Movies are more than just entertainment. With the influx of movies based on popular children's books, the opportunity for learning and family time has increased. This popular movie genre provides families with the opportunity to discuss and think about important topics and different views.
Books and their movies have the power to affect lives. It helps children and adults alike to explore different ways of life, see other perspectives and contemplate tough questions. Here are several books-turned-movies that can create teaching moments in your family:
Lois Lowry's book, "The Giver," was recently adapted into a movie. This captivating story shows what would happen if everyone was treated the same. Major differences are eliminated. Emotions are removed from society. There are no wars or pain, but other powerful positive emotions, like love, are also gone. What would life be like? Would you like it better or worse than life as we know it? What if you were given the opportunity to change things and bring all emotions, differences, pains and pleasures back for everyone? Would you? Why or why not? Jonas is faced with this very decision as he, the Receiver of Memory, begins to understand what life was like before choices, pain, differences and love were eliminated from life.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" first hit theaters as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" with a more recent remake under the book's title. Both explore the possible pitfalls of human tendencies. Possible family discussion points are greed, selfishness, over-indulgence, honesty, over-indulgence, bad parenting and how being a kind person is the best option.
Another Roald Dahl story, "Matilda," explores the possibilities of living up to your full potential and overcoming adversity. Discuss the traits of the different characters. Which are good traits? Which are bad? Why is it better to live honestly? How can you overcome hardships in your life?
The "Harry Potter" series
The popular 7-book series by J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter," has turned into 8 popular motion pictures. Though these books have been controversial due to topics such as witchcraft and wizardry, there are lots of talking points presented in the story lines. Discussions can include the meaning of friendships, good vs. evil, persevering, the need to keep learning, finding strength in hard times and the death of loved ones.
"The NeverEnding Story"
This book-turned-movie by Michael Ende has several lessons within, though the movie deviates from the book. "The NeverEnding Story" explores topics such as bullying, believing in yourself, courage, bravery and overcoming fears.
"The Wizard of Oz"
L. Frank Baum's book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," is a bit different from the movie, but many of the themes are the same. Children can learn about achieving goals, courage, problem-solving, friendship, cooperation, helping others and believing in oneself.
The book, "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White has both an animated and a motion picture version to claim. Lessons to be learned include caring for others, diversity in friendship, believing in oneself, self-esteem building and confidence.
Popular children's author, Dr. Seuss, is known for making statements about society in general. In "The Lorax," good discussions can develop on being environmentally conscious and promoting community involvement.
This movie adaptation has more than catchy tunes and dances. The book by P. L. Travers encourages creativity and imagination while still obeying rules. Parents are also taught to allow kids to be kids and to spend quality time with their children. Love and family are also important themes that can be talked about.
This movie, created after the fantasy children's book by Natalie Babbitt, can bring discussions about the importance of family and the effects of immortality. If you could live forever, would you? What are some pros and cons of being immortal? Why do you think people want to live forever?
Whether it's a family movie night or a summer book club, there are many messages that can teach valuable life lessons. Try reading the book together first and then watch the movie as a family. Compare the two and find the similarities and differences. Discuss which you liked better. Take this time together to teach values, life lessons and to help your children become thinkers.