School has started, which means most children are encouraged to read more. Whether you have a child or grandchild who loves reading or not, try the following method for added interest and perspective: Select a book that has been made into a movie. The reward for reading the book is getting to watch the movie together afterward (add popcorn for extra enthusiasm). Children may become much more interested in reading after realizing how much of the storyline is often left out of films. Here is a list of films and their book origins that might be of interest:
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) Daniel Handler | Rated PG
When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents’ vast fortune.*
Harriet the Spy (1996) Louise Fitzhugh | Rated PG
Harriet M. Welsch is an 11-year-old spy. But when Harriet’s friends find her secret notebook, the tables are turned on her. Can she win her friends back and still keep on going with the spy business?*
Holes (2003) Louis Sachar | Rated PG
A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp, where he joins in the laborious job of digging holes for some mysterious reason. What he and his new friends dig up is fascinating.*
Little Women (1994) Louisa May Alcott | Rated PG
A classic novel about how four sisters live through the Civil War in New England by singing, putting on plays and being generally wonderful. Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) Kate DiCamillo | Rated PG A mischievous dog befriends a lonely young girl in a new town and helps her make friends.*
Charlotte’s Web (2006) E.B. White | Rated PG
The book blends live action and computer generated images to tell the story of a girl named Fern, her pet pig Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte, who saves Wilbur from his plate-of-bacon fate by spelling out enthusiastic words in her web.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) Roald Dahl | Rated G
Who could forget the “Golden Ticket” and the poor humble boy, who wins the opportunity to tour the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory in the world.*
Hugo (2011) Brian Selznick — The Invention of Hugo Cabret | Rated PG
An orphaned boy, who unlawfully lives in a Paris train station, takes an interest in a toymaker, who helps him explain the mystery of a half-finished invention his father left him.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) L. Frank Baum | Rated PG
Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a fantastical quest to see the Wizard, who can help her return home. She encounters many adventures along the way, including witches, singing munchkins and flying monkeys.*
Harry Potter series (2001–2011) J.K Rowling | Rated PG to PG-13
In eight magical movies over 10 years—with almost the entire brilliant cast intact throughout—alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron, learning everything from the rules of Quidditch and how to brew Polyjuice potion to the human costs of war and the true meaning of loyalty. Pick your favorite: the haunting beauty of Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, the underwater adventures and budding romances of Goblet of Fire, or the epic battles of Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The movies made kids eager to read (and reread) J.K. Rowling’s increasingly complex books, and the books made kids thrilled to go to movies—the perfect symbiosis of page and screen. In memory of three actors who have recently passed: Lauren Bacall, James Garner and Robin Williams, each who brought us wonderful performances and joy to our hearts and also made movies based on books. Robin Williams played the lead role brilliantly in Mrs. Doubtfire, which was based on the book Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine Laruen Bacall began her career at age 19 in the movie adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. Among his many films and television series, James Garner stared in Murphy’s Romance, based on the book by Max Schott
*As described on the website www.IMDb.com.