Books vs. Movies: What’s better?

Obviously, in the books vs. movies debate, I’m always going to pick books! I used to have a strong opinion that a book should NEVER be a movie. Ever. Most of the time, I think the movie ruins the book!

Wondering what’s better- the book or the movie?! Click the image to read and compare both the children’s book vs. movie with this list of 10 best children’s books turned into movies!

When I was getting my Masters of Education At the University of Virginia, I took a Children’s Literature class. I was very adamant in my views of children’s books turned into movies until my professor gave me a different perspective. She said something like this:

“Any time they turn a children’s book into a movie, more people are aware of that book. It brings a wider audience to the story. Even if half of those people never read the book, you know some of them will read the book to compare!”

I truly had never thought of it this way before! Because of her, I have a new appreciation for books turned into movies. Anything that encourages a child to read is a win in my book!

I’m sure everyone is thinking about Harry Potter when I’m talking about books vs. movies. I’m actually not including this one on my list because I personally read Harry Potter in high school (mostly because J.K. Rowling hadn’t written them all yet!). I do think there is some type of badge of honor when your child can read the Harry Potter series. I honestly do not think anything after book 4 is appropriate for elementary students.

Picture Books Turned Into Movies

As you know from this post, we should never stop reading aloud to our kids!


While any type of reader can sit through a movie, I truly think children’s books turned into movies are perfect for those Reluctant Reader Rosies. They get an automatic reward of screen time when they complete the book!

Not sure what type of reader you have? Click here to take the quiz!

The main problem I have with picture books turned into movies is that the movies are loosely based on the book. Normally, a picture book does not have as much content as a chapter book, so the movie producers need to get a little more creative in the story line.

Questions to Ask while Reading & Watching

I will always recommend reading the story first and discussing it with your child before hopping right into the movie. Talk about:

  • the characters
  • the setting
  • give a brief retelling of the story

All before you jump into family movie night!

The biggest skill I work on in Adventures with Books, my virtual book club for second and third graders, is backing up your reasoning with text evidence. For picture books, the evidence can be from the pictures! Ask your child,

“What is your favorite part?”

Then, be sure they tell you WHY. The why is always more important to me than whatever part they pick. Talk about your favorite parts BEFORE you watch the movie so they can watch for that part and see if their favorite part changes in the movie!

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I love Judith Viorst’s Alexander character and how horrible of a day he has! It is easy for kids to connect to Alexander. As a classroom teacher, we used to change Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day into a Wonderful, Amazing, Very Good, Super Awesome Day!

Where the Wild Things Are

This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book is a “must for every child’s bookshelf!” This is a very common birthday theme for little ones and everyone just loves Max!

The Lorax

The Lorax is a book I love to read around Earth Day in April every year. It’s a great reminder to be kind to our environment and the trees!


Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations come alive from this book to multiple Jumanji movie interpretations! Another Caldecott Medal winner, Peter and Judy first found this game- Jumanji- over 30 years ago!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

I always read this book right before our weather unit in fourth grade! The movie interpretation is equally as cute.

Polar Express

The Polar Express is a magical story of a little boy’s train ride to the North Pole. Do you believe?

Chapter Books Turned Into Movies

Chapter books that are turned into movies are more likely to stick to the story line. There is more content in a chapter book so this makes sense. Some of these books a Beginner Reader Ben will not be able to sit through. You could always read sections of the book aloud if your Beginner Reader will sit through a longer book!


Not sure if what type of reader you have? Take the quiz here!

Because of Winn Dixie

If you’re new around here, Kate DiCamillo is one of my FAVORITE authors! I absolutely adore anything she writes, and love comparing this book to the movie!


Matilda is a gifted five-year-old who clashes with her terrible headmistress and has some crazy adventures! The book really comes to life in the movie.

Ramona & Beezus

Beverly Cleary is a classic children’s book author. Please note the book is titled Beezus and Ramona, but the movie switches the names for the title! Ramona is a beloved character with an entire series devoted to her antics!

Charlotte’s Web

This classic story is a perfect family read aloud. Watch Charlotte and Wilbur come to life on the big screen!

The One and Only Ivan

Katherine Applegate is another one of my favorite authors! The One and Only Ivan is also a movie now on Disney+.

This is definitely a book for older readers. Be prepared to feel all the feels if you choose to read and watch this one with your kids!

Flora and Ulysses

A bonus book turned movie for you! Flora and Ulysses is coming out on Disney+ on February 19th. So, start reading it with your kids today and you’ll be ready for the release 😉

If you’re looking to bring joy and FUN into your family read alouds, check out my Bonding with Books box. Flora and Ulysses is featured in February’s box!

The Great Debate

After you read one of these books, then watch the movie, let me know which you prefer! I will almost always pick a book in the books vs. movies debate!

Kim Creigh, M.Ed