By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

When I was young, I remember asking my mother to take me to see Escape to Witch Mountain, a movie that had been based on the book by the same name. My mother said I had to read the book before I could see the movie. She told me the book was always better than the movie and, she believed, people were less likely to read a book a movie is based on if they see the movie first. She was right. I remember liking the movie, but loving the book.

When my children were young, I had them follow the same “rule.” As a parent, I felt that it created more excitement before we went to see the movie if they read the book first. My son and daughter were always big readers, so they never hesitated to read the book. After seeing the movie, we enjoyed talking about the book and movie, what we liked and disliked, and what was the same and different. I cannot remember a time when we preferred the movie over the book.

Consider encouraging your children to read books that have been made into movies before seeing the movie. I created a list of some popular children’s books that have been adapted into movies (from picture books to young adult novels). I have also included questions for you to use to prompt discussion about the book and movie with your children. I think it would be fun to start a book/movie club with a group that first reads the book and then sees the movie together before discussing both. Happy reading and movie-watching!

Children’s books that have been made into movies:

Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrows

Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Rey

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Eloise by Kay Thompson

Paddington by Michael Bond

Holes by Louis Sachar

101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The Incredible Journey (movie is Homeward Bound) by Sheila Burnford

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Alice in Wonderland by Louis Carroll

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Mrs. Doubtfire by Anne Fine

The Baby Sitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (movie is Hugo) by Brian Selznick

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Stuart Little by E.B. White

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan

Ramona (movie is Ramona and Beezus) by Beverly Cleary

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Discussion questions:

  • What parts of the movie were different from the book?
  • What did the movie leave out that you missed?
  • What was added to the movie that was not in the book?
  • Which characters were true to the author’s description?
  • Was the setting what you imagined? Why or why not?
  • Are you glad you saw the movie? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think this book was selected to be adapted into a movie?


Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.

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