August 25, 2014

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Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film Adaptations

standard oz Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsThe search for the next big film franchise usually begins with a beloved book or series, if the 85th Academy Awards is any indication. If you watched the ceremony on February 26, you might have noticed a trend: of the nine films nominated in the Best Film category, six were based on a book or other previously published work. That, combined with the ongoing popularity and success of movies adapted from great children’s literature (including Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and the recent Beautiful Creatures), has film producers continually eyeing the publishing world for inspiration.

In fact, 2013 already promises a packed calendar of book-related film projects based on popular kid and young adult titles. Check out this roundup of releases that will have your students and patrons heading to the theater—and, hopefully, to bookshelves as well.

Coming Soon

The following adaptations, in order of release date, will be debuting in movie theaters in the coming weeks and months.

Oz the Great and Powerful (PG), starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis, opens in theaters everywhere on March 8. Directed by Spiderman trilogy master Sam Raimi, it’s inspired by Frank L. Baum’s classic, The Wizard of Oz.

Hoping to replicate the Twilight saga’s runaway success, the film version (PG-13) of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (Little, Brown, 2008), which chronicles the tale of Melanie Stryder’s (Saoirse Ronan) struggle against a parasitic alien that wants to use her to destroy humanity, premieres March 29.

The Roaring Twenties come to life in Baz Lurhmann’s dizzying adaptation (PG) of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. On May 10, moviegoers will watch a star-studded cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan), and Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway). Though not a children’s book, it’s certainly a high school curriculum favorite.

percy Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsLogan Lerman, fresh off his leading role in Perks of Being a Wallflower, steps back into demigod shoes on August 16 in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the sequel to Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief, both based on Rick Riordan’s bestselling series.

The first title in Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” series, City of Bones (S & S, 2007), will be making its way to the big screen on August 23. Lily Collins portrays Clary Fray, a teen from New York City who discovers the secret world of Shadowhunters (super-powered half-angels) when her mother (Lena Headey) is kidnapped by a demon.

The Seventh Son will be coming to theaters on October 18. This dark fantasy is based on the first installment of Joseph Delaney’s “Wardstone Chronicles” (HarperCollins), The Spook’s Apprentice. Ben Barnes plays the title character, and Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore also star.

Sci-fi classic Ender’s Game (St. Martin’s Pr., 1985) by Orson Scott Card will finally be getting the film treatment in this November 1 release. Asa Butterfield, the movie’s star who has been in several book adaptations (Hugo Cabret, Boy in the Striped Pajamas), portrays a military child genius who must save the world from evil aliens. Gavin Hood is both the director and screenwriter. The cast also includes Abigail Breslin (Valentine Wiggin0, Hailee Steinfeld (Petra Arkanian), Harrison Ford (Colonel Hyrum Graff), and Sir Ben Kingsley (Mazer Rackham). Not originally published as a YA novel, it has an avid teen following.

In the Pipeline

Below are several book-to-movie adaptations, scheduled to hit theaters next year, for which fans are already anxiously waiting.

divergent Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsThe Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009) by James Dashner is set for a February 14, 2014, release date; the film will be directed by Wes Bell.

Vampire Academy (Penguin/Razorbill, 2007) by Richelle Meade is also set for a February 14, 2014 release; the film adaptation, called Blood Sisters, will be directed by Mark Waters from a screen play by Daniel Waters. It will star Zooey Deutch (Rose Hathaway), Lucy Fry (Princess Lissa), and Danila Kozlovsky (Dimitri).

Divergent (HarperCollins, 2011) by Veronica Roth will be released on March 21, 2014, directed by Neil Burger from a screenplay by Evan Daugherty. It reportedly will star Shailene Woodley (Tris) and Kate Winslet.

Building Buzz

Faultinourstars Odyssey Award  198x300 Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsSeveral more adaptations have just been announced in recent weeks, although firm details about those projects are continuing to unfold.

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) will be produced by Fox 2000 and directed by Josh Boone from a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. It reportedly will star either Shailene Woodley or Hailee Steinfeld.

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay (Dutton, 2009) will be produced by Summit Entertainment and directed by RJ Cutler. It will star Chloë Moretz (Mia).

Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief (Knopf, 2006) will be produced by Karen Rosenfelt at Fox 2000 and directed by Brian Percival. It will star Sophie Nélisse (Liesel), Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson (foster parents), Ben Schnetzer (Max), and Nico Liersch.

A live-action adaptation of John Rocco’s Blackout (Hyperion/Disney, 2011) will be produced by John Rocco and Ivana Schecter-Garcia at Fox 2000. Will Davies is writing the screenplay. A director has not yet been named.

A new version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden will be produced by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Johnson from a screenplay by Lucy Alibar. It will be reportedly set in the American Southwest. A director has not yet been named.

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008) will be produced by Disney and directed by Ron Howard.

the giver Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsLois Lowry’s The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1992) will be produced by Nikki Silver and reportedly directed by Phillip Noyce. It is set to star Jeff Bridges (The Giver).

Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood (Tor Teen, 2011) will be produced by Stephenie Meyer for Fickle Fish.

Not Yet Published

Several film adaptations are reportedly in the works for as-yet unpublished works.

An adaptation of Margaret Stohl’s Icons (Little, Brown, 2013) will be produced by Alcon Entertainment from a screenplay by Massy Tadjedin. A director has not yet been named.

The film version of Josin L. McQuein’s Arclight (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2013) will be produced by Universal Pictures/Imagine Entertainment from a screenplay by Matthew Sand. A director has not yet been named.

Meanwhile, on the Small Screen

Film producers aren’t the only ones mining the bookshelf for great ideas. Television network Nick Jr. has already premiered its new CG-animated series The Tales of Peter Rabbit on February 19; it follows the adventures of Peter Rabbit and many other of Beatrix Potter’s beloved animal characters. Other small-screen adaptions include:

Kiera Cass’s The Selection (HarperCollins, 2012) is set to premiere on the CW network. It will be directed by Mark Piznarski, written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, and will star Yael Grobglas (America Singer), Peta Sergeant (Commander Gaia Woods), and Sean Patrick Thomas (Sylvan Santos).

greengables Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film AdaptationsLauren Oliver’s Delirum (HarperCollins, 2011) will debut on Fox. It will be written by Karyn Usher and produced by Karyn Usher, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, Paul Mazur, and Mitchell Kaplan at 20th Television. It wills tar Emma Roberts (Lena), Daren Kagasoff (Alex), and Billy Campbell (Thomas Fineman).

Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s Burn for Burn (S & S, 2012) will be produced by Barry Josephson Entertainment. A network has not yet been named.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved classic Anne of Green Gables will get yet a modern-day, contemporary update with this adaptation produced by Joan Lambur at Breakthrough Entertainment. A network has not yet been named.

Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz ( is Senior Editor of School Library Journal's Reviews. She recently received her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.



  1. I see so many movies to get excited about listed! Just one little thing: The Spook’s Apprentice is based on the Wardstone Chronicles, on the Waterstone Chronicles. Just in case anyone was interested in checking out the books before the movie. :)