School holidays often mean it’s time for a whole load of kids movies to be released. And just like movies for adults, a lot of the best movies are based on books. Introducing a child to a book through a film can be a great way to tempt reluctant readers as well. There were so many books on this list, that we’ve decided to focus this one on our favourite books for younger children that have a movie made of them – and a lot of them adults will enjoy too.
This one has just hit cinemas – and it’s about time, the first book in the series was published way back in 1997! The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey follows George and Harold. They’ve created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school, and they’re going to bring him to life. With hilarious pictures on every page, this is a great introduction to chapter books for younger readers. And if they like this one, there are another twelve books in the series.
Dr Seuss’ The Lorax is the original eco warrior, and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests. This hilarious and timeless tale is told with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr Seuss , making this a perfect companion to the animated film.
Who can forget the story of Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke? Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson has been a classic for many years, and was also made into a film by Walt Disney. The two become fast and unlikely friends, rulers over the imaginary land of Terabithia. And when tragedy strikes, Jess realizes how much he has learned from Leslie and how friendships can help you grow.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne is one of the best and most heartbreaking novels around. Set in Berlin in 1942, this is the story of Bruno – a boy who moves to a new place and goes exploring, finding a new friend. A friend who wears striped pyjamas. A great example of how a book can sensitively tackle big issues and historical events in a child appropriate manner. Absolutely recommended for book lovers of all ages.
From the famous and bestselling Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S.Lewis, comes The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy stumble on a land behind the wardrobe door, their adventures begin – and will change the world of Narnia forever. A great classic that still resonates with modern readers, the film is pretty spectacular as well.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio is a 2017 film, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. They play the parents of Auggie – a boy born with a facial abnormality who’s going to school for the first time; ‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ This is a funny, frank and moving book.
One of the bestselling kids book series around is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. The books number twelve in the series so far, and the films are up to number four. This is the story of Greg Heffley – who finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The illustrations in this book are particularly funny.
The How to Train Your Dragon movies are loved by a lot of adults as well as kids, and deservedly so. But did you know it started life as a book? By Cressida Cowell, this is the first volume of Hiccup’s memoirs – where he was the most put upon Viking you’d ever seen, and how he learns to be a hero.
Neil Gaiman is an author, scriptwriter and creator of graphic novels, and a literary genius, and Coraline is one of his most famous children’s books. Coraline is not the kind of girl to be put off by a sign of danger read in some tea-leaves or indeed a message sent to her by some very talented mice. No, she is the kind of girl who faces a challenge with bravery, intelligence and a lot of determination. The animated film stars Dakota Fanning as the voice of Coraline.
Holes by Louis Sachar is a modern classic. The story follows Stanley Yelnats – a boy who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now he’s in a detention centre where they dig holes. Nothing but lots and lots of holes, and Stanley is determined to find out why. The movie was released in 2003, and stands the test of time.
If you haven’t read A Series of Unfortunate Events by the elusive Lemony Snickett, you’re in for a treat. The Bad Beginning is the first in this series about three children who are intelligent, charming, resourceful and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are also extremely unlucky. This is a brilliant dark comedy that children will love, and is now also a Netflix series.
To finish off the list, we could have chosen from so many Roald Dahl books (truly – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James & The Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG and The Witches are all fantastic books and films), but we decided to go with Fantastic Mr Fox, the story of a fox who would rather die than surrender, and may have a fantastic plan all of his own… The film by Wes Anderson, with George Clooney as Mr Fox and Meryl Streep as Mrs Fox will be a hit with adults and children alike.