Made into Movies: Books for Middle Schoolers
We are all aware of the importance of reading, but motivating students to open a book can be difficult. In this series, Made into Movies, we’ve gathered some of the best film adaptations of favorite books to spark kids’ interest in reading. Watching the films can serve as a reward for finishing the related book, inspire children to read the book after seeing the film, or accompany a reader as they are making their way through a series.
Films 4-7 Rating: PG-13
The themes in the fourth book and beyond are geared to a slightly older audience than the first three entries. Love interests are more prevalent, the plot becomes more complex, and their are more deaths. The series increases in pages dramatically: book two contained 251, book three contained 317, while book four contains 636. The series is still very well written, and everything from our previous post applies.
The films also take a darker approach to include the more mature content, which is why the last five films (book seven has two parts) are rated PG-13.
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Written in 1844, this novel has been a French classic for over 150 years. The original version is very long and has over 1200 pages, however there are abridged copies modernizing the book which have roughly 500 pages. Dumas tackled many themes throughout the book, including religion, love and revenge, examining the purpose and outcome of each. Taking place in the Napoleonic Era in France, this book can serve as a historical piece, referencing the social and political issues of the time as well. This adventure has inspired many and is still relevant today, earning the #44 spot on BBC’s Big Read in 2003.
The film stays true to the book, and while it may not examine all of the points of the novel, it does a good job of addressing the major ones.
Author: Jane Austen
This English classic was written in 1813, however its first draft was titled First Impressions around 1796. It is a satirical look at how relationships were formed and influenced in 19th century England. While the mood of the novel is light, Austen was able to address social issues which made her a champion for her time. Over two hundred years old, Austen and her works are still remembered and celebrated today.
The film captures the essence of Austen’s writing, and demonstrates her wit and humor through the dialogue and actions of the characters.
Author: Sir Author Conan Doyle
A great read for anyone interested in mysteries. Cataloging over 60 adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his companion John Watson, the series captivated audiences with its mysteries and witty dialogue. The character has become so beloved that a 9 foot statue of him was erected near the Baker Street Station in London and he holds the Guinness world record for the most portrayed movie character.
The television series has rejuvenated this classic story, by modernizing the beloved mysteries and putting them in present day London.
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Since the publication of The Hobbit in 1937, and the Rings trilogy in 1954, Tolkien’s works have been consistently ranked as the best fantasy novels. The epic follows several characters both good and evil, their motivations and the difficult choices that must be made. The many themes of choice and change that are presented in the series, as well as Tolkien’s knowledge of language give the books a unique depth that draws readers in.
The director of the Lord of the Rings films took great care in maintaining the universe Tolkien created, which is evident in the films.
Let’s keep reading! Include your child’s favorite books that have been made into movies in the comments.
Peter Spain is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a manager at K12. A graduate from George Mason University, Peter has worked for several years in the education and entertainment industry. He strives to make learning fun for children by contributing to the games and activities section of the site, and keeping an eye out for advancements in edutainment.