Best Book-To-Film Adaptations For Kids And Teens

The best books can be turned into even better films.

Reading books lets your imagination run wild picturing the characters, scenes and everything else the book contains.

Sometimes the film adaptations of book don't meet our expectations but we have compiled a list of the best ones that surely will. These editions have stayed true to the books as well as they can and make for both great reads and a great watch!

Harry Potter Series (2001-11)

Age: PG - PG-12

The Harry Potter films are a great watch and are very close re-tellings of J. K. Rowling's book series. There are 8 films to represent the 7 books and they are all enticing, exciting and wonderfully magical following the story of 'the boy who lived' and his journey in the wizarding world. While the first 3 films are rated PG, the other 5 have been given a 12 plus rating due to the sometimes scary nature of the movies. The books, however, are for any age but some of them are quite long so probably best for mature readers.

James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Age: U

This wonderful adaptation of one of Roald Dahl's kids' books brings the story to life in an inventive and creative way. Director, Henry Selick, uses Roald Dahl's intricate description to create a real-life and animation cross over to depict the imaginative nature of this story. The book is so gripping and deserves the best big-screen adaptation which Henry Selick provides us with in collaboration with Disney.  

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Age: PG

This fantasy drama film is the adaptation of the 1963 book of the same name. Despite the book being written over 50 years ago, it is absolutely timeless and still makes for a fascinating read for all ages. Children who have wild imaginations will absolutely love this book and the film entirely brings the book to life with wonderful costumes and effects that make the Wild Things true spectacles. Follow the journey of Max who runs away from home in his wolf costume and becomes king of an imaginary land.

The Hunger Games Trilogy (2012-15)

Age: 12 - 12A

Much like the Harry Potter series, this book trilogy got made into a 4 film series with the last book being chopped into two different movies. These teen books and films contain adult themes and scenes of violence which deemed them to be rated a 12A. However, they make for excellent reads for mature children and the films are closely based on the books with only a few minor details changed. These dystopian novels explore a world in which overpopulation is solved by a last-man-standing battle between children aged 12-18 in a televised event. Gruesome but extremely gripping!

Charlotte's Web (2006)

Age: U

This is one of the many classic children's books that is heartwarming and enjoyable to read. The beautiful story of an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider makes for easy read and a lovely family film. This cute film uses clever CGI to make real-life animals talk and extends the magic of imagination further from the original book.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Age: 12A

Based on the book by John Green, this was a must-see film for teenagers all over the world in 2014. The 6-time award-winning author is world-renowned for his teen stories and easy-to-read writing. These are great segue books for teens who are not keen readers and the film adaptation is nothing to be sneered at. Rated 12A, the story about two cancer patients who find love is both heart-wrenching and emotional.

The Railway Children (1970)

Age: U

Another timeless classic of children's books which is a must-read and must-see film for your little ones. The novel by E. Nesbit tells the story of a family who moves away from London to a place called 'The Three Chimneys' next to the railway after their father becomes falsely imprisoned for spying. The film, based on this novel, is a wonderful dramatisation of British culture and family drama, rated U.

Five Children and It (2004)

Age: U

For another very well known book by E. Nesbit, this is a very underrated film adaptation. While the book is a great children's book about a family who meet a magic sand fairy who grants them wishes which are slightly more than they bargained for, the film perfectly brings this to life with the added visual comedy of this fantasy drama. This is perfect for the whole family and will guarantee to make you chuckle with 'It' being voiced by the amazing Eddie Izzard.

The Cat in the Hat (2003)

Age: PG

Dr Seuss's classic children's book is brought to life by Bo Welch who uses the illustrations of the famous Seuss stories to inspire his characters and set and avoid spoiling the imagination. The story is about a mischievous cat and his two sidekicks wreaking unexplainable havoc in Sally and Conrad's house when they find themselves home alone. Dr Seuss's writing is perfect for young ages as he writes in rhyme and tells ridiculously imaginative tales while the film adaptation, rated PG, is fun for all the family and children of any age.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010-17)

Age: U for all

The Jeff Kinney book series merges diary entries with cartoon illustration to make the perfect easy-read children's book. Another great segue for children who are just starting out with chapter books and the chapters are quite small and the nature of the book is very light-hearted. It follows the life of Greg, a boy who faces the everyday challenges of school life, friendships and one annoying big brother. The film adaptations which are based on these books cleverly use the illustrations at points to help tie the films and books together and to re-jog your memories of where in the book these movie scenes are from.

Black Beauty (1994)

Age: U

This literary classic may have been a children's book for your generation but I can guarantee that it will be just as enjoyable for your kids to read it today. The 1877 novel by Anna Sewell tells the story of the adventures of Black Beauty, a gorgeous farm horse. It is an autobiographical fiction novel which is written from the point of view of the horse herself, which makes it an extremely creative and imaginative novel for your children aged 8 and over. The film adaptation is cleverly created to not destroy the illusion of this being a first-hand narrative of Black Beauty the horse and makes for a great family movie.

Of Mice and Men (1992)

Age: PG

John Steinbeck's literary classic is the perfect teen read and usually features on many GCSE syllabuses. It tells the story of two itinerant workers, George and his child-like companion Lennie, as they drift through California during the Great Depression. This wonderful novel explores themes of historical importance, treatment of minorities and masculinity. While the film is rated a PG, I would suggest this novel and film adaptation for an older viewing audience due to some violent themes and potentially graphic scenes.

Matilda (1996)

Age: PG

Roald Dahl was such a wonderful children's author and brought so many characters to life in his series of books. This is another brilliant film adaptation based on one of Dahl's books which brings to life the story of a little girl who befalls an unfortunate family and school-life despite her amazing ability to retain knowledge and magical powers. Matilda is a timeless classic that the whole family will enjoy. Being one of Dahl's larger books of the collection it is probably suited to children aged 8 and over while the film stands at an appropriate PG rating.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Age: PG

This widely appreciated movie is better known for its film adaptation rather than the book it was based on by Lauren Weisberger, written merely 3 years before the film. This is a good teen book that may interest your children due to its fashionable and modern nature.  The book features a few moments of strong language but this shouldn't deter you from allowing your kids this really fun read. The film, however, is rated PG so is fun for all the family. The cut-throat performance of Meryl Streep in this adaptation leaves everyone wanting more and makes for a fantastic comedy-drama.



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