The 12 Best Kids Movies Based on Books

There’s something magical about the journey from page to screen, especially when it comes to children’s stories. The power of imagination is brought to life, allowing kids and adults alike to experience the wonder of their favorite books in a whole new way. In this article, we present the top 10 kids movies based on books, showcasing the classics, magical adventures, and animated adaptations that have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

The 12 Best Kids Movies Based on Books

Classic Children’s Books Turned into Movies

Many treasured children’s books have been transformed into unforgettable movies over the years. These adaptations carry the essence of the original story while often adding their unique interpretations and twists. Let’s dive into some of the most beloved adaptations of all time.

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web (Trophy Newbery)

E.B. White’s iconic tale of friendship and selflessness, “Charlotte’s Web” has touched generations of readers. The 1973 animated film adaptation of the book brought the charming characters to life, with Debbie Reynolds voicing the wise spider Charlotte. Decades later, a 2006 live-action version featured Dakota Fanning as Fern and Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte, once again capturing the hearts of audiences with its timeless story.

One of the most fascinating aspects of “Charlotte’s Web” is the way it explores the themes of life and death. While the story is primarily focused on the friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte, it also delves into the cycle of life and the inevitability of death. The book and its adaptations teach children about the beauty of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

The Secret Garden

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Originally written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, “The Secret Garden” tells the story of young Mary Lennox, who discovers an enchanting hidden garden after being sent to live with her uncle. The 1993 film adaptation maintains the novel’s sense of wonder, with beautiful cinematography that transports the audience to the magical garden. More recently, a 2020 adaptation brought a fresh, modern approach to this classic story, introducing it to a new generation.

“The Secret Garden” is a story about the power of nature and the healing properties of the outdoors. Mary’s journey to the secret garden not only transforms the garden but also transforms her. The story teaches children about the importance of connecting with nature and the positive impact it can have on our mental and emotional well-being.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

Based on the beloved series by C.S. Lewis, “The Chronicles of Narnia” films transport viewers to the enchanting world of Narnia, where four siblings embark on grand adventures. The movies, starting with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” in 2005, captivate viewers with their stunning visuals and compelling storylines that explore themes of courage, destiny, and the power of friendship.

“The Chronicles of Narnia” is a series that teaches children about the importance of standing up for what is right and the value of true friendship. The characters in the books and movies face incredible challenges but always come out on top because of their unwavering loyalty to each other and their commitment to doing what is right.

Overall, these adaptations are a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring appeal of classic children’s books. They continue to captivate audiences young and old, reminding us of the timeless lessons and values that they impart.

Magical Adventures on the Big Screen

Some books whisk readers away to magical worlds full of awe-inspiring adventures, and these stories often translate beautifully to the big screen. Here, we highlight three successful adaptations that have left viewers spellbound.

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (1-7)

J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series about a young wizard and his friends quickly became a global phenomenon, and the film adaptations did not disappoint. From 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” to 2011’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the movies enchanted audiences of all ages, immersing them in a fantastical world filled with magic, friendship, and heroic endeavors.

The Harry Potter series has become a cultural phenomenon, with fans all over the world eagerly waiting for each new book and movie release. The movies brought the magical world of Hogwarts to life, with stunning visual effects and a talented cast of actors. The series also tackled important themes such as love, loss, and the power of friendship, making it a beloved classic for generations to come.

The Golden Compass

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1)

Based on the first novel of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, “The Golden Compass” takes viewers on a thrilling adventure with young Lyra Belacqua as she uncovers a sinister plot and explores parallel worlds. The 2007 movie adaptation featured a star-studded cast, including Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, and received praise for its special effects and faithful retelling of the book’s imaginative story.

The Golden Compass is a thought-provoking story that explores complex themes such as religion, power, and free will. The movie adaptation captured the essence of the book, bringing its richly detailed world to life with stunning visuals and a talented cast. The film’s success paved the way for a television adaptation of the entire trilogy, which has received critical acclaim for its faithful and nuanced portrayal of the source material.



Roland Dahl’s tale of friendship between a curious girl and a giant, “The BFG,” was lovingly brought to the screen by renowned director Steven Spielberg in 2016. The film’s creative use of CGI and motion capture technology allowed The BFG, played by Mark Rylance, to interact seamlessly with young Sophie, portrayed by Ruby Barnhill. This adaptation resonated with audiences, capturing the whimsy and heart of the original story.

The BFG is a heartwarming tale that celebrates the power of friendship and imagination. The movie adaptation brought Dahl’s beloved characters to life with stunning visuals and a talented cast. The film’s use of technology was particularly impressive, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves in the magical world of giants and dreams.

In conclusion, these three adaptations are shining examples of how books can be successfully translated to the big screen. They capture the magic and wonder of their source material, while also standing on their own as great works of cinema. These movies have enchanted audiences of all ages, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Animated Adaptations of Beloved Books

Animation offers the perfect medium for bringing children’s books to life on the screen, allowing for endless creativity and visual flair. The following movies showcase the effectiveness of animation in adapting these treasured stories.

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories is beautifully adapted in Disney’s 1967 animated classic “The Jungle Book.” With unforgettable characters like Baloo, Bagheera, and Mowgli, the film’s lively songs and animation have delighted generations. In 2016, a live-action/CGI reimagining directed by Jon Favreau brought a more realistic, yet equally captivating, version of the story to audiences.

Aside from its stunning animation and memorable characters, “The Jungle Book” also explores themes of family, identity, and the balance between nature and civilization. The film’s lush jungle setting is brought to life with vibrant colors and intricate details, making it a visual feast for the eyes. Additionally, the film’s soundtrack, featuring classics like “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You,” has become iconic in its own right.

The Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Classic Seuss)

Dr. Seuss’s furry green character has had multiple adaptations since the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” story was published. The 1966 animated television special remains a holiday classic, while Jim Carrey’s 2000 live-action portrayal and the 2018 animated film from Illumination Entertainment further expanded the Grinch’s tale, becoming holiday favorites in their own right.

What makes the Grinch such a beloved character is his journey from a grumpy, isolated creature to a kind and caring member of his community. Each adaptation puts its own spin on this story, but all share the heartwarming message of the power of love and kindness. The 2018 animated film, in particular, adds a new layer to the story by exploring the Grinch’s backstory and giving him a more relatable motivation for his actions.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Judi Barrett’s imaginative picture book about food falling from the sky was transformed into a delightful animated film in 2009. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” used the story’s core concept as a starting point to create an original narrative full of humor, adventure, and mouthwatering animated food, appealing to both children and adults.

What sets “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” apart from other animated adaptations is its zany sense of humor and off-the-wall creativity. The film takes the concept of food falling from the sky and runs with it, creating a world where giant pancakes and spaghetti tornadoes are the norm. The film’s protagonist, Flint Lockwood, is a lovable inventor whose inventions often go awry, leading to hilarious and unexpected consequences.

Overall, these animated adaptations prove that books can be brought to life in exciting and imaginative ways on the big screen. Whether it’s through stunning animation, memorable characters, or heartwarming messages, these films have captured the hearts of audiences young and old.

Honorable Mentions

While there are countless fantastic children’s book adaptations, a few more deserve a special mention for their unique and memorable contributions to the world of cinema.


Matilda (Puffin Modern Classics)

Roland Dahl’s story of a gifted young girl with telekinetic powers was brought to life in the 1996 film directed by Danny DeVito. “Matilda” remains a fan favorite, with a powerful message of resilience, the importance of kindness, and the belief that anyone can create their own destiny.

The film adaptation of “Matilda” was a huge success, grossing over $33 million worldwide. Audiences were charmed by the young Mara Wilson, who played the titular character with wit and charm. DeVito’s direction captured the whimsical and fantastical elements of Dahl’s story, while also grounding it in a sense of reality that made it all the more relatable. “Matilda” has since become a beloved classic, inspiring generations of young readers and movie-goers alike.

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson’s powerful tale of friendship, loss, and the power of imagination was poignantly adapted in the 2007 film starring Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb. “Bridge to Terabithia” tackles heavy themes with grace, making it an unforgettable and resonant film for young audiences.

The film adaptation of “Bridge to Terabithia” was praised for its sensitive handling of difficult subject matter. Hutcherson and Robb delivered nuanced performances that captured the complex emotions of their characters, while the film’s stunning visuals brought the magical world of Terabithia to life. “Bridge to Terabithia” is a testament to the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit, making it a must-see for viewers of all ages.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless novella has been adapted into various forms over the years, most notably in the stunning 2015 animated film. Using a mix of stop-motion and CGI animation, “The Little Prince” weaves an original tale that stays true to the book’s themes of love, friendship, and the beauty of the imagination.

The film adaptation of “The Little Prince” was a visual feast, with its gorgeous animation and stunning art direction. The story, which follows a young girl as she discovers the magic of the titular character’s world, was both heartwarming and thought-provoking. The film’s themes of creativity, imagination, and the importance of human connection resonated with audiences of all ages, making it a modern classic in its own right.


In conclusion, these classic, magical, and animated adaptations of children’s books have left lasting impressions on viewers of all ages, showcasing the power of storytelling and imagination. So grab some popcorn, gather the family, and dive into the enchanting worlds of these beloved kids movies based on books. Happy watching!


What are the most famous kids’ films based on books?

Roald Dahl’s children’s books such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG are some of the most famous books that have been adapted into high-grossing kids’ movies.

Is Narnia based on a novel?

C.S. Lewis wrote 7 novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series and these were the stories that inspired the 3 Narnia film adaptations.

What are the most famous children’s movies based on books?

Matilda, Mary Poppins, Coraline, Bridge to Terabithia, Harry Potter, The NeverEnding Story, and The Chronicles of Narnia are all included in the list of the most popular book-based children’s films.

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Eddison Monroe
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