Everyone knows that the book is better than the movie, but that doesn’t stop us from the enjoyment that comes from seeing our favorite book stories come to life on the screen. If you’re looking for a list of the best children’s books that have been made into movies, you came to the right place!
Many of these kids books that were turned into movies are picture books, but feel free to filter down solely to picture books if you’re specifically looking for a younger age group. If you’re looking for chapter books turned films geared for slightly older audiences, like the “Harry Potter” series or “Little Women”, try filtering the list to sort for chapter books. The list will automatically show all books, showcasing the list in its entirety, as there’s a great variety of books on this list that their respective films were based on.
Whether you’re looking for books that were turned into G-rated movies for younger audiences, like the 1971 film adaptation of “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” or searching for recent book-based films like “Ferdinand” (2017, PG), “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” (2018, PG), and “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (2019, TV-PG), this list has great picks that will make for memory-filled reading time and added to with a fun family movie night.
Enjoy, and let us know if you have any other favorite kids books that were turned into great films!
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle now Sony’s highest grossing film of all time!
Over thirty years ago, Peter and Judy first found the game—Jumanji—with the instructions that once the game is started, it must be finished or it will go on forever—and it was then, with this same wonderment, readers found Jumanji, too. Since its original publication, Jumanji has been honored with many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, and in 1996, the surreal story was adapted to fit the big screen for the first time.
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award! This book is a #1 New York Times bestselling, modern classic in which boys are forced to dig holes day in and day out.
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl, and a princess named Pea come together in Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Medal–winning tale.
Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.
With black-and-white illustrations and a refreshed cover by Timothy Basil Ering.
Where the Wild Things Are - Grammy - I really love this book! I have a copy from when my children were little and I have copies for each of their households when collecting children’s books starts to be relevant. Over the years I have heard of some of the criticism people have addressed toward this book but none of it has really resonated with me. Sendak’s story and illustrations appeal to children in the same way that fairy tales do—none of those is mild and sweet. For children, the world is really black and white, and filled with extremes; either everything is fantastic, or it is terrible. Children can relate to Max, having all experienced that separation from vigorous activity to solitude, with imaginations still running wild. It is excellent that Max is not afraid of the monsters, being master of his imaginary world, and fitting that when he has finished his adventures he returns to the safety and security of home.
The Bad Beginning - Readerly Mom - Who knew that a story about terrible things happening to children could be so utterly delightful? This book, and those that follow it in the series, are constructed in an absolutely charming, oh-so-clever way. And don’t let the titles fool you: they are chock-full of silliness.
The Magician's Nephew - In the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis shows us how it all began — the glorious birth of Narnia at the hand of its unforgettable King. It is followed by six more books that collectively tell the history of a world that has become as real as our own.
The Polar Express - 1986 Caldecott Medal Winner A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden “All Aboard” ornament.
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
This original, authorised version has been lovingly recreated electronically for the first time, with reproductions of Potter’s unmistakeable artwork optimised for use on colour devices such as the iPad. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published by Frederick Warne in 1902 and endures as Beatrix Potter’s most popular and well-loved tale. Re-originated in 2002 to mark the centenary of publication bringing it closer to the original edition, six illustrations were restored, four that were removed in 1903 to make room for endpapers and two that have never been used before, Beatrix having initially prepared more illustrations than could be accommodated in the original format.
All summer, Jess pushed himself to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade, and when the year’s first school-yard race was run, he was going to win.But his victory was stolen by a newcomer, by a girl, one who didn’t even know enough to stay on the girls’ side of the playground. Then, unexpectedly, Jess finds himself sticking up for Leslie, for the girl who breaks rules and wins races. The friendship between the two grows as Jess guides the city girl through the pitfalls of life in their small, rural town, and Leslie draws him into the world of imaginations world of magic and ceremony called Terabithia. Here, Leslie and Jess rule supreme among the oaks and evergreens, safe from the bullies and ridicule of the mundane world. Safe until an unforeseen tragedy forces Jess to reign in Terabithia alone, and both worlds are forever changed. In this poignant, beautifully rendered novel, Katherine Paterson weaves a powerful story of friendship and courage.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky.
In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odour.
In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - The beloved, bestselling tale of edible weather is brought to life! If food dropped like rain from the sky, wouldn’t it be marvelous! Or would it? It could, after all, be messy. And you’d have no choice. What if you didn’t like what fell? Or what if too much came? Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be squashed flat by a pancake?
The Story of Ferdinand - Readerly Mom - There’s a reason Ferdinand is a classic: it’s sweet, it has a good overall message, and it’s easy to read over and over again. Ferdinand the peaceful bull is such a lovable character! The black and white illustrations have a fun style that’s different than any other books on our shelf. My three-year-old daughter likes to read stories over FaceTime with her grandma who lives far away, and The Story of Ferdinand is almost always the first book she requests!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic Seuss) - The Dr. Seuss holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas is now a major motion picture from Illumination Presents – Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch! Grow your heart three sizes and get in on all of the Grinch excitement with the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas—the ultimate Dr. Seuss Christmas classic that no holiday season is complete without! “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old. And don’t forget to celebrate Grinch-mas this Christmas season, the annual holiday tradition inspired by How the Grinch Stole Christmas that encourages readers to grow their hearts three sizes by doing good deeds!
Peter Pan - One starry night, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell lead the three Darling children over the rooftops of London and away to Neverland – the island where lost boys play, mermaids splash and fairies make mischief. But a villainous-looking gang of pirates lurk in the docks, led by the terrifying Captain James Hook. Magic and excitement are in the air, but if Captain Hook has his way, before long, someone will be walking the plank and swimming with the crocodiles…
From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG!
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb? Join his adventures and misadventures as he finds a new way to train dragons—and becomes a hero. This action-packed, hilarious, and perfectly illustrated novel is a modern classic beloved by millions across the globe.
We had so much fun with this book. It is a book beyond all imagination. It gets all the wheels spinning in our little boys’ minds. They love hearing all the descriptions of the chocolates and candies. And it is especially encouraging that little Charlie Bucket is such a good and caring boy that has good returned to him in every sense of the word.
From the author of The BFG and Matilda!
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
An extraordinary English nanny blows in on the East Wind with her parrot-headed umbrella and magic carpetbag and introduces her charges, Jane and Michael, to some delightful people and experiences. Children’s BOMC.
Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web was published. It’s gone on to become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White’s own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything. We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo’s foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic. Charlotte’s Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig. How all this comes about is Mr. White’s story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language. The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White’s marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.
Stuart Little - A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams’s original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure. Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?
Harriet The Spy - “The 50th annivesary edition of Harriet the Spy includes tributes to this timeless coming-of-age story from Judy Blume, Rebecca Stead, and other notable authors.” - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor This special 50th Anniversary Edition of the classic and ground-breaking coming-of-age novel, Harriet the Spy, includes tributes by Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and many more, as well as a map of Harriet’s New York City neighborhood and spy route and original author/editor correspondence. Using her keen observation skills, 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch writes down in her notebook what she considers the truth about everyone in and around her New York City neighborhood. When she loses track of her notebook, it ends up in the wrong hands, and before she can stop them, her friends read the sometimes awful things she’s observed and written about each of them. How can Harriet find a way to keep her integrity and also put her life and her friendships back together? “I don’t know of a better novel about the costs and rewards of being a truth teller, nor of any book that made more readers of my generation want to become fiction writers. I love the story of Harriet so much I feel as if I lived it.” —Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and The Corrections