Read the book and then watch the movie or watch the film and then read the book. Whatever suits your family best. Reading books that have been made into movies is a great way to get kids engaged in books. Here is a selection of children’s books that have been adapted for the screen. Sometimes the book is better than the movie but there have been some great movies resulting out of these books.
We’ve chosen a selection of family movies including some Australian films as well. Always check the age recommendations for the book and movie as some content may be unsuitable for younger kids. We recommend visiting Common Sense Media or the Australian site Know Before You Go to determine whether a film is suitable for your family.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair. And it got worse. Classic picture book for kids to read. Movie rated PG.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This classic tale begins with Alice following a curious White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole and falling into Wonderland. There she meets some unforgettable characters. Choose from the animated Disney film rated G or Tim Burton movie rated PG.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
A heartwarming movie about Anne Shirley, a 12-year-old orphan girl who finds herself in Green Gables in Prince Edward Island. She gets up to ridiculous adventures with her imagination. A childhood classic, this book is a must-read. Movie rated G.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and the descendent of a long line of criminal masterminds. In this first book of the Artemis Fowl series, he attempts to kidnap a fairy and hold her ransom to rebuild his family’s fortune. Movie rated PG.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The BFG follows the unlikely friendship of an orphan Sophie and the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) who abducts her and takes her to Giant Island. Movie rated PG.
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
This classic book is about the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. Movie rated PG.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
In this touching but sad movie, two outsiders become friends and escape from overbearing parents and bullies at school in their own private kingdom of Terabithia. Movie rated PG.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The story of Buck, a dog from California who is kidnapped and transported to the Yukon in Canada to be a sled dog during a gold rush. Movie rated PG.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
This funny kids book series features the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school created by two prank-loving best friends, and now they’re going to bring him to life as Captain Underpants. Movie rated PG.
Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
This classic rhyming picture book is a delight for young kids . Movie is targetted to older kids and rated PG.
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Who doesn’t want to win a Golden Ticket? This book follows the story of Charlie Bucket and his adventure in visiting the mysterious chocolate factory with four other kids. Whether you’re watching the Johnny Depp version or the original Gene Wilder one, be sure to watch the movie with lots of chocolates nearby. Rated PG for 2005 version and G for 1971 version.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
A heartwarming story between a pig Wilbur destined to be a dinner and Charlotte, a spider who vows to save his life. Movie rated PG.
Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
This much-loved book series starts during the blitz of World War II. While playing hide and seek, the Pevensie siblings discover the magical wardrobe that serves a portal to Narnia, a kingdom under the power of the evil White Witch. Movie rated PG.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
This book is a bit of a surreal tale. It follows a girl who is trying to save herself, her parents, and other trapped souls from the Other Mother in a secret world. Movie rated PG.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Follow the adventures of Greg Heffley who is trying to make himself more popular in middle school. There are so many books in this popular series to read. Movies rated PG.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
In this retelling of the classic Cinderella story, Ella is cursed with obedience. However, she refuses to meekly accept the curse and instead attempts to get rid of it. Movie rated PG.
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
In this classic Roald Dahl book, Mr Fox helps himself to food from three local farmers who then hatch a plan to kill him. Movie rated PG.
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
In this epic fantasy story, 12-year-old orphan Lyra Belacqua’s life is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. Movie rated PG-13.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
This clever mouse provides a great example of quick thinking for kids. He escapes from a series of would-be predators by telling them about the fearsome gruffalo. Movie rated G.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet likes to observe others and write things down about other people. However, she’s in trouble when her classmates read about themselves in her secret notebook. Movie rated PG.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Discover the magic of Harry Potter, an 11 year old boy wizard. The first installment of the Harry Potter movie series is a fun and family-friendly introduction to the Wizarding World. You can follow it up with additional movies but keep in mind the movies get darker and more intense as the kids get older. First movie rated PG.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book for teenagers and adults covers the complex subjects of racism, police brutality and grief. Starr Carter is a teen who witnesses the fatal police shooting of her best friend. Movie rated PG-13.
Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein 🇦🇺
This book follows the story of Erica Yurkin who dreams of becoming a famous movie star to escape her unhappy life. Then Alison Ashley arrives who appears to have the perfect life. Movie rated PG.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit is the timeless classic story of Bilbo, a hobbit, who embarks on a strange and magical adventure to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Movie rated PG-13
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr Seuss
Horton lives peacefully in the Jungle of Nool until the day he hears a nearly inaudible call for help and saves the Whos. Movie rated G.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
This bestselling book series is about Hiccup, a clever young Viking and his friendship with a Night Fury dragon who he names Toothless. This is in contrast to the rest of the village who are trained to kill invading dragons. It’s a feel good story about standing up for what you believe in. Plus the animation of this film by Dreamworks is superb. Follow up with the two sequels. Film rated PG.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss
This classic Dr Seuss book tells the tale of the disgruntled Grinch and his fiendish attempts to steal Christmas from the citizens of Who-ville! Live-action movie rated PG.
Hugo by Brian Selznick
Hugo is an orphan, clock keeper and thief who lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station. His prize possession is an automan and he embarks on an adventure to find out why its so important. Movie rated PG
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This series of dystopian young adult books follows Katniss Everdeen who participates in a reality TV show. Movies rated PG-13.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Poor James is living a life of servitude to his unkind relatives. After James brings a peach tree back to life, it grows a giant peach. In it, James discovers a group of insects. Movie rated PG.
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
An action-packed story about a board game which unleashes vicious beasts into a small town. In this movie, two kids find an old game and start playing it not realising the effect it will have. In order to return the town to normal, they’ll need to play the game to the end. The game’s animals might not be suitable for younger viewers. Movie rated PG.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Follow the adventures of Mowgli, the mancub raised by wolves and his bear companion Baloo. Live action movie rated PG. Animated Disney movie rated G.
Little Women by Louise May Alcott
This American classic tells the story of the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy growing up in Boston during and after the Civil War. Movie rated PG.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta 🇦🇺
In this coming of age story, Josephine Alibrandi falls in love, meets her father and learns the truth about her family in her final year of school. Movie rated M.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax is the original eco warrior and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests, told in the trademark rhyme of Dr. Seuss. Movie rated PG.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline is one of 12 boarding school girls who live in an old house in Paris. She’s the smallest but definitely the bravest. Movie rated G.
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
This book features a magical nanny named Mary Poppins who looks after two spirited children. Sing along to the much-loved songs lin the movie ike a Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Movie rated G.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
This book is about Matilda, an intelligent little girl with the worst parents ever. She uses her telekinetic powers to teach her parents and others a lesson, such as her demonic headmistress Ms. Trunchbull, who is known for throwing pupils over the school fence! Movie rated PG.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
In this book series for young adults, Jacob sets out to a remote island off the coast of Wales to learn more about his grandfather’s mysterious stories about living at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Movie rated PG-13.
Mr Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater & Florence Atwater
A house painter, Mr Popper enjoys National Geographic specials. After writing to an Antarctic explorer, Admiral Drake, he receives a live penguin in reply. He soons end up with more. Movie rated PG.
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
This book series is about Nancy Drew, a kid detective who uses her sleuthing skills to solve mysteries. The stories have been adapted into movies. Movie rated PG.
Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
After her scientist father is delayed from returning home on his sailboat trip, Nim who lives on a tropical island must survive on her own. Movie rated PG.
Paddington by Michael Bond
This beloved children’s classic is about a bear from darkest Peru who is adopted by an English family. Movie rated PG.
Paper Towns by John Green
In this coming of age story targetting teen readers, Quentin lives next door to Margo, a popular teen who has mostly ignored him. However, one night she convinces him to accompany him on a night of pranks. She soon disappears after leading Quentin to discover what happened to her. Movie rated PG-13.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
These entertaining book series features Percy Jackson, who finds out he is a demigod. After being kicked out of school, he ends up Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for children of the Greek gods. There he meets Annabeth, the daughter of Athena and a young satyr Grover and they set off to retrieve Zeus’ lightning bolt from Hades, who is accused of stealing it. Movie rated PG.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
This classic kids novel features Peter Pan, who flies through the window of the Darling nursery in search of his shadow. After meeting Wendy, Michael, and John, he teaches them to fly, and leads them to the home of the Lost Boys in Neverland. Live action movie rated PG. Disney animated movie rated G.
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit can’t help sneaking into the garden to explore even though Mr McGregor is there to chase and catch him. Movie rated PG.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
An orphan, Pippi Longstocking lives alone in a house at the edge of a small town. She’s independent, doesn’t go to school and spend her time playing with her pet monkey and horse, and the kids who live next door. Movie rated G.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
This Christmas classic tells the story of of a boy who takes a magical train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Movie rated G.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This fairytale story about a beautiful young woman Princess Buttercup and her one true love is a classic. Suspenseful, action-filled and funny, this is a great book to read followed by the movie. Movie rated PG.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
In this modern-day Cinderella story, Mia, a high school student discovers that she is actually the princess and heir to the throne of a small European country named Genovia. Movie rated G.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Young orphan Mary Lennox discovers a long-hidden garden on the grounds of her uncle’s remote estate in northern England. With the help of Dickon, the younger brother of a housemaid, they bring the garden back to life to the delight of her cousin Colin. Movie rated PG.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
A 13-book series which tells the story of the three Baudelaire orphans, who are sent to live with Count Olaf, a distant and evil cousin, after their parents die. Movie rated PG. Netflix series rated PG.
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they’ve just moved into, three siblings discover that there’s a magical faerie world existing parallel to our own. Movie rated PG.
Storm Boy by Colin Thiele 🇦🇺
This classic Australian book is about a lonely boy and his pet pelicans living in a secluded coast in South Australia. This bittersweet story charts the relationship between Mike and the pelican named Mr Percival. A film remake was made in 2019. Movie rated PG.
Stuart Little by E. B. White
What happens when a family adopts a charming little mouse as a brother for their son. Their cat doesn’t respond well to the family’s new addition. Movie rated PG.
Tomorrow, When the War Began by Johns Marsden 🇦🇺
In this series for young adults, Ellie and her friends discover that their country is in a state of war after returning from a remote camping trip. Without any training, the group decides to wage a guerilla war against the unknown enemy. Movie rated M.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
An imaginative kid, Max is sent is sent to bed without dinner after threatening to eat his mum. However, he escapes, at least in his mind. He runs away through a forest and boards a sailboat that heads straight to a mysterious island inhabited by Wild Things.Movie rated PG.
Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
Discover the classic children books featuring Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore in the Hundred-Acre Wood. This book series captures all their adventures and mishaps. Movie rated G.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
A young orphaned boy goes to live with his grandmother who tells him scary facts about witches. Movie rating M.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
After a tornado, Dorothy and her dog Toto are transported into another world where she accidentally lands on the Wicked Witch of the East. With a pair of ruby slippers, Dorothy embarks on an adventure-filled journey down a yellow brick road to Emerald City, where she hopes to find the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. No rating.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Based on the New York Times bestseller, this inspiring and heartwarming story follows August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters the fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. The book features great messages about bullying, friendship and the power of being kind. Movie rated PG.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
In this classic science fiction story, Meg is struggling with the mysterious disappearance of her scientist father. One evening, a group of three mysterious women, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, who take her, her brother and a friend through time and space. Movie rated PG.
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