Monday, June 27, 2011

List of the Week (#1): Book-based Movies

Aaah, book-based movies...

Every week at the box office, there is yet another book being converted into film--especially young adult and middle grade books (Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Wimpy Kid series, etc.). In fact, a book's chances at publication seem to rely more and more on its potential to be adapted into film, and I'm guessing that many YA and middle-grade writers are aware of/influenced by this as they write. I can't say that I am a fan of all these book-based (often loosely book-based...) movies out there, but there are definitely some that hold a lace in my heart, so...I present a list of my top ten favorite YA/middle grade literature-based films. You may wonder about some of the obvious omissions, so I am also presenting a list of book-based movies I have not yet seen but want to:

My favorites:

10) Speak (book by Laurie Halse Anderson)
This is an excellent book and this film version does it justice. It stars Kristen Stewart long before the days of Twilight.

9) The Outsiders (book by S.E. Hinton)
A classic. Even though it's set in the 1950s, this story about gang tension and social class is still very relevant today.

8) The Secret Garden (book by Frances Hodgson Burnett)
I loved this movie version when I was a kid. It is hopeful but, at the same time, doesn't shy away from the darker side of the story (the death of Mary's parents, illness, etc.).

7) Little Women (book by Lousia May Alcott)
Be sure to have plenty of tissues on hand--both the movie and the book are tear-jerkers.

6) Where the Wild Things Are (book by Maurice Sendack)
This book is all about the power of the imagination and that is exactly what the movie version celebrates as well.

5) The Witches (book by Roald Dahl)
This 1990 movie version really creeped me out when I was a kid. But I think that is exactly what Roald Dahl would have wanted.

4) Fantastic Mr. Fox (book by Roald Dahl)
Yes, this is another Roald Dahl classic, but this film version could not be more different from The Witches. It's a quirky claymation version of one of Dahl's shortest stories. Wes Anderson definitely put his own twist on the story, but it's fun to see how much one short book can inspire someone.

3) Of Mice and Men (book by John Steinbeck)
OK, so this isn't exactly "young adult" fiction, but most people I know encountered this book for the first time around 8th or 9th grade. This film version is moving and does great honor to Steinbeck's classic.

2) The Wizard of Oz (book by L. Frank Baum)
Sitting down in front of this movie is like taking a sip of hot chocolate during a winter storm. It just makes you feel good.

1) To Kill a Mockingbird (book by Harper Lee)
Beautiful book. Beautiful movie. I hope they never remake it because it is just so perfect the way it is.

And here are the ones I haven't yet seen, but want to:
1) Lord of the Flies (book by William Golding)
2) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (books by Bryan Lee O'Malley)
3) The Golden Compass (book by Phillip Pulman)
4) Diary of a Wimpy Kid (book by Jeff Kinney)
6) I Am Number Four (book by Pittacus Lore)
7) The Black Cauldron (based on Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander)
8) The Devil's Arithmetic (book by Jane Yolen)
9) Alice in Wonderland (book by Lewis Carroll)
10) Flipped (book by Wendelin Van Draanen)
11) Because of Winn-Dixie (book by Kate DiCamillo)
12) The Tale of Despereaux (book by Kate DiCamillo)
13) Millions (book by Frank Cottrell Boyce)
14) War Horse (book by Michael Morpurgo)
15) Twilight (book by Stephanie Meyer)

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