9 classic family movies adapted from books on Netflix this November

Encourage little readers and keep their favorite bedtime tales alive by watching the movie versions together on Netflix this month.

Paddington Bear, 2014. TWC-Distribution| MovieStillsDB

You’ve set a cozy mood by making hot cocoa and getting the fireplace going. Now your kids are sprawled out on the floor of the den, donning their cute little sweaters. You probably have something baking in the oven, too. But what’s missing in this comfy family scene? It’s simple: a great book to snuggle up with! And for dessert? The movie version to complement the literary classic.

Here are nine family-friendly books that have movie companions you can stream on Netflix. These are just to get you started, but we hope they’ll inspire you and your flock to keep reading and watching stories with strong values well into winter.

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1. Charlotte’s Web

Get your kiddos cheering on “some pig” Wilbur and his true friend, Charlotte the spider. The friendship between these two oddly paired creatures is one of the most endearing you’ll encounter in children’s literature. (There’s a very touching lesson about sacrifice here.) Garth Williams’ sweet illustrations make E.B. White’s book not only a must-read but a must-see. And because nobody can really get enough of Charlotte and Wilbur, you can couple your reading with the 2006 live-action version of the movie on Netflix. There’s also Charlotte’s Web 2, a 2003 animated version, for your family’s viewing pleasure. No matter what version you watch, your kids will learn about determination, unlikely friendship, and that “with the right words you can change the world.”

Appropriate for ages: 7 and up (G)

2. My Side of the Mountain

Do you have any Boy or Girl Scouts in your family? This book/movie combo will let them to live out their wilderness fantasies, but also help them realize that running away to nature isn’t as liberating as it may sound. Jean Craighead George’s 1959 book centers on a 15-year-old boy who runs away from his parents’ New York City apartment to live in the Catskill Mountains. There he befriends a peregrine falcon and other critters. But is our protagonist really as self-sufficient as he thinks? Find out! (Though you probably know the answer if you had the pleasure of reading the book or seeing the 1969 movie as a kid yourself.)

Appropriate for ages: 8 and up (G)

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3. Holes

Louis Sachar’s 1998 novel, Holes, is a modern YA classic, so if you’re too old to have read it as a child yourself, here’s your chance to catch up with your kids. The mystery’s story takes place at a teen boys’ work camp in Texas and has plenty of flashbacks to the 1800s, with references to essential American history. The plot moves quickly, so older kids may prefer to enjoy this page-turner by themselves to find out how it ends faster. While the 2003 Disney movie by the same name isn’t totally faithful to the original, you and your kids will still laugh at Shia LeBeouf’s portrayal of young Stanley Yelnats as he discovers friendship, bravery, and learns that the world is more kind and connected than he once thought.

Appropriate for ages: 10 and up (PG)

4. To Kill a Mockingbird

What child doesn’t need a lesson about injustice? This 1960 novel about a Southern white lawyer defending a falsely accused black man during the Jim Crow era is mandatory reading for all American kids. And though it’s about a very serious matter, the feisty narrator, Scout, lends just the right amount of humor to soften the story. The 1962 movie may be a bit long for little ones (two hours nine minutes), but Gregory Peck’s performance will keep your older kids riveted.

Appropriate for ages: 12 and up (NR)

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5. Miracle on 34th Street

Wait, there’s a book, too? Yes! There’s a novella that screenwriter Valentine Davies wrote after his critically acclaimed 1947 movie won Americans’ hearts. You can’t stream the original Miracle on 34th Street movies (the 1947 version is available on Netflix DVD), but you can stream the 1994 version with Richard Attenborough. Your kids will love Attenborough’s sweet portrayal of Santa on trial, and his pleasant reminders that sometimes what we need most is a little faith. Note: While the story probably makes you think of Christmas, it starts out with a scene from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What a timely tie-in for November (and another great family viewing tradition)!

Appropriate for ages: 6 and up (PG)

6. Nanny McPhee

The Nurse Matilda books are a British series that remind kids why naughtiness has its downsides and why goodness and decency are important. (Don’t believe us? The literal magic word throughout this fairytale is, ‘please.’) But the books aren’t preachy; they’re funny and brilliantly illustrated! The 2005 movie, Nanny McPhee, stars Emma Thompson as the title character, and her portrayal makes the movie just as entertaining for adults as it is for children. See if you and your kids can spot the differences between the book series and the movie.

Appropriate for ages: 7 and up (PG)

7. Cheaper by the dozen

Normally, it might be a struggle to get your kids to watch a black and white film, but if they’ve read the hilarious biographical novel by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, first, they might be more inclined. The charming story of a big family has been loved for so long there have been play and musical versions as well as movie remakes with Steve Martin in 2003 and 2005 … but the values of family spirit and heart despite a little (or a lot of) chaos are still the same no matter which version you choose.

Appropriate for ages: 9 and up (NR)

8. The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is an indelible collection of animal fables centered on Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The collection has seen numerous adaptations of the boy-cub’s story, (the most famous perhaps being Disney’s 2016 version), and you can stream two of them on Netflix—one movie and one TV show. The 1998 live-action movie, The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story, is meant to be a prequel to the 1994 Disney animated hit. The 2014 TV show, Jungle Book Safari, blends animation with some live-action footage of real animals. In all of these incarnations, your children will learn about friendship, fitting in, and respecting Planet Earth and people whose culture differs from their own.

Appropriate for ages: 7 and up (G)

9. Paddington Bear

This beloved children’s series written by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum has been capturing the hearts of kids and parents since 1958. The little bear Paddington (named after the train station in London where the Brown family finds and adopts him) is always polite and loving, but often innocently gets up to mischief in accidental ways. His adventures often bring up themes of family, bravery, and kindness as we navigate the world … in a very cute hat and duffel coat, of course. Get your little one acquainted with the books first, then let them ride along with the more recent live-action version, which is sillier than the literature, but in general still speaks to the same values of this sweet bear.

Appropriate for ages: 6 and up (PG)

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