Many books written for kids have been made into movies. Most readers will agree that the books are better. Nonreaders can’t make that comparison, but most will agree that all the movies in this list are fine ones to watch.
Bridge to Terabithia
I read this book several times when I was teaching and enjoyed it every time. This is a “coming of age” story; a story of friendship. The main characters, fifth graders Jesse and Leslie, begin with one thing in common: running. Their friendship deepens and develops, but not in the romantic sense.
When I first saw the scenes for the movie, I was not happy. I thought they had changed it so I didn’t want to see it. But, a few years ago, I watched the movie and I was pleasantly surprised. The book is set in the 70s; the movie seems to be a little later. Actress Zooey Deschanel plays the teacher who befriends and encourages Jess in his artistic leanings. She is the perfect choice for this part.
The Indian in the Cupboard
This was published in 1980, so I read it as an adult even though it’s a kids’ book. I think it is fantastic! It’s not time travel, but it’s a similar idea. In this story, a key opens a magical cupboard which is given to the main character, Omri, for his birthday from his brother.
The movie came out in 1995, but I didn’t see it until sometime later. The special effects are well done and it’s a fun movie for kids and parents as well.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/ Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Willy Wonka puts golden tickets in some of his Wonka Bars and the kids who get one are in for a treat at his chocolate factory. They get a full tour and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie, who is quite poor, gets the last winning ticket and this is where the adventure begins.
In the original movie, crazy Gene Wilder is great as Willie Wonka. The boy who played Charlie grew up to be a veterinarian. The 2005 Tim Burton version with Johnny Depp is also a fantastic treat.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
There have been many books and movies about WWII. This story, though fictional, gives a good representation of a concentration camp from a child’s viewpoint. The main character, Bruno, is a nine year old living happy life. His father is a high-ranking officer, but he does not understand he is living at Auschwitz. He makes friends with a Jewish boy who’s his age, but on the other side of the fence. It’s highly unlikely this could ever have really happened, but readers understand it’s fiction.
The movie, which came out in 2008, is definitely worth watching. It makes a real statement through the eyes of a child.
The Wizard of Oz
In this classic tale, Dorothy‘s home is picked up in a tornado and lands over the rainbow in Oz. When she wakes up in this strange and wondrous land, she begins her journey to find her way home. She meets great friends as well as trials along the way.
The movie is famous for its change from black & white to color after Dorothy lands in Oz.