Book-to-Movie List for Tweens

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My middle-schooler loves to read. One thing we really like to do is watch movies based on the books we’ve read. We like to compare and contrast the book and the movie. Sometimes, the movies follow the book pretty well. Sometimes, they don’t. This opens a lot of dialogue between Em and me.

It’s fun to hear her go through the plot and setting, and it lets me see exactly what she comprehended from the stories she read. Below, I’m sharing a handful of books/movies we read/watched during the past school year:

Book-to-Movie List for Tweens | library

Holes by Louis Sachar- I first read this book many years ago when I was teaching public school. The kids enjoyed it so much, I kept the book to read with my own kiddos. I didn’t watch this movie with Em {I was at a homeschool convention}, but she said it stays really close to the book. I’ll have to find some time to watch it this summer.


The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – Emma liked this book much more than she liked the movie. She complained throughout the whole movie about how different it was from the book version of the story.

The Indian in the Cupboard

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – I read this series before I lets the kids read it. I made them each wait until middle school to read them. I couldn’t wait to see the movies! I very rarely watch movies in the theater, because it’s just too expensive. However, I’ve watched both of the first two Hunger Games movies in the theater. I thought the movies followed the books pretty well.

The Hunger Games trilogy

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – I loved this book! I actually read it in my Children’s Lit class back in college. I then read it to my students, and I saved it to read with my kids. The cartoon movie is good, but it doesn’t follow the movie very well. Em was discouraged by this, but it led to an interesting conversation.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – This movie “mostly” follows the story. There are a few minor differences, but nothing so huge that it had Emma yelling at the TV that “that’s not how it happened.”

Because of Winn Dixie

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – The movie-version of this story stays pretty close to the book. There are a few differences – the backstory at the beginning of the movie is the most obvious. However, the movie and book are so close that there was no complaining from my kiddo.

Anne of Green Gables

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr – We read this book on vacation a few years ago, and I brought along the movie in case we finished the book. We did! We all loved it. Highly recommended!

Nim's Island

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – Emma and I both enjoyed the book and the movie. However, we didn’t like them together. I think the movie producers took great liberties with the story, and it deviates quite a bit from the book. If you watched the movie without reading the book first if would be enjoyable. However, since we read first and watch later, we were a little disappointed when comparing the two.

James and the Giant Peach

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ~ We enjoyed reading this book and then watching both versions of the movie. We felt that the newer version, with Johnny Depp, stayed closer to the story from the book. However, I had already seen the older version, with Gene Wilder, as a kid before I read the book. So, I like the Gene Wilder movie version better. Emma, who is familiar with Johnny Depp from other movies, likes his version better.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Clipart from Sweet Clip Art

About Tara Mitchell

Tara Mitchell is a wife and mom to three beautiful children ages 19, 15, and 10. She enjoys reading, cooking/baking, and crafting. When she's not driving to and from her children's activities, you can find her blogging at This Sweet Life. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook.


  1. I love that you included Because of Winn Dixie. I think it might be the best book-to-movie adaptation of a children’s book. And I’m with you – I prefer Wilder’s Willy Wonka over Depp’s.

  2. We’ve read and seen six of those – all very good! City of Ember was our big movie disappointment this year. We enjoyed the book quite a bit, but the movie was soooo different there wasn’t much left to like.

  3. We often have the ‘which was better’ discussion; mostly the books win. The girls always pick up on what has been cut from the book – sometimes whole scenes, sometimes characters they like. I try to get them to read the book first (which my eldest did with Harry Potter – pretty much one after the other as the whole series was being shown on TV over a few weeks) but it doesn’t always work :-).


  1. […] shared a list of some of our favorite books-to-movies over at The Library Adventure. I know that my list is for tweens, but a lot of these could work for […]

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