Movies Motivate Reading

The book is always better than the movie, right?

movie seats

Whenever I’m on the fence about picking up a book, I’ll watch the movie first and see if the story interests me. After all, the time commitment is a lot less with a two hour movie than the hours it takes to read.

But the book IS always better. With layers of meaning, levels of emotion and depth of character you can’t find in a movie, books give you the best story experience, in my opinion, being a writer I’m all about the books!

I decided the best thing to do for this post is to find lists of books that have been made into movies and let you decide, which is better, movie or book?  Also, this can be a great way to motivate a reluctant reader. Movie first, book second? Book first, movie second? It’s up to you!

Lists of Books made into Movies:

Top Ten list of movies for Tweens and Teens

Wiki list of Comics made into movies (please note, some of these movies are not meant for a young audience). This is a list of comics that have been made into movies. While some of these are not appropriate for young viewers, there are a large number of movies here that will appeal to reluctant readers who choose to read graphic novels and comics.

A MI library’s list of children’s books made into movies

A short list from Common Sense Media with age appropriate notation

For those who like pictures here’s TimeOut-NY Kids photo list of kid’s books adapted to movies

A couple movies I’m looking forward to:

Ender’s Game (trailer) – by Orson Scott Card is one of my all time favorite science fiction novels and I am very excited to see the movie version. A brilliant book, this article discusses separation of the artist from the work and a bit about the controversy surrounding the author’s views which are not a part of his book.


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – This movie is not getting the best reviews, but it did prompt my 10 yr old neighbor to take out of the library, all the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. It’s on my “to see” list because I love all of Rick Riordan’s novels and I love the visual appeal of his stories on the big screen.

I hope these movie lists help you choose your next family movie night and spur a reading marathon before or after.

The book is always better!

Happy Watching and Reading!

How about you? Is your favorite movie missing from the lists? Do you have a favorite book that you would like to see made into a movie?

AnshaKotykAnsha Kotyk has always loved watching cool movies in her spare time. They help her to imagine awesome new story ideas for her books.

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19 thoughts on “Movies Motivate Reading

  1. Erik, thanks for stopping by. I’m definitely planning on seeing the movie soon. I’d love to see your article, what paper? I agree the book is always better. Although I’m always excited when a movie of a book comes out. I enjoy movies just as much as the book because I just love to see the spectacle that is created. Of course it has to have all the special effects that you can only imagine when you’re reading!

  2. My favorite story of all time is LOTR, and I thought Peter Jackson did a fabulous job putting the books on the big screen. I watch them every fall with my kids. It takes us a week, but it takes a month to read them all! That only happens every few years. I also really like the Narnia movies (Lion, Witch and Wardrobe and Dawn Treador, not Caspian so much). I still enjoy watching each Harry Potter movie every time I reread the books. And I thought Bridge to Teribithia was better than the book. (Wait! Did I just say that?) Okay, I even broke down and read Twilight last fall and watched the movies. And I’m looking forward to the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy and the upcoming Divergent movie based on the book by Veronica Roth.

    Movies aren’t all that different from the tales people used to tell around tribal fires. They take all the things we love about STORY and put it in a visual format. It’s the same thing Shakespeare did centuries ago, just with the help of modern technology. And movies do get kids interested in books. I use them to motivate my own kids (we watch the movies AFTER we read the books).

    Fun post, Ansha!

    1. I’m a visual person so I’m always excited when a movie comes out based on a book I’ve read. I loved ‘seeing’ the Hunger Games, but the movie didn’t give you anywhere near the depth of character or plot that you get from the book, because of that I’m glad I usually read the book first!

  3. Great post, Ansha! I’m looking forward to Ender’s Game as well as that was a favorite of mine growing up. But, yes, book always trumps movie just because of the depth and wealth of information we get about the characters. You just can’t fit all that into a movie. The Harry Potter series is probably the best I’ve seen, but I think that’s probably because we got to watch the actors grow up in the movies much like we saw the characters grow up in the books.

    1. Harry Potter movies are one of my favorites as well. They did a wonderful job of recreating the world. Still, it was best to read the books first. 🙂

  4. I hate to say, but I’m a sucker of anything Harry Potter, CS Lewis or Tolkien and YES, the books were all better than the movies, hands down. Perhaps the value of the movie after the book (at least for me) is reminding me of how much I loved or hated the characters and to spend just a bit more time with folks I’ve made my friends.

  5. Great post Ansha! I love the idea of comparing the book versus the movie. What a great way to encourage reading and also have a bonding experience with your child! 🙂

  6. I think most people who like to read will always prefer the books. The books have more time to develop character and all the little details that readers love. I am no exception. I usually prefer the books. I try to judge the quality of the adaptation. Movies and books are different art forms. It is like a sculpture and a painting of the same scene. There are similarities but the medium requires differences. I like to see if a movie maker can capture the themes and spirit of the novel in a different medium. It is interesting to see our favorite characters come to life visually.

  7. You are so right! But, unfortunately, because of time restraints, I fall back on movies. But my favorites (i.e. Jane Eyre) I will read or check out on audio. Thanks for the admonition.

  8. I feel that you are right about the book being better, but my preference has always been to read rather than watch. My husband is just he opposite. He would prefer to watch the movie. Perhaps that is because he is an artist who enjoys all the visual elements. I think it comes down to the individual. Some of us enjoy making up the visuals in our brain, while others want to see the panoply of images presented to them first.

  9. Hmmm. I think this is true so much of the time, though I agree that the Narnia and Harry Potter books did a really good job of capturing the flavor. The only one I can think of off the top of my head where the movie was better–? Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Definitely tween. Definitely hilariously done.

  10. I agree that movies can be great motivation for kids (er.. and me) to read books. I read Percy Jackson *because* I enjoyed the movie so much (and the books are *waywayway* better. The same goes for The Spiderwick Chronicles.

    But there is a downside. If there is a bad movie made from a good book that I haven’t read, I am less likely to go and read that book. City of Ember was a pretty mediocre movie (at best), and I’m not likely to read that book after seeing it. And the reviews for Eragon (movie) were so bad, that I’m not likely to ever pick up that book either. Had I not already read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before seeing (parts of) the movie, I would never have picked it up (did that really need a sequel? really?!?)

    Also, I disagree with the statement that the book is always better. Fantastic Mr. Fox is (according to me) *not* one of Roald Dahl’s best books. Gun violence, alcohol, and a main character whose job is to rob people doesn’t make for a book I’d recommend to most people. But the movie is (forgive me) fantastic! Granted, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach took the book and made it Act II of a three act movie and wrote their own opening and closing.

    And in terms of length, I might be able to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy more quickly than watching the movies…

    1. You make a very good argument about books done poorly or a mediocre book done really well. As Silas mentioned it’s a different creative medium so there are positives and negatives to the different form. And of course you have different artists.
      And you made me giggle with the LOTR reference. hee hee. 😉

  11. I’m with you on the newest Percy Jackson flick, Ansha, looking forward to that. Although the first Percy Jackson movie – The Lightning Thief was better as a book for sure. Cheers for a fun post, and giving me more options to choose from!

  12. I almost always prefer the book. I get such vivid pictures in my head of each character, and when I see someone on the screen that contradicts my preconceived ideas, I tend to be disappointed.

    The exception for me was Holes. I thought they did an excellent job with that film, and part of my admiration for it was that it followed the text so closely.

    This is a fun and thought-provoking post, Ansha! Congratulations.

    1. Lynn, Ender’s Game is a great book. I should read it again. I’ve read it a couple times already. Highly recommend it. Let me know what you think of it when you’re done. 🙂

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