professornana (professornana) wrote,

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See the movie? Read the book?

There is a meme that appears periodically on Facebook. It reads, "Never judge a book by its movie." Recently, the big push has been to read books BEFORE they hit the big screen. There are several children's and YA books coming to the theater this year. Here is a link to the list of 65 titles: Among the books-to-movies are some favorites: THE FIFTH WAVE, ELEANOR AND PARK, A MONSTER CALLS, and LOOKING FOR ALASKA. I will, more than likely, avoid any of the movies made from books. They are generally a huge disappointment. I have seen only a handful of movies that stayed true to their stories. And the marketing?! Let's just market this book as another teen angst movie or another dystopia filled with action and adventure. People who assess the value of a book based on its movie are missing something important--reading the book itself.

While I will avoid the films, though, does not mean I will not encourage kids to see the movie. There is ample research to demonstrate that seeing the movie often leads to reading the book on which the movie is based. Livaudais' research from the 1980s replicated by Giles about a decade ago concur. Middle and high school students find seeing the movie before they read motivational. Younger kids are a tad different: they want to read the book before they see the movie. So, since the BFG and THE JUNGLE BOOK are coming to the theater, maybe it is time to dust off those books and share them with kids.

For me, a good book plays out like a movie in my mind as I read. I picture those main characters. I watch as events unfold. I mentally cover my mind's eyes when something scary seems to be approaching. I laugh. I cry. I wince. I become angry. The book is real to me as I read, as real as if I were watching a movie. So, I will dive into another book, one that defies being converted to a movie.
Tags: books, movies

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