movie — and ponder how a screenwriter and filmmaker adapted the book into a movie. You can use the pairing of a book turned into a movie to motivate readers, as a reward at the end of a book unit in the classroom, or as a fun family activity.
However, if your child or student is a struggling reader, sometimes it’s better to watch the movie first. Why? Because in watching the movie, you’re providing background knowledge. This helps the struggling reader better comprehend the book. After watching the books turned into movies, they’ll know what to expect, which helps comprehension.
Books made into movies often leave out beloved details from the texts– or even make big changes to the plot and characters. What will your young readers think if that happens in the book movie you choose? For me, it either annoys me or makes me sad. But that’s not always true for everyone.
Do you have a favorite book to movie adaptation? How about your kids? Do you think the book is always better?
Children’s Books Adapted Into Movies: A – I
Find movies based on books with the titles from A to I.
Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, former teacher & literacy trainer, and freelance education writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Penguin Random House's Brightly website, USA Today Health, Adobe Education, Colorado Parent, and Parenting. She is passionate about matching kids with books that they'll love.