Which do you prefer: the book or the movie? This question can lead to heated discussions between book lovers and cinema buffs. This month, I thought I’d focus on some of our favorite written stories that have been transformed into film.
- While the days are still chilly or rainy, it is nice to curl up with a book or snuggle under blankets and watch a movie. Now you can do both!
- If you’re going to be in front of a screen, sharing the experience builds memories and family connections.
- Reading the book first and then watching the movie allows kids to absorb a story in multiple mediums. This helps with comprehension and provides opportunity for discussion and critique.
Here are a few of our family’s favorite kids books that have been made into movies recently.
by Mary Norton
Underneath the kitchen floor live a family of tiny people— whatever they need they simply “borrow” from the “human beans” who live upstairs. Arrietty’s family are the only borrowers left at the house and she longs for adventure and a friend to play with. You may remember the quirky and comical movie version of this book released in the 90s starring John Goodman. Our family has fallen in love with a newer re-make: The Secret World of Arrietty, an adaptation complete with breathtaking animation. In my opinion, the remake stays more true to the story of Arrietty’s journey, bravely going out into the world to make a new friend.
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle
This is easily one of my personal favorites. I have loved Madeleine L’Engle for a long time and I couldn’t wait to share her books with my girls. We started reading A Wrinkle in Time right as they were first announcing that it would be adapted to film. The story of Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, and the adventures they go on through time and space are compelling. Friendship, courage, loyalty, adventure, devotion and wisdom, are just some of the themes woven into this captivating, other-worldly story. My 8-year-old loved comparing and contrasting the movie to her own imagination, and even though the book will always have my heart, the movie is pretty magical too.
The Ballad of Mulan
Retold by Song Nan Zhang
In our house you will often hear Disney music playing and, even though they haven’t seen even half of the movies, my girls recognize and sing along to the songs. One of my 6-year-old’s favorites is Mulan. I think she is thrilled by the idea of a girl pretending to be a boy— and getting away with it! So we were very excited to stumble upon a picture book about Mulan’s life one day at the library. The artist, Song Nan Zhang, spent more than two years researching his watercolor illustrations that tell Mulan’s story with stunning beauty and accuracy. We are inspired by Mulan’s love and devotion for her family and her resiliency in the face of war and discrimination.