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Read it, watch it, discuss it! Bonding over books and movies. PART ONE.

Tell me, what’s better than snuggling on a couch with the kids and a favourite book?  Maybe snuggling on a couch together to watch that book on film?  Or seeing that book performed live on stage?  Okay, I can’t choose.  So, why not have it all? Why not kick up my parent-kids book club a notch?  Eureka!  My mother-kids filmlit club was born. What I call a “book club” is really just my tween and I reading a book and going on a date to discuss, as you may recall. So far, we have read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Help”. Yes, we did also watch the films and we did have a great discussion about both the books and the movies over dinner. Our most heated discussion was comparing the film adaptation of The Help with the book. (More on that later!)


Book-film pairing works well with adults and kids for several reasons. 1- For reluctant readers, it’s a great motivator. The film becomes the prize for finishing the book, and gives that little extra push.  I’m not just talking about kids here.  2- Comparison broadens the experience. Film adaptations are rarely faithful to the book, and a comparison forces readers to examine key elements in the book more closely.  Pieces that may have seemed irrelevant while they were reading, suddenly become important when they are left out of the movie.  3- There’s so much more to discuss! Did the movie live up to the book?  Did the book live up to the movie?  Does the movie need to be faithful to the book, or is artistic freedom permissible?  Was your favourite character in the book also your favourite character in the movie?  I could go on and on.  4- More snuggle time!

It’s not just for tweens! A friend from college intentionally selects books to watch on film, and her kids are only eight.  As long as it’s not a book about Alvin and the Chipmunks, I’m in!  I will also be featuring some great selections for adults and younger kids in this series. They will not leave you wanting to gouge your eyes out or to wear ear plugs, I promise!


We’re off to see, read, and discuss the Wizard! That’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, written in 1900, and made into a movie in 1939. Although the film is far better known to many than the book, Baum’s classic is a little gem.


The language is accessible for younger readers aged 8 and up, especially if read aloud.  I found the experience of encountering the characters I knew so well from film entirely different.  Somehow, I felt a closer to connection to Dorothy in the book, and the characters seem to have a little more depth.  The Wicked Witch does not even make much of an appearance in the book, but her presence is so terrifying on film. There are many other differences between the film and the book that would be interesting to discuss. Famously, the ruby slippers are actually silver in the book.  I cannot wait to discuss this with my kids!

As a holiday bonus,  we are off to see The Wizard of Oz on stage with Alberta Theatre Productions. Don’t miss this opportunity for a triple (pairing?) if you’re in the Calgary area.

ATP poster

Stay tuned for more great book and film pairings to warm up your winter days!

Feel free to comment with your recommendations.  We would all appreciate the extra advice and resources.


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