I rather enjoy this Top Ten Tuesday meme, especially reading other people's responses. A meme is a chance to share a post with others posting on the same topic. This week I am trying: Top Ten Books that Would Make Great Movies. I was thinking as I began, I usually enjoy the books more than the movies! Isn’t it the worst when a great book becomes a mediocre movie?? I still think these books would be great on the big screen! As always, I have chosen to highlight children's and YA book characters.
Be sure to check out the other great Top Ten Tuesday Lists like mine.
In No Particular Order:
Top Ten Books that Would Make for Good Movies:
1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I loved this book with its complex characters, friendships, and loves. I also love the idea of a boarding school. I can just envision a mature but inexperienced Anna meeting her classmates! I would also love to see each of the famous places visited by Anna and her friends in Paris. I don’t know a lot about Paris, so for me, this would really enhance the book. Most of all, it would be great to see an actor portray St. Clair with his sensitive, exciting, and oh so charming personality. Even as an adult, I would enjoy that kind of movie, but I know teens would be into it for sure. I bet it would meet PG-13 standards of viewing.
2. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Much Like Anna and the French Kiss, I would enjoy this book because of the trek that Ginny takes across Europe. The characters are very colorful, the places are amazing to imagine, and both would be fun to see. I can imagine this movie with a voice-over narration from Ginny or maybe even from her Aunt Peg. In my mind, Collin Firth (swoon!) would play her uncle. The movie would be popular with teens and young adults. For the movie, I might make Ginny a bit older. Maybe 19 or 20. I might also up the romance a bit to increase the audience. This would put the book solidly in the PG-13 category.
3. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I chose this book because I think middle grade and elementary children deserve a wholesome movie with likable, believable, and adventurous characters. This book is 100% in the realistic fiction genre and would have audiences with each of the 4 ages of girls. Think of the adventures, trouble, and good clean fun of this book. I am sure this movie might not be a blockbuster, but it would be child centered and parent approved. I think this movie would easily pass for PG.
4. Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. This makes me smile because I could see this book being an awkwardly animated movie, just like the book. The hand-drawn look of the pages of the book would be a perfect way to tell the story of Origami Yoda, Tommy, Dwight, and each of the classmates featured in Angleberger’s book. Lovers of Star Wars would be an instant audience, as would lovers of underdog stories. Maybe this is a stretch for a movie, but I love the idea. Tween boys lack movies without weapons and fighting as well as movies that have important life themes like bullying, friendship, and social awkwardness. Movies for this age set rarely represent kids who are able solve problems and think creatively! A movie for the under 13 crowd equals a PG rating !
5. The Agency series by Y.S. Lee. This series features Victorian Spies, romance, and suspense. I would enjoy a beautiful costume movie with dark shadows, suspenseful music, very suggestive (but not over the top) romance, and great stories. I love the elegance of Downton Abbey and would see this as a suspenseful, undercover agent version. One book in the series even offers a story inside the Queen’s palace with the protagonist, Mary working as a maid. The books were mature and definitely of the YA variety with mentions of late night romps and Mary being a young lady, not really a teen. I would see this being offered as a PG-13 movie for teens and young adults.
6. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. This is a nearly 50 year old book. Wow! If you ever taught 2nd or 3rd grade or had a child in those grades you’ve probably met Flat Stanley. I personally love his story. He was crushed in a household accident but gained the ability to be folder up into an envelope and sent across the globe. Stanley visits friends and relatives, but in later books goes on many, many adventures. Kids love this book because they create their own Flat Stanleys to be traveled through the mail or on vacations. (Photos snapped and collected along the way!) Can you imagine, with today’s digital technology, being able to portray Stanley as a flat but personality filled child traveling across the globe? The thought makes me smile. I don’t know who could resist a movie like this for children of all ages and adults who read the book in the last 50 years. I easily could see this movie as being rated G.
7. Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow. I chose this book because there are not many historical fiction accounts of what happened in Berlin before and during WWII. This book looks at not only the war experiences of a teen jew in the months leading up to WWII, but also the cultural experiences of all teens and children in Nazi Germany. The scenes in the schools, the inclusion of a transsexual, the portrayal of ‘die Kristallnacht’, and the brutal realities of war all are tangible while reading, but would be very powerful in a movie as well. All set with a backdrop of a true German celebrity of Nazi Germany, boxer Max Schmeling. The inclusion of boxing, training, and fighting act as the perfect metaphor for German Jews, but would also lend to beautiful cinematography. Violence, Mature Content, and Language might lead this movie to be PG-13 or even R.
8. Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder. What I love about this book was the realistic fiction story with a small bit of fantasy. Rebecca finds a magical breadbox that will magically grant her wishes, as long as her wish can fit inside the breadbox. As a child, I always knew magic wasn’t real, but still hoped that I could have one little piece of magic, like this, for myself. The plot would easily play out on the big screen with family, friends, and neighbors all playing a part in Rebecca’s story. Children would enjoy this magical little story, but also would definitely learn from the tale. Things aren’t always what they seem when one person’s gain is another person’s loss. This movie would probably be PG given the child’s point of view in this story.
9. Travel Team/Summer Ball by Mike Lupica. Maybe I would just enjoy a Mike Lupica story turned into a movie because the stories are so good. Lupica is a talented writer having honed his skills through years and years of writing non-fiction, MG novels like these basketball books, and countless articles, commentaries, and features for the New York Daily News, not to mention his other work featured in magazines, newspapers, and websites. His storytelling is what I might like most about him though. He tells stories like he is creating something very personal and real. He sounds like he is speaking from experience (he is) and that means something to readers. A movie based on these 2 books would be received by children, parents, and sports lovers as a story with hope. Plus the cameos from a few star athletes would be nice for fans. The books are very cleanly written and would easily garner a PG rating.
10. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. To me Wonderstruck read like a movie. The black and white images flying through the book at a quick pace made me imagine an old cinema. Could you see this movie (ala Wizard of OZ) being filmed in either black and white or in color depending which part of the story is being told? I also think the black and white scenes could be silent? I love the idea! Connect this with the heartwarming story, amazing scenes in old theatres, mystical museums, and cold winters and you could have quite a magical experience. This movie would be PG for it’s not so scary or mature content.
Of course if you want to experience any of these ‘movies’, make sure you read the book with an active and creative imagination. Books are usually better than the movies anyway! Make sure you leave a comment and if you have a Top Ten Tuesday I will be sure to visit yours as well.