Made into Movies: Books for Older Independent Readers

We are all aware of the importance of reading, but motivating students to open a book can be difficult. In this series, Made into Movies, we’ve gathered some of the best film adaptations of favorite books to spark kids’ interest in reading. Watching the films can serve as a reward for finishing the related book, inspire children to read the book after seeing the film, or accompany a reader as they are making their way through a series.

The Best Book-to-Movie Adaptations

James and the Giant Peach

Author: Roald Dahl

Included on K12’s Reading List

Rating: PG

This popular children’s book was published in 1961, and is often challenged due to its somewhat graphic content. While the actions and story are meant to be humorous it is a dark humor, for instance two characters are run over by a giant peach. Dahl has said that he encourages readers to image and to believe that anything is possible His books have become a staple for any young learner who is interested in non-fiction.

The film includes these themes and is dark in nature, but excludes the scene with of the people getting run over.

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The Chronicles of Narnia

Author: C.S. Lewis

Included on K12’s Reading List

Rating: PG

The popular series was first published in 1950. It features a group of siblings who stumble upon a wardrobe that transports them to the magical land of Narnia.  The last book in the series was awarded the Carnegie Medal. Lewis was so loved by his country, that he was given a memorial at Poet’s Corner.

The films portray several battle scenes, which can get somewhat graphic, although no blood is shown. While the last film was released in 2010, sequels are in the works.

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Ella Enchanted

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Included on K12’s Reading List

Rating: PG

This book was published in 1997 and took a new twist on the classic fairy tale. The tale revolves around a girl who was “gifted” with obedience; anything she is told, she must do. This leads to very clever and humorous writing that is appropriate and fun for readers. The book has won the Newberry Honor award in 1998.

The film is geared toward a younger audience but contains mildly crude humor.

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Little Women

Author: Louisa May Alcott

Rating: PG

The novel was originally written in 1868, with a sequel quickly written in 1869, then combined into one novel. The story follows four sisters as they deal with the struggles and triumphs of everyday life post Civil War. There are several themes throughout the book that will resonate with anyone coming of age. Due to the variety of main characters, readers find it easy to identify with one or several of the experiences they go through.

The film is geared to a young audience and is appropriate for a wide range of ages.

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Harry Potter: Books 1-3

Author: J. K. Rowling

Rating: Films 1-3 are PG

One of the most popular series to be published this generation, the Harry Potter series sparked new interest for readers everywhere. Following a young boy who finds out he is a wizard, the books revolutionized the genre of a seemingly normal teenagers being imbued with special abilities. A great read for kids as the book encourages being brave, loyal to your friends, the importance of an education and much more.

The first three entries are appropriate for younger audiences as even the actors are younger at this point in time. Each movie does have their own intense moments which can be frightening for younger audiences.

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Let’s keep reading! Remember to include your child’s favorite books that have been made into movies in the comments.

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