27 Kids’ Books That Became Major Movies

From Harry Potter to Paper Towns

The young adult book-to-movie adaptation trend is anything but new. As John Green’s Paper Towns hits theaters Friday, check out some of the best books that went from page to screen.

  • Harry Potter

    harry potter
    Warner Bros.

    The seven Harry Potter books were adapted into eight movies, kicking off the trend of splitting a series’ final book into two films. The final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, raked in more than $1.3 billion worldwide.

  • The Fault in Our Stars

    A Fault In Our Stars
    James Bridges—20th Century Fox

    John Green’s first book to head to theaters captured audiences with the love story of Augustus and Hazel, two terminally ill teenagers who taught readers and viewers that a short life can still be a good life.

  • Paper Towns

    20th Century Fox

    Green’s second book to be adapted, by the same screenwriters who took Fault to the movies, follows Quentin as he tries to track down Margo Roth Spiegelman, his elusive crush who goes missing after the two spend a night together pranking their high school classmates.

  • The Spectacular Now

    Andrew Lauren Productions

    Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, earned Sundance buzz in 2013 thanks to Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller’s on-screen chemistry and the film’s realistic portrayal of teenage tragedy.

  • The Book Thief

    the book thief
    Jules Heath—20th Century Fox

    Markus Zusak’s 2005 novel of the same name told the story of Liesel Meminger, who witnesses the horrors of the Nazis and learns to read from the Jewish man her foster parents are hiding in their basement.

  • The Hunger Games

    hunger games mockingjay part 2
    Color Force

    Suzanne Collins’ trilogy hit bookshelves in 2008 and catapulted to box office success in 2012 when Jennifer Lawrence took on the role of Katniss Everdeen, who fights against a totalitarian government in a dystopian society.

  • If I Stay

    if i stay
    Doane Gregory—Warner Bros.

    Chloe Grace Moretz starred as Mia in the 2014 adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2010 novel about a 17-year-old girl who watches herself in a coma after her family is in a fatal car accident.

  • Holes

    Walt Disney Pictures

    Louis Sachar wrote the screenplay for the movie based on his 1998 novel about a young boy named Stanley Yelnats who attends a juvenile detention camp with a secret history.

  • Matilda

    Francois Duhamel—Tristar Pictures Inc.

    Roald Dahl’s 1988 book hit theaters eight years after publication, starring Mara Wilson, Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito, who also directed and narrated the movie.

  • The Outsiders

    Warner Bros.

    S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel about Ponyboy Curtis and the gangs of his hometown was published went the author was just 18 years old. The 1983 adaptation starred Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze.

  • The Giver

    the giver
    David Bloomer—The Weinstein Company

    Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel is an early example of young adult fiction tackling dystopian themes. Despite being optioned for the screen in 1995, it took five screenplays and nearly 20 years before the 2014 film, starring Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Taylor Swift, finally hit theaters.

  • Little Women

    Columbia Pictures

    Louisa May Alcott’s novel, published in two parts in the 1860s, follows four sisters from childhood to adulthood. It’s been adapted six times total, twice as silent versions. The most recent, out in 1994, starred Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale and Claire Danes.

  • The Hobbit

    New Line Cinema

    J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel was adapted as a trilogy, starting in 2012 with An Unexpected Journey. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson concluded Bilbo Baggins’ saga with The Desolation of Smaug in 2013 and The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014.

  • The Lord of the Rings

    Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King
    Pierre Vinet—Wingnut Films

    Tolkien’s three-part follow up to The Hobbit was adapted in 2001, 2002 and 2003, with the final film, The Return of the King, winning all of its 11 Academy Award nominations, including Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

  • The Wizard of Oz

    the wizard of oz

    L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900 and became wildly popular thanks to the 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. Though it lost out to Gone with the Wind for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it did win Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.”

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

    Walt Disney Pictures

    The 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll has graced the silver screen more than 10 times, most recently in 2010 when director Tim Burton retold Alice’s story as a 19-year-old who returns to the fantasy land from her childhood to dethrone the Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

  • Harriet the Spy

    harriet the spy
    Nickelodeon Movies

    Michelle Trachtenberg starred in the 1996 film adaptation of Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 novel about an 11-year-old girl whose notebook is stolen by classmates, revealing every honest thought she has about her peers.

  • The Princess Bride

    20th Century Fox

    The 1972 fantasy novel is often forgotten as a book, thanks in part to the eminently quotable 1987 cult classic starring Robin Wright and Mandy Patinkin.

  • Ender’s Game

    Chartoff Productions

    Orson Scott Card served as a producer for the 2013 film based on his 1986 sci-fi book about the gifted Ender Wiggin, a child being trained to fight an alien species.

  • Hugo

    Jaap Buitendijk—GK Films

    Martin Scorsese adapted Brian Selznick’s 2007 illustrated novel into the 2011 Academy Award-winning film Hugo, which starred Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Richard Griffiths.

  • Divergent

    Jaap Buitendijk—Summit Entertainment

    Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy was first published in 2011 and then adapted into an ongoing four-part film series in 2014. Shailene Woodley stars as heroine Tris Prior, who, like other protagonists in similar dystopian novels, fights against an oppressive government.

  • Twilight

    Summit Entertainment

    Stephenie Meyer’s vampire-romance saga was adapted into a series of five films starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, grossing more than $3 billion worldwide.

  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    Warner Bros.

    Ann Brashares’ series about an ordinary pair of pants that magically fits four very different girls was adapted into two films starring Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera and Amber Tamblyn. The movies also inspired real-life friendships between the actresses, which they’ve documented on social media.

  • The Princess Diaries

    Walt Disney Pictures

    Meg Cabot’s 2000 novel was adapted into a movie in 2001 that was produced by Whitney Houston. The film, which starred Julie Andrews and a young Anne Hathaway, even spawned a sequel.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Summit Entertainment

    Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the 2012 film version of his 1990 book that follows Charlie through his turbulent freshman year of high school. The film starred Emma Watson in one of her first post-Harry Potter leading roles.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team