Children’s Books into Movies 2020


While watching a series of previews at the theater over the holiday, I thought…”This is based on a children’s book. Another children’s books. Can you believe it? Still another children’s book.” I began to get excited at the thought of so many children’s books becoming movies. So…I went home and did a little investigating. Book lovers are in for a real treat this 2020.

Be sure to get these free printables to use with your students when comparing books to movies.

Hitting the Big Screen in the USA for 2020

January 17 – Dolittle

Dolittle is based on the second book in the Doctor Dolittle series by Hugh Lofting. This series includes 15 books written between 1920 and 1936. Dolittle is bound to be a hit with Robert Downy, Jr. playing Dolittle and Tom Holland voicing Dolittle’s dog, Jip. Check out this blog post with free printables and activities you can do in your classroom – Dolittle

February 21 – Call of the Wild

This film adaption is based on Jack London’s 1903 book, The Call of the Wild. The story follows Buck, a sled dog, through the wilds of Alaska during the 1890’s Klondike Gold Rush. Harrison Ford plays John Thornton who goes on a gold hunt. This classic book can be found in adapted versions for lower grades making this movie great for a large audience.

March 27 – Mulan

In the film, a young Chinese girl pretends to be a boy, so she can join the army to save her father. While the story is based on folklore, several authors have turned the story into a book including  Sherry Thomas in her book titled The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan. 

April 3 – Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway 

The original Beatrix Potter books are now in the public domain and can be enjoyed on many websites.  Here is one great source. The movie Peter Rabbit 2 is the follow-up to the 2018 film, Peter Rabbit. Take a look at the official website.

May 29 – Artemis Fowl

When I first read Artemis Fowl in 2001, I knew students were going to love this book written by Eoin Colfer. Not only has the book become a series, but Walt Disney is bringing the first book in the series to the big screen. In the film, 12-year old Artemis kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer named Captain Holly Short.  He holds her for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

August 6 – Dragon Rider

Dragon Rider is a 1997 children’s book by Cornelia Funke. Do you want to learn more? Here is Scholastic’s book trailer. 

August 14 – The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is soon to be a major motion picture. This Newbery Medal winner is told from the perspective of a gorilla named Ivan that lives in a cage in the Big Top Mall. Ivan and his animal friends want nothing more than to be free.

October 9 – The Witches

The Witches is based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 classic novel. In the film, Anne Hathaway plays the Grand High Witch who wants to rid the world of all children by turning them into mice. A young boy comes up with a plan to stop the witch in this wonderful comedy.

More Children’s Books into Movies –
The UK, Netflix, Disney+ & More


April 17 – The Secret Garden (UK release)

The Secret Garden is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 classic book.

Stargirl (Coming to Disney+)

Disney is coming out with Stargirl based on Jerry Spinilli’s book in 2020. They have also just received the rights to The Chronicle of Narnia series. Getting  Disney+ is a must-have. 

The Willoughbys (Coming to Netflix)

Based on Lois Lowry’s book, this animated comedy is coming to Netflix in 2020. The film centers around the four Willoughby children who hatch a plan to send their parents on vacation.

Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes is based on a book series by Nancy Springer. The character Enola is detective Sherlock Holmes’s younger sister. In the film, Enola goes to London to search for her mother who has disappeared.

December – A Boy Called Christmas (UK release)

Based on Henry Lawfull’s book, this story is the tale of young Father Christmas. 

Take advantage of this high interest moment by teaching a few skills connected with the film Dolittle. These free activities use Google Slides.
Take advantage of this high interest moment by teaching a few skills connected with the film Dolittle. These free activities use Google Slides.


Compare and Contrast the Book to the Movie

These organizers may be used to compare any book with its movie.

Gay Miller @ Book Units Teacher

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