Books, TV shows and movies are an easy, fun way for us to connect as a family. We love reading aloud together, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time, especially during the school year. When a great book or book series is also a movie or show, it gives a lot of options.
We may read together, in tandem, turn it on Audible at times or watch the show/movie together on a Saturday night. This allows us to enjoy it together with different ages and schedules.
My kids love watching a show or movie after they’ve read the books. If my older daughter, Charlotte, has read something on her own that she then wants to watch, we’ll often watch with the whole family, knowing Lily, my younger daughter will read it down the road if we haven’t had time to read it with her yet.
Here are nine books or book series that are also shows or movies that we’ve read or watched together in some form. I’d say the majority of these books make great read alouds or reads for middle grades with some of the movies being slightly older, as some of the fantasy movies can be scary. I’ve let you know below what works for ages in our house, but refer to Common Sense Media for the appropriate ages for shows and movies.
Also, I’d say no kids necessary for any of these books or movies! Most of these I’d read or watch on my own, so no kids, no problem!
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My husband, Chris, and daughter, Charlotte, read and watched the entire Harry Potter series, often reading together, and if she got ahead he’d catch up on Audible. It took three or four years. When they’d finish a book, they’d watch the movie. Lily, who’s now 8, listened in when they read aloud as she got older and enjoyed the first couple of movies until they got too scary. Lily and I have started reading the illustrated versions, which are great for younger kids.
Watch it: We bought the Harry Potter movie series a while back but now you can watch them all on HBO Max.
Ages: Wide range. If reading aloud, book 1 could be as early as Grade 1; reading on their own or movies grades 3 and up.
I saved all of my Babysitter’s Club books because I was obsessed, so was just a little excited when the girls started reading them. They may have if it hadn’t been for the graphic novels that came out a few years ago showed them that The Babysitter’s Club was still cool. And now, of course, the new Netflix series has pushed them over the edge to be just as obsessed as me. Since I’ve read these books multiple times, it’s fun to talk about them with the girls and decide who’s a Mary Ann, a Stacey, a Kristy (I’m think I’m a Kristy but want to be a Claudia). They watched ahead of me (more than once) but now I’ve been making them watch with me again.
Watch it: On Netflix
Ages: Grades 2 and up for the books and show
A Wrinkle in Time is a great classic book to read together as a family or for kids to read on their own and then have a family movie night. There’s a graphic novel version too if your kids prefer it. We all loved watching this movie together – anything with Oprah, Reese and Mindy was sure to be good!
Watch it: Disney +
Ages: Grades 2 and up for read aloud/movie, a little older for reading on their own
Another oldie but a goodie. The Little House on the Prairie series was one of my all-time favorites growing up. I loved learning about the time period and lifestyle in the different geographic areas, especially being from the Midwest. I’ve read some aloud to the girls, as has my mom, and now Charlotte has started reading them on their own. I was so excited to learn that the series that watched every day in the summers is now on Amazon Prime, so we’ve started watching that together too. If there’s little or no in person school this year, I want to thank Little House ahead for the babysitting hours.
Watch it: Amazon Prime
Ages: Grades 1 and up for read aloud/show, a little older for reading on their own
Charlotte read the Percy Jackson series in fourth grade, during a year when she and most kids in her class were devouring fantasy books. If you or your kids love fantasy, this is a great series to read together or watch the movies as a family after your kid has read. Similar to Harry Potter, these movies can be too scary for younger kids. Lily opted out.
Watch It: Disney +
Ages: Grade 4 and up
My girls love these Land of Stories books. Charlotte read them on her own in third grade and now I’m reading the first to Lily hoping she gets into it and reads the rest of the series. These are just books now, but the movie is coming out at some point (hopefully in the next year or two), which will be a major event for our family. Chris Colfer has also started a new series called A Tale of Magic, which we’re also really excited about.
Watch it: Movie coming soon
Ages: Grade 3 and up
So, this one’s a little different, as many have probably seen the Broadway musical or new film version on Disney + first, but I’d say if they love that, there are many books you can read as a family to keep the history lessons and conversations going.
- Who Was Alexander Hamilton (we adore these Who Was books!)
- Hamilton the Revolution (just got this and it’s a great behind-the-scenes look at the show)
- And for the super ambitious adults: Alexander Hamilton (the book that inspired the musical)
Watch it: Disney +
Ages: Grade 2 and up
Little Women is one of my favorite books and movies and I’m so happy to share this love with my girls. We’ve read parts together and separately, and have watched the movies together. While the new movie was great, we much prefer the 90s Winona Ryder version.
Watch it: Amazon Prime (90s version) and Hulu (2019 version)
Ages: Grade 4 and up (but my 2nd grader loved the movie)
His Dark Materials is a series for slightly older tweens and teens. While my oldest has started reading the first, Golden Compass, she prefers to read or listen with us, or watch the show. And my younger daughter enjoys watching the show too. While it’s suspenseful and a little more mature, I don’t find it to be too scary.
Watch it: HBO Max
Ages: Grade 5 and up
What else have you been reading/watching that allows you to connect with your family with both books and screens? If you have younger kids, save this post on Pinterest for down the road!