With the second installment of the Hunger Games appearing on screens today, fans of the trilogy will be clutching hot movie tickets as they head to the theater to identify similarities and differences between the what they read in Catching Fire and how it comes to life on the screen. I spent the better portion of my sophomore year in high school English class reading a book, watching the movie, and writing compare – contrast papers but unfortunately none of the literature we read was ever as gripping as The Hunger Games books.
To say it was engaging curriculum wouldn’t be farther from the truth. However, from time to time there’s value in reading books, watching their cinematic counterparts, and being able to realize the similarities and differences as movies bring the story to life. Here are thirteen age appropriate movies that match their story counterparts that are fun for all ages to watch via Netflix but only after you’ve read the book, of course!
- Hugo— One of my daughters’ favorite books, Hugo is about a 12-year-old orphan Hugo takes up residence behind the walls of a Parisian train station after his father dies. There, he meets Isabelle, the daughter of filmmaker Georges Méliès, who holds the key to Hugo’s destiny.
- Escape to Witch Mountain— Who else remembers watching this movie as a kid? I certainly do and it’s almost time to share it with my own children. In Escape to Witch Mountain, gifted orphans Tony and Tia use their superpowers to find a place called Witch Mountain — and escape from the nefarious clutches of two schemers who are posing as loving relatives and trying to exploit the kids’ special abilities.
- James and the Giant Peach— When young orphan James spills a magic bag of crocodile tongues, he soon finds himself in possession of a giant peach that flies him away to strange lands. But that’s not half as odd as the oversize talking insects he finds living inside the peach.
- The Babysitters Club— You know you read this series. I did! Now the heartwarming series about seven best friends and their highly organized babysitting service comes to live as they experience the ups and downs of babysitting along with tween and everyday issues.
- Goosebumps— The creepy books by R.L. Stine tales take on a life of their own! From cursed mirrors and rampaging monsters to haunted libraries and shambling zombies, original stories along with adaptations drawn from the popular books are a fun spooky watch for older fans.
- A Wrinkle in Time— The classic Madeline L’Engle tale comes to live as Meg Murry (Katie Stuart) and her brother, Charles (David Dorfman), search for their missing father, who disappeared while doing confidential government research. Guided by three celestial beings (Alfre Woodard, Kate Nelligan and Alison Elliott), the children travel to the malevolent planet of Camazotz. There, Charles falls under the sway of a coercive power — leaving it up to Meg to rescue her family.
- Charlotte’s Web— As a child, I always watched the animated Charlotte’s Web movie but in this version, Hollywood A-listers give voice to Wilbur and the rest of E.B. White’s beloved barnyard characters in this retelling of the classic children’s tale as Charlotte works her web magic to ensure that the pig will stay around the farm for years to come.
- Velveteen Rabbit— Every child with a well loved and worn stuffed animal can identify with the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, a beloved stuffed rabbit found by Toby after he’s sent to the house of his stern grandmother for the holiday season. The three special toys — including a stuffed rabbit — that magically come to life feature the voice talents of Jane Seymour, Tom Skerritt and Ellen Burstyn in a mix of live action and animation is inspired by the classic children’s book by Margery Williams.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar— Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are already familiar with this well loved Eric Carle book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar springs to life in this delightful collection of animated tales, that includes four more of Carle’s popular stories.
- The Magic School Bus— Since every kid would love to have Ms. Frizzle as their teacher, the next best thing is bringing her into your living room as kids are introduced to science topics as the Magic School Bus travels to outer space, under the sea, through an anthill — and even inside the human body!
- The Little Engine That Could— Chant with me: “I think I can, I think I can…” The timeless children’s classic comes roaring to life in this star-studded animated tale of a train who overcomes every obstacle by repeating “I think I can, I think I can.” Along the way, The Little Engine climbs new heights and finds new friends.
- Stuart Little 2— We missed the first Stuart Little movie but love the book! In the sequel to the 1999 blockbuster movie, adorable Stuart still lives happily with his adoptive family, the Littles – but is ready for more zany misadventures with his human brother and their mischievous cat.
- Scholastic Storybook Treasures Tall Tales— From high-wire acts of daring to the wonder of first snowfall to the work of keeping a busy city clean, discover classic children’s books (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, The Snowy Day, I Stink! and Trashy Town) that come to live thanks to timeless animation and celebrity narration.
Here are some other must-reads for Hunger Games fans ages 12 & up that are available from The Scholastic Store and all book retailers nationwide but would make great movies!
- First and foremost, read… Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Inhuman By Kat Falls
- The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch
- The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn
- The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
- Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
- Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
- Green Heart by Alice Hoffman
- Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
- Empty by Suzanne Weyn
- Rootless by Chris Howard
- Above by Leah Bobet
This post was inspired by my involvement as a member of the Netflix Stream Team. As a Stream Team member, I received a Welcome Kit with items to facilitate me watching content via Netflix but no compensation was received for my involvement and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Netflix. Book picks similar to Hunger Games are courtesy of Scholastic. Amazon Affiliate links are contained in this post.