Monday, January 25, 2016

Book vs Movie- A Couple of Reviews

New Reads for 2016
by Hilde Garcia
Enjoying some ice cream before picking up the book on my lap!

Lately, I haven't had the luxury of sitting back and reading a book. I encourage my students to do daily reading in both languages I teach, but find all my spare time is spent on grading their book summaries and exams.  However, during the December break, I kicked back, opened a box of cookies, and read two great novels, completely opposite of each other in their message and style, but both very inspiring.

Amazing movie!
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

I am a huge fan of Mr. Green's work. I heard him speak at an SCBWI conference a few years ago and was so moved that I ran out and bought Looking for Alaska. Now there's a novel that packs a punch. You don't see the curves coming and they hit you like a truck.  I teach 6th grade students and they were all urging me to read The Fault in Our Stars. Some of them had even read it in Spanish and all said I would love it. They were impressed with the fact that I had met Mr. Green. I was impressed that they were recommending books to me.

So I read it. OH. MY. GOD.  I shed more tears than there are stars. Why couldn't Gus and Hazel be together forever? Why did their stars fail to align? I was captivated by Green's language and setting and my heart ached for the lovers whose stars didn't cross.

But what I really loved was the movie version. Finally, a movie that did the book justice. There was attention to detail and the casting was impeccable, and the producers took care with Green's language, keeping it in tact and authentic.  The movie ended and I found myself crying as much as if I had read the book all over again.

My students agreed, it was a beautiful novel, deeply moving, and forever impactful.  I highly recommend both the book and the movie version!

I am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

There are days where I barely have time to eat, let alone read, so watching the news is pretty impossible. I live in the world of my students and children and somedays it's all I can do to keep up with them.  But everyone was moved by Malala and her quest for education and the tragic events that came as a result of her desire to learn. Even I, the news hermit, couldn't ignore the impact of Malala's attempt to go to school.

I happened to be out on quiet Saturday night during my winter break with my children and our favorite past time is to hit a book store- usually an independent one, but on that night, we hit the Barnes & Noble near our house.

And there it was, her memoir. My kids were off perusing the shelves, making pleas of extra effort on chores if I could only by them another book.  (That's a hard one to say no to when the world if full of kids who plug in and mine are screaming for books that don't require batteries.)

As I said, "No" half a dozen times, I sat down and started reading Malala's memoir. I couldn't put it down. I ended up buying it. I read it when I got home and the kids went to their own rooms to read the books they had bought- yep, we never leave empty handed from a book store and I caved.

Are you kidding? Wouldn't you kill to have a couple of kiddos whose idea of fun is to buy books and then go home and read them?

Malala's own words flowed off of the page and into the air, so eloquent, so sophisticated, so simple. This beautiful and vibrant girl so full of energy living in a place where her light was trying to be extinguished.  I couldn't stop learning about her world, her culture, her life. I wanted every detail to stay with me forever. I was drawn to her book with a force that surprised me.

Doctors helped her get back to about 80%.
Sure enough, I am at the library the next day- with none other than my twins, who now claim that they had to check out books because they had already read the ones from the night before and they needed the next installment of whichever series they were both reading at that moment- and I see under Upcoming Events: He Named Me Malala.

What? There's a documentary? I went home, found it on Netflix and watched it as soon as I had finished the book.


Again I was impressed with the attention to her story, the authenticity of the documentary, how much I was able to learn that went further into her life, beyond the scope of her memoir, and it was indeed captivating.  I came back to school and raved about it to my students and now they are all fighting to read the one copy. Note to self- get more copies!

In recent years, so many "hot" books were turned into movies, but the movies were so poorly done.  My children are avid fans of Percy Jackson. I think, to date, they have each read the series in its entirety 15 times. And they were so disappointed with the movie. The chose not to watch the rest of it or any others produced. They felt the same way about The Spiderwick Chronicles. One of their favorite book series and the movie didn't live up to the novel.

And while I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I am not sure I feel the movie did the trilogy justice. It was visually accurate and riveting to watch the story unfold, but there was so much that wasn't addressed that I think I will always be "a book first and maybe movie after" kind of girl.

In my family, we all agree that Harry Potter was done well, but the books are so epic that to capture every detail, we would have needed 3 movies for books 4 through 7, not only for Book 7.  However, the attention to details was excellent.  When an author stays involved and doesn't give up creative rights, I feel, we get a better movie version of the book.

It was great to have had the chance two incredible stories whose movie/documentary held up to the book.

There is also a young reader's version of I Am Malala which is sold everywhere and students can also get it through Scholastic Book Clubs. That's where I am planning to order some extra copies with the points I have accumulated!

I guess I can't wait until Spring Break to see which novel I will read. I currently began Fish in a Tree… but it might take me until then to finish it!
I'll let you know how I like this one!

Do you have any books you read that were made into a movie? Did you like it? Did it leave you needing more?

Please post your thoughts!

Happy Reading.


  1. I watched the trailer for He Named me Malala. Sure enough, I scroll a half a page down and the insults begin in the comment section.
    Comment Section: The Motion Picture

  2. Thanks for the reviews! Just wondering whether you have any books you read that were made into a movie afterwards? Did you read this Sorry for questions, but your answers are much appreciated!


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