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Page to Screen: Best Kids’ Books Made Into Movies

Buzzworthy book adaptations we can’t wait to watch this year

Published on: May 26, 2022

Kids watching a movie in a theater with popcorn

Which is better: the book or the movie? While this may be a debate for the ages in some circles, we ask, why choose when you can enjoy both? And luckily for us, that always magical and usually very satisfying transformation of our favorite stories to screen is a filmmaking trend we won’t see ending anytime soon.

From classics that had never been adapted for film to imaginative new takes on film-friendly favorites, there are plenty of book-inspired movies coming our way in 2022. Such translations can be a great impetus to coax reluctant readers into picking up the book version. Will the book be even better? Guess they’ll have to read it to find out!

Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

Plot: In this coming-of-age tale that takes place in the Deep South in the 1950s, Kya is abandoned by her family at a young age and raises herself in the marshlands. Ostracized by the locals, she later becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a hometown hero.

Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones (as Kya), Garret Dillahunt, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson

Why we’re excited: “Where the Crawdads Sing” sold 12 million copies after it was catapulted to national attention as a popular book club choice by Reese Witherspoon in 2018. The screen adaptation (with Witherspoon as its producer) has been eagerly awaited by those who’ve read it.

Airing: July 2022 on Netflix

Ages: Teens+ 

‘DC League of Super-Pets’

Plot: Based on the illustrated early-reader chapter books published by Capstone Press, “DC League of Super-Pets” introduces us to Krypto the Super-Dog, Superman’s best friend. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, it’s up to Krypto and the Super-Pet crew to save them!

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Kate McKinnon, Keanu Reeves, Natasha Lyonne

Why we’re excited: Hilarious cast, awesome superheroes, cute pets— what more could we ask for in a summer family flick?

In theaters: July 2022

Ages: All

‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ by Carlo Collodi

Plot: There will be two Pinocchio tales released this year. Disney is along for the ride, releasing its live-action adaptation starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Disney will follow a storyline similar to that of its 1940 animated classic.

Starring: Tom Hanks (as Geppetto), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Jiminy Cricket), Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (as Pinocchio), Keegan-Michael Key, Cynthia Erivo

Why we’re excited: Those who love the 1940 animated film will appreciate Disney’s “traditional” version, and Tom Hanks as Geppetto is sure to be a hit.

Airing: September 2022 on Disney+

Ages: All 

‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ by Carlo Collodi

Plot: Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” hews to the original text of Collodi’s 1883 children’s novel. This stop-animation film aims to give a fresh perspective on Pinocchio’s character, focusing on his transformational journey, emotionally and physically.

Starring: Newcomer Gregory Mann (as Pinocchio), Ewan McGregor (as Jiminy Cricket), David Bradley (as Geppetto), Tilda Swinton (as the Turquoise Fairy), Cate Blanchett, John Turturro

Why we’re excited: Del Toro’s recent films, “The Shape of Water” and “Nightmare Alley,” make us excited to see his magic-realism take on the classic tale, especially with the incorporation of stop-animation artistry.

Airing: December 2022 on Netflix

Ages: Kids+ (Note: Tread lightly, as multiple sources call del Toro’s film a “darker version” of the classic story.) 

‘White Bird: A Wonder Story’ by R.J. Palacio

Plot: In “White Bird: A Wonder Story,” we learn more about Julian Albans, the infamous bully from Palacio’s book turned film “Wonder.” Julian’s grandmother (Sara) visits with him and shares her harrowing experiences as a young girl who was forced into hiding in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. With the help of a classmate who risked everything to help her survive, Sara learned the true value of kindness and empathy.

Starring: Helen Mirren, Ariella Glaser, Gillian Anderson

Why we’re excited: With connections to R.J. Palacio’s other books, “Wonder” and “Auggie & Me,” fans will be delighted to learn more about the character of Julian and his family’s backstory.

In theaters: October 2022

Ages: 10+ 

‘Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile’ by Bernard Waber

Plot: Lyle is a lovable crocodile living in the heart of New York City with the Pimm family. He’s happy and content, until a neighbor decides that Lyle belongs in the zoo! Will Lyle be able to win them over and stay with his family?

Starring: Shawn Mendes, Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Winslow Fegley

Why we’re excited: We love it when a children’s book classic comes to life! Originally written in 1965 by Bernard Waber, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” will be a welcome trip down memory lane for parents and offer kids a warm introduction to the endearing Lyle.

In theaters: Nov. 18, 2022

Ages: All 

‘Peter Pan’ by J.M. Barrie

Plot: Peter Pan is a boy who never wants to grow up, spending his perpetual childhood in Neverland with the Lost Boys, fighting Captain Hook and befriending other magical folk. In “Peter Pan & Wendy,” Peter visits the Darling family and introduces them to the wonders of Neverland, but the longer they stay, the harder it becomes to make it back home.

Starring: Jude Law (as Captain Hook), Alexander Molony (as Peter), Ever Anderson (as Wendy), Yara Shahidi (as Tinkerbell)

Why we’re excited: “Peter Pan & Wendy” will give viewers the Disney live-action remake they’ve been waiting for. With a star-studded cast, it’s sure to be a new family favorite that you can enjoy from the comfort of home.

Airing: Late 2022 on Disney+

Ages: All 

‘The School for Good and Evil’ by Soman Chainani

Plot: In the first book of Chainani’s middle-grade series, we meet Agatha and Sophie, both eagerly awaiting to be kidnapped by the School Master to become what they are meant to be: Sophie, a perfect princess; and Agatha, a classic villain. But when they arrive at the School of Good and Evil and their roles are reversed, things get complicated.

Starring: Sophia Anne Caruso (as Sophie), Sofia Wylie (as Agatha), Charlize Theron (as Lady Lesso), Michelle Yeoh (as Professor Anemone), Kerry Washington (as Professor Dove), Laurence Fishburne (as the School Master)

Why we’re excited: With twists and turns galore, amazing costumes and powerhouse acting, this fractured fairy tale promises something for everyone. This is the first installment of the six-book series, so fingers crossed, there will be a sequel or a few.

Airing: Late 2022 on Netflix

Ages: Tweens+ 

‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules’ by Jeff Kinney

Plot: Everyone’s favorite wimp is back! In the second installment of the animated film series, Greg Heffley starts a new school year with, of course, his brother Rodrick poking fun at him every chance he gets.

Starring: Brady Noon, Ethan William Childress, Chris Diamantopoulos

Why we’re excited: Readers of this well-loved series are given another big-screen adaptation that is sure to be a hit with the entire family.

Airing: 2022 on Disney+

Ages: 8+ 

"Little girl watching tv on a laptop, laughing and wearing pink headphones"

‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl

Plot: This new film adaptation penned by screenwriter Dennis Kelly is based on the musical inspired by the globally beloved Roald Dahl tale. Matilda is a brilliant little girl, but her family just doesn’t get her. With imagination, smarts and courage in spades, Matilda finds a way to transform her life — and those around her — for the better.

Starring: Emma Thompson (as Miss Trunchbull), Alisha Weir (as Matilda), Lashana Lynch (as Miss Honey) Why we’re excited: If you missed the Tony-nominated Broadway show, this is your lucky day!

Airing: December 2022 on Netflix

Ages: 8+ 

‘High in the Clouds’ by Paul McCartney

Plot: After their forest home is destroyed by evil machines, Wirral the squirrel and friends go on an epic journey to find a new home, saving other animals along the way.

Why we’re excited: This animated film is based on the picture book by Paul McCartney. It invites even the youngest readers to have hope and overcome obstacles in their path.

Airing: Late 2022 on Netflix

Ages: All 

‘The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents’ by Terry Pratchett

Plot: Based on a story by British author Terry Pratchett, “The Amazing Maurice” follows a street-smart cat on a journey to make money — even if gaining it means managing a group of rats.

Starring: Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Hugh Bonneville, David Tennant

Why we’re excited: This “Pied Piper”–inspired film is sure to win hearts and bring joy to animal lovers.

In theaters: January 2023

Ages: All

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