It was a Book before it was a Movie

[originally published on]

The holidays are a great time to go see a movie with family and friends. This season, there are several films that were books first.

The classics How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (: 9780375938474, Gr PS-3) and Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (: 9781328498847, Gr 5-7) have been refreshed and will be in movie theatres once again. If you’re planning on attending either of these movies with children, I strongly encourage you to read the books with the children before you see the movie. Then afterward, talking to children about the differences between the story told in the book versus the story shown in the movie is much more meaningful.

Did you know Peter Parker is not the only Spider-Man? The new animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” movie introduces us to the fictional comic book character of Miles Morales, a Spider-Man from a different universe. After appearing in several issues of Marvel Comics, Jason Reynolds has written a story about this young Spider-Man of color. Miles Morales: Spider-Man (9781484787489, Gr 7-12) is a novel that tackles subjects teens can relate to in a superhero format.

“Aquaman” is another superhero movie coming out this holiday season. Originally a DC Comic book, Aquaman was first introduced to readers in 1941, later starring in solo issues in the 1950s and 1960s. By reading the graphic novels, readers will learn beyond the movie’s content about Arthur Curry, the ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis (9781401277932, Gr 7-12).

The bestselling Harry Potter series celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Author J.K. Rowling continues to share this magical world with loyal followers and new fans by publishing prequel screenplays that expand on the events that happened before Harry Potter and his friends were born. The new movie “The Crimes of Grindelwald” is loosely based off of the 2001 book written by J. K. Rowling under the pen name of the fictitious character Newt Scamander. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (9781338132311, Gr 4-7) was seen used in the first Harry Potter story; it is a textbook used by the student-wizards at Hogwarts as a guide to what the mythical creatures eat, where they are located, and what they are used for. The 2017 publication has a new forward written by the fictitious author Newt, and this edition introduces six new beasts. 

The 2017 futuristic sci-fi epic, “Mortal Engines” has been produced into a film and will premier this season. Before you see the movie, I highly recommend you read the first book in this five book series by Philip Reeve Mortal Engines (9781338201123, Gr 7-9). The young hero and heroine, Tom and Hester are inspiring in this action-packed, original new story with a dystopian theme.

Books allow us to go beyond the movie, to dig deeper with more details shared by the author. They also give readers more opportunities to use their imaginations.

My sons and I love to read books together and watch movies together. We love to analyze and compare, critique and evaluate. And more times than not, we declare the book is better than the movie. When I asked my sons to tell me what their favorite books-into-movies are, this is the list they came up with (in reading interest level order):

Curious George by H.A. Rey. 9780395922729. 1941. Gr PS-2

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. 9780394823379. 1971. Gr PS-3

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. 9780763617226. 2003. Gr 3-6

The Borrowers (The Secret World of Arrietty) by Mary Norton. 9780152099879. 1981. Gr 4-6

Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi. 9781416986850. 2009. Gr 3-5

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. 9780810993136. 2007. Gr 4-7

Wonder by RJ Palcio. 9780375869020. 2018. Gr 4-7

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. 9780439813785. 2007. Gr 4-8

Holes by Louis Sachar. 9780440414803. 1998. Gr 5-8

Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. 9780312367541. 1962. Gr 5-8

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. 9780786856299. 2005. Gr 5-8

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. 9780375821813. 2002. Gr 6-8

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. 9780060234812. 1950. Gr 4-8

Maze Runner by James Dashner. 9780385737944. 2009. Gr 7-10

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. 9780307887436. 2011. Gr 10-adult

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