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CONVERGE | Entertainment

Books We Can't Wait to See on the Big Screen in 2019

February 26, 2019

Get the lowdown on books for kids and teens coming to a movie theater near you.

By Regan McMahon, Original Article from Common Sense Media

Hollywood thrives on book adaptations, and this year is no exception. With classics like Call of the Wild and Little Women and recent teen romances like The Sun Is Also a Star and Five Feet Apart headed to theaters in 2019, this year's batch of books-turned-movies has us excited. 

Of course, half the fun of seeing adaptations is the post-credits debate over which was better: the book or the movie. To polish your arguments (or ready your ammunition), check out these books that are headed to the big screen this year (all release dates are subject to change):
Between Shades of Gray book coverBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (in theaters Jan. 11, 2019, as Ashes in the Snow; targeted to teens and adults) 
A 15-year-old aspiring artist named Lina and her family are deported from their comfortable home in Lithuania to a brutal labor camp in 1941 Siberia as Stalin dismantles the Baltic region. Lina struggles to keep her hope and humanity and even finds a sweet romance. 
Who's in itBel Powley, Peter Franzen, Sophie Cookson
Why we're excited: This story illuminates an often-overlooked chapter in history and was an international best-seller. It's an intense book that promises to be an intense, moving film. 
A Dog's Way Home book coverA Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron (in theaters Jan. 11, 2019; targeted to tweens and families)
Who's in itBryce Dallas Howard (voice of Bella the dog), Ashley JuddAlexandra ShippJonah Hauer-King
A dog named Bella gets lost and goes on a 400-mile, two-plus-year journey to find her owner. On the way she faces danger and makes friends -- both animal and human. 
Why we're excited: Who doesn't love a heartwarming story about a beloved, loyal dog? This one has charmed readers by the millions. Author Cameron and his wife, Cathryn Michon, co-wrote the screenplay, so the movie will hopefully capture the spirit of the book. 
How to Train Your Dragon book coverHow to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (in theaters Feb. 22, 2019, as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; targeted to kids)
Who's in it
: voices of Cate BlanchettKit HaringtonGerard ButlerJonah HillKristen Wiig
The first book in Cowell's now-multivolume series is about young Viking boy Hiccup, who must catch and train a dragon to pass a Viking initiation test.
Why we're excited: The third film in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy adds an adorable female dragon who's the same breed as Toothless -- and could be his mate. But Hiccup must get to the dragons' Hidden World before an evil dragon hunter -- who might kill them all. The 3D animation in this series is always amazing. 
Five Feet Apart book coverFive Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis (in theaters March 15, 2019; targeted to teens)
Two teens with cystic fibrosis meet in a hospital and fall in love, but they can't get close enough to touch without risking shortening their young lives.
Why we're excited: Is it this year's Fault in Our Stars? Could be. We know teens love a good life-and-death love story, which is what the book is. And it's directed by Justin Baldoni, who played Rafael on Jane the Virgin!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase book coverThe Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2 by Carolyn Keene (in theaters March 15; targeted to tweens)
Who's in itSophia Lillis, Laura Wiggins, Andrea Anders.
After a friend asks 16-year-old sleuth Nancy Drew to check out the ghost that's haunting her great-aunt's mansion, Nancy's dad is kidnapped. Could there be a connection between the ghost and her dad's disappearance?
Why we're excited: Kids have loved Nancy Drew since the first of her mysteries appeared in 1930. This is the second and most popular in the original series (several spin-off series, TV shows, and video games followed). The film stars Sophia Lillis, who was in the super scary It, and it was produced by Ellen Degeneres. We figure Ellen won't let fans down. 
A Dog's Journey book coverA Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron (in theaters May 17; targeted to tweens and families)
This sequel to A Dog's Purpose finds the dog Buddy reborn to fulfill his destiny: talking care of baby Clarity -- who's now a teenager. 
Why we're excited: If you loved the first book and/or movie, you should be delighted to spend more time with this constantly reincarnating pup. The spotlight on a teen character should add to the teen appeal. Just be ready to break out the tissues, if it's anything like the first one.
The Sun Is Also a Star book coverThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (in theaters May 17; targeted to teens)
Who's in it: Yara ShahidiCharles Melton, Cathy Shim
This romantic coming-of-age story follows two high school seniors -- logical, science-oriented Jamaican American Natasha and poet Korean American Daniel -- from the moment they meet on the streets of New York City through the 12 fateful hours they spend together.
Why we're excited: This was one of the biggest young adult books of 2016. And the plot hinges on a timely immigration issue: In less than 24 hours, Natasha and her family are scheduled to be deported to Jamaica. What a time to fall in love!
Artemis Fowl book coverArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (in theaters Aug. 9; targeted to tweens and teens)
Who's in it: Hong ChauJudi DenchJosh Gad
A 12-year-old millionaire criminal mastermind takes on the race of fairies to get their gold in this start of a blockbuster seven-volume sci-fi fantasy series.
Why we're excited: This is one of the most popular, action-packed fantasy series ever. And Kenneth Branagh is directing. 
Where'd You Go, Bernadette book coverWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (in theaters Aug. 9; targeted to teens and adults)
When her anxiety-prone, revolutionary architect mom, Bernadette, disappears just before a family trip to Antarctica, 15-year-old Bee pieces together emails, FBI documents, secret letters, and more to find her. 
Why we're excited: Semple's best-selling novel is hilarious, with send-ups of helicopter parents and tech gurus, and it explores the mother-daughter bond with wit and insight. The story should be in good hands with director Richard Linklater (BoyhoodSchool of RockBefore Sunset) and award-wining actress Blanchett. Linklater also co-wrote the screenplay. 
The Call of the Wild book coverThe Call of the Wild by Jack London (in theaters Dec. 25; targeted to tweens and families)
This is a fast-paced, brutal adventure story of a dog's survival in the Canadian Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. Sled dog Buck suffers though several harsh owners and survives by getting in touch with his natural wolf instincts. 
Why we're excited: This latest film adaptation of the classic Jack London adventure tale is a big-budget action picture starring Ford as prospector John Thornton. And Michael Green (Logan) wrote the script.
Little Women book coverLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott (in theaters Dec. 25; targeted to tweens and teens) 
In this beloved coming-of-age classic, four sisters grow up in Boston struggling with poverty during and after the Civil War as they wait for their father to return home.
Why we're excited: This take on Alcott's novel is directed and written by Greta Gerwig, and the amazing cast includes the star of Gerwig's Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan, as Jo.



Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org

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