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A List of Kids Books That Are Awesome Movies Too

Monica discovered that her children were naturally drawn to books that were based on popular movies, and vice versa. 

For the parents and teachers who are challenged with reluctant readers, these movies provide a valuable incentive for getting children to read.


My son never enjoyed reading… until he watched How to Train Your Dragon and discovered the book series. For him, watching the movie first has frequently become the motivating factor for picking up a book.

If your young learner is an avid reader, these movies may be used as rewards for reaching milestones or utilized as comparison learning opportunities. My daughter’s favorite book of all time is The Swiss Family Robinson. She’s read the book dozens of times. And when I shared the movie with her, she was surprised to see how much of the book was changed (in the book, one of the children is completely left out!). It was a great opportunity for me to construct a Venn diagram to let her compare the book and the movie.

Either way, you can’t deny that a good story transcends media to engage and empower its audience. Below I’ve gathered a list of more than 50 films that have a book or series of books available, ranging from picture books for preschool kiddos to chapter books for teens. You can bookmark this as a handy guide to figure out what could be next in your family’s queue.


Picture Books

You’d think that a children’s picture book wouldn’t have enough content to create an entire movie – but you’d be mistaken! Some of the most amazing stories are the simplest ones and the following books/movies are prime examples.

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margaret Rey


Chapter Books

Adventurous, whimsical, inspirational, gripping…all of these books make perfect family movies. From the action-packed Lightning Thief to the thought-provoking Wrinkle in Time, your children will be fascinated by these stories of perseverance, intrigue, and triumph.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Ron and Judi Barrett
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton (the movie was titled The Secret World of Arrietty)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle



True classics are recognized around the world. The following books have been made into movies, some of them more than once. Odds are you’ve seen/read more of these than any of the others, and have strong memories tied to each, making these perfect bonding films.

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne


Dr. Seuss

Truly, Dr. Seuss is the master of children’s picture books and the movies that have been made based on his works certainly do them justice. They are fascinating, engaging, and visual masterpieces…just like his books.

  • The Lorax
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Roald Dahl

Storytelling has never taken you so far as one of Dahl’s books. They lend themselves perfectly for film. And one of his stories is one of the few movies based on a children’s book that has been made more than once (think Willie Wonka Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The BFG
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Matilda
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Witches
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

For Older Children

Some movies are based on books better suited for older kids, such as those listed below. Some of them are required reading for middle schoolers. If you have tweens and teens in your household, don’t miss these stellar films!

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
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