Books by Theme

Books and Movies

Movies and books go together like, well, like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, green eggs and ham! They're different but complementary, and can expand the storytelling, the author's vision, and the audience.

Comparing films and books is just right to get children (and adults) thinking critically. Does the film adaptation stay true to the book? What is gained or lost in the translation from book to film? Does the filmmaker see the characters as you — the reader/viewer — imagined them?

Don't let your reading stop with just one book. Look for other stories that deal with the same themes. And remember, even though a book may be appropriate for younger children, the film adaptation is sometimes more appropriate for older viewers.

Movie: Because of Winn-Dixie

By: 20th Century Fox
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

It's lonely when you move and meeting people can be really hard. But finding friends becomes easier for Opal with the help of a scruffy dog she names after the place where they meet — a Winn Dixie grocery store. Don't miss the original book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, just right for ages 6-9 alone or aloud. And be sure to meet other memorable dogs in these books:

Henry & Mudge: The First Book
by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
There are no other kids on Henry's block so his parents agree that a dog to play with will ease Henry's loneliness. This is the start of an unforgettable friendship between a boy and a big pooch named Mudge.

Where's Spot?
by Eric Hill
Where's the small spotted puppy named Spot? He's hiding, so lift the flap and see if he can be found! Young readers will enjoy looking for Spot in this colorful, interactive, and engaging book.

Movie: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

By: Disney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

CS Lewis' classic Narnia series, starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, explores themes of loyalty, good and evil, family ties and more though for more sophisticated readers (and viewers). Similar ideas can be found in magical books made to share with younger readers.

My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Gannett
Join Elmer Elevator as he travels to an island to save a baby dragon using quite ordinary things in unexpected ways. Awarded a Newbery Honor, this quirky, satisfying fantasy makes a fine read aloud (as do others by Ruth Gannett).

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
Max's temper gets him sent to his room where he takes a journey to the land of the Wild Things. There he regains control but wants to return to where he is loved best of all and so travels back into the night to his very own room.

Movie: Curious George

By: Universal
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Monkeys are known for their silly antics and few are as mischievous as George — whose curiosity is legendary! (Be sure you read the first Curious George by H.A. Rey.)

Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina
A traveling peddler takes a nap under a tree and wakes up to find his hats on the heads of monkeys on the branches overhead. How he retrieves his hats is real monkey business in this colorful, repetitious classic.

Good Night, Gorilla
by Peggy Rathman
When is a gorilla like Curious George? When he (and a parade of animals) follow the zookeeper home at bedtime — and snuggles in with the zookeeper's wife with very fast and funny results.

Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

By: Warner Brothers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

The story of the boy wizard who works to destroy evil grows more sophisticated as he goes through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. Harry's adventures begin with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Fantastic creatures can also be met in books more appealing to younger readers, many steeped in tradition.

The Little Green Witch
by Barbara McGrath, illustrated by Martha Alexander
The little green witch gets no help from her companions (a ghost, bat, and gremlin); that is until she brings a tasty pumpkin pie out of the oven! The small witch comes up with a satisfying and funny comeuppance for her uncooperative chums!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
A Commemorative Pop-Up

based on the novel by Frank Baum
Meet a very special wizard and other magical creatures on a journey to the Land of Oz with Dorothy and her companions. Their adventures literally come off the pages in this entirely fresh and refreshing version of Baum's classic novel (also made into a now-classic film).

Movie: Horton Hears a Who

By: 20th Century Fox
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Dr. Seuss' classic picture book about the stalwart elephant has been embellished and expanded for a rollicking film ride. Be sure to read Horton Hears a Who, the book that inspired this tale, then try these other books about unique friendships.

I Will Surprise My Friend
by Mo Willems
Like Frog and Toad, Piggie, a pig, and Gerald, the elephant, are the best of friends. In their latest adventure, the friends play together and surprise each other — in surprising and a gently humorous way.

Where Is My Friend?
by Simms Taback
Who are the animals' friends? Where are they? Lift the flap on these sturdy pages and find out in this colorful, study book in which friends are hidden!

Movie: Shrek

By: DreamWorks
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Everyone feels different sometimes, even someone who is not really all that different. But like Shrek and other characters from folktales, making one's own way can be the key to happiness! Be sure to read William Steig's picture book, Shrek! in which ugly takes on new meaning and wordplay abounds (for readers 3-6).

Babushka Baba Yaga
by Patricia Polacco
Baba Yaga, the feared but misunderstood witch who rules the forest, disguises herself so that she can experience the joys of a grandmother just like the village babushkas. Others learn that appearances and rumor are not the way to judge a person — even a witch.

Frog Prince Continued
by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Steve Johnson
Everyone knows that once the poor frog was turned into a handsome prince by a kiss, the royal duo lived happily ever after, right? Well, maybe not! Being a prince comes with its own special set of problems, revealed in this traditional tale…continued.

Movie: Toy Story

By: Pixar
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Have you ever thought about what happens to toys when you leave the room? Let your imagination soar with Woody and Buzz — and the toys you meet in books.

by Don Freeman
Corduroy, a teddy bear, comes to life to search for his lost button after the store closes. Though he doesn't find the button, he does find friendship in this enduring tale.

Corduroy is the selected book for the 2008 Read for the Record campaign. On October 2nd, join readers everywhere to break the world record for the largest shared reading experience!

My Toys/Mis Juguetes
by Rebecca Emberley
Though these toys don't come to life, the simple illustrations and words in two languages, show objects that young children will likely be familiar with while building vocabulary in English and Spanish.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

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