3rd Grade Books That Have Been Made Into Movies

Nine 3rd Grade Books That Have Been Made Into Movies

3rd Grade Books That Have Been Made Into Movies

Hello, friends! I finally finished compiling a list of 3rd grade books which have been made into movies. But first, just a quick note to point out what you’ve probably already noticed. If you’re reading this in your inbox, everything should look a lot cleaner and nicer than what it has for many years. I finally made the jump away from the old RSS service and I’m glad I did! I haven’t liked the way the old emails have looked for a very long time. But enough about that!…

July is here and almost half-gone already! Summer break is on the down hill slide for many of us… and I’ve  been researching and digging up more kids’ books that have been turned into movies for our Book & Movie nights.

Y’all! I had forgotten about so many of these!

Most of these I didn’t read as a child, but I knew about them. There are a few newer things on here, too. All but two three of these are books that 3rd graders can read on their own but I’m also including a couple of read-aloud books that are at a higher reading level.

Three Read-Aloud Books For 3rd Graders That Have Been Made Into Movies

Kids are never too old for read-alouds! I still read to my 17 year old. =) Here are a couple of read-aloud novels that will appeal to your 3rd grader but which have a higher reading level.

Peter Pan

J.M. Barrie, INTEREST Level 3rd Grade (Reading Level 6th Grade)
Find the Book | Find the Movie (1953,) (2003,) (2015)

Confession: I’ve never read Peter Pan–not even a child’s abridged version. I’ve only seen multiple cartoon and movie versions. I have no idea how the real story goes! Do you? I’ve linked to several movie versions here but I have to say that my favorite, the version I grew up watching, was the Mary Martin version, live on stage. I grew up on it, and my kids grew up on it until we got rid of our VHS player. =)

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Kate DiCamillo, INTEREST Level 3rd Grade (Reading Level 6th Grade)
Find the Book | Find the Movie

We put this on my 14 year old’s Summer Reading List last year because we liked the movie so much. Yes, it was a bit of an easy read for her, but she needed a few of those, and she really enjoyed this one. This book would make a really good read-aloud for 3rd-4th graders. The movie is very good, too. 


Johanna Spyri, mid-late 3rd Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie (1937,) (2005)

I’ve never read this book, either, but my mom introduced me to the Shirley Temple movie when I was a kid. Personally, I think your kids should watch the Shirley Temple version even if they watch the newer movie. It’s Shirley Temple! Edited to add: After further reviewing the Lexile level versus the grade level, this book seems better suited for at least a fifth grade level, and would be better suited for a read-aloud. My friend Ticia also tells me there is some difficult vocabulary and situations that make it more appropriate for a family read as well. 

Six 3rd Grade Reading Level Books And Their Movies

Your third graders should be able to read these books on their own, although some of these are late third grade level. It’s okay for your kids to tackle a book that’s a little challenging as long as it’s not stressing them out and overwhelming them. At the same time, every book they read doesn’t need to challenge them–some of the books they read can and should be a little bit easier to read to make it more enjoyable.


Chris Van Allsburg, 3rd Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie

Written by the same author that wrote Jumanji, Zathura is a fun book and movie. The book is a smaller storybook rather than a chapter novel, and has only 32 pages. My kids enjoyed the storybook when they were younger, and they still enjoy the movie.

A Bear Called Paddington

Michael Bond, 3rd Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie

I remember loving Paddington Bear as a kid! I’m so glad the new movie has come out and brought Paddington back for a new generations of kids. But don’t let them only watch the movie! They need to read Paddington, too!

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

Dav Pilkey, mid-late 3rd Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie

Okay, I haven’t read this book — it’s not my genre. 😉 But I have a son and we found this series at the library the other day. Unfortunately, the first book was checked out so we didn’t take one home. I later remembered that a movie was recently made from this book, too! In fact, this movie is so recent that it’s not available on DVD yet but will be soon, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams, late 3rd grade, early 4th Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie (various)

The one has been made into a movie MANY times. A beloved children’s classic, there are many movie options to choose from, and you might choose to watch more than one! This book isn’t very long, either, but the reading level for this one looks better for late third graders who have a little more practice.

The Boxcar Children, Book 1

Gertrude Chandler, late 3rd Grade
Find the Book | Find the Movie

I read several of these books aloud to my children around the time my oldest was in third grade. They didn’t think they were going to like it but in the end they did. I was surprised to find a movie for this one! I’m glad because that means I can add this great book to the list. =)

Babe: The Gallant Pig

Dick King-Smith (late 3rd grade)
Find the Book | Find the Movie

I didn’t know the movie “Babe” was based on a book! One of the many phrases I often tell my kids as we are working: “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.” 😉 I’m intrigued by the book and kind of want to read this myself. 

Make it a Movie Night

After you read the books to your kids, or your kids finishing reading them on their own, it’s time to have a family movie night! Use this movie night as an opportunity to get feedback from your kids, check for reading comprehension, and basically get an oral book report at the same time.

Ask your kids to help plan the movie night, plan themed snacks and drinks, and get them to tell you about the book while you plan. They’ll never catch on. 😉

(Check out my friend Ticia’s posts to see some really good examples of Book & Movie Nights done right!)

Stay tuned for a 4th grade list, which is almost finished and will be posted next week. If you haven’t seen the list of books for Kindergarten and First Grade, you can find that here. 

Leave me some feedback! If you’ve got other favorites that I’ve missed, please leave them in the comments. Thanks, y’all, and Happy Reading!

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July 11, 2017 1:04 pm

I read Peter Pan for the first time last year. It was so racist I almost couldn’t finish it. I did finish but I did not enjoy reading it at all. The adventure and basic plot are fun. But there were so many elements in it that turned me off. I’ll stick to stories based on Peter Pan rather than re-read the actual book.

July 12, 2017 10:14 am
Reply to  Amber

I had that thought after I commented – that it’s a good look at attitudes of the time. I think what shocked me the most was how overt the racism was. And I’m glad I read it, even though I doubt I’ll read it again.

It may be worth reading just for the discussion afterward. 🙂

July 12, 2017 11:01 am

I read Peter Pan as a kid and loved it. I think the racism in the book is more of a different time and culture than an overt racism. We just read Around the World in 80 Days and there is no way that book could be adapted as it was into a movie because of the difference in how the cultures are seen now. I find it odd that Heidi is a 3rd-grade book. It’s another I read in junior high or high school, but I can’t remember exactly. I know it’s listed there because that’s where I found… Read more »

July 12, 2017 8:09 pm
Reply to  Amber

I’d probably move it to read aloud personally, it’s got a good amount of vocabulary that might be difficult, and some of the situations in it need a good discussion.

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