Books by Theme

From Book to Film

Books for young readers continue to be translated into films as they have been for decades. Like books, film can have lasting power. Just think of Judy Garland in movie version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The first film of the series of a boy wizard and his fight against evil came out in 1 and continues with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (released in July 9).

And there are more films from books on the way! Some of the books on this list are already available in movie form; others are on their way. While the books are all recommended, keep a critical eye out for the movie version to decide if they are appropriate — sometimes the characters and presentations are very different. What's most important is to share the experience together, whether it's reading the book, seeing the movie, or both!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Day with Wilbur Robinson

By: William Joyce
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

All families have their own way of doing things; sometimes some people consider these unique. But the Robinsons have a very unusual home and a very particular way about them. Humor abounds in the contrast between the text and illustrations for a memorable day. Be sure to see the film adaptation that came out in 2007.

Beezus and Ramona

By: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Having a four-year old sister like Ramona can be a real pain as 9-year old Beezus (aka Beatrice) knows all too well. Ramona likes to do things in her own often pesky, frequently funny, and always imaginative way. The movie version of the modern classic is due out in March 2010.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

By: Judi Barrett, Ron Barrett
Illustrated by: Ron Barrett
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Residents of Chewandswallow were accustomed to their predictable weather which kept them in juice and mashed potatoes (and more) three times a day. That is, until the weather took a strange turn; foods falling not only got larger, but so did the portions! This outrageous tale will be released as a film in September 2009.

Eloise in Paris

By: Kay Thompson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The precocious young resident of New York's Plaza Hotel is on her way to visit Paris in this installment of Eloise's adventures. Join Eloise as she prepares then travels to Paris for a special holiday brought to life in detailed illustrations and sophisticated language sure to tickle readers of all ages. Look for the movie version due out in 2010.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

By: Roald Dahl
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Though the farmers on the three neighboring farms are quite different, each raises some type of poultry, each is very mean and ornery, and each shares their dislike of foxes. Can one fox outwit them? Only a very special, indeed fantastic Mr. Fox can — and does! A movie version of the book, just right for reading aloud, is due out in November 2009.

Mary Poppins

By: P.L. Travers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Mary Poppins arrived at the house on Cherry Tree Lane, life became much different and more exciting. The unique nanny stayed only until the wind changed leaving the family with many happy memories. Some echoes of the film are evident, however, the book remains a read aloud classic that stands apart and is rather different.


By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Eleven year old Marty must decide whether or not to return an abused beagle to its rightful owner, an unkind man. His dilemma includes hiding the dog, Shiloh, telling his parents the truth, and more in this riveting, award-winning novel which is ideal to read aloud with slightly sophisticated listeners. It was adapted into a live action film in 2000.


By: William Steig
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Ugly ogre parents make an even uglier ogre son named Shrek. Of course Shrek seeks (on the back of a donkey) and finds a bride — an ogress even uglier than he! Enjoy the rich language used in the now 20-years-old and still-funny picture book that inspired a movie adaptation.

The Cat in the Hat

By: Dr. Seuss
Illustrated by: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When a tall cat in a striped top hat comes to call on two children one rainy afternoon while their mother is out, well, the silly fun is bound to become legendary. With its limited vocabulary, this is just right for newly independent readers. Be sure to see and sing along with the 1971 animated film version.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

By: C.S. Lewis
Illustrated by: C.S. Lewis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When siblings, Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund are sent away from London air-raids during World War II, they are placed with an old man in the country. There, they enter another time and place through an old wardrobe found by Lucy. This early installment in the Narnia Chronicles has been lovingly adapted into a sophisticated 2005 movie.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

By: Frank Baum
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

This beloved fantasy begins in Kansas when Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, are transported to another land by way of a cyclone. There she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion as well as a host of other extraordinary characters. The movie classic, released in 1939, retains the essence of this quintessentially American tale which was first published in 1900.

Where The Wild Things Are

By: Maurice Sendak
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Max's imaginative adventure begins the night he wears his wolf suit and makes some mischief. When he is sent to his room to cool off, he travels to the land of the Wild Things, where he is crowned king. This beloved Caldecott-winning classic is also available in Spanish.

Go on a reading adventure with Reading Rockets' Where the Wild Things Are family literacy bag, available in English and Spanish!

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Maria Salvadore
July 5, 2016

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio