There are two types of people in our house… those who crave audio/video and me. I prefer a good book. However, the two can coexist peacefully when a really good book is made into a good movie. The two are sometimes mutually exclusive, but it has happened.
How do you choose which book and movie?
Getting a family to read is of paramount importance for their personal growth. If it takes watching a movie to get that done, most of the readers out there (who are also parents and/or grandparents) will be willing to do that. A set of good examples are the Harry Potter books.
There are a few things found in the books that didn’t make it into the movies and vice versa, however, it got a seven-year-old to sit down and read. It also drew the reclusive, book reading grandmother (me) to watch a whole bunch of movies.
Another good example would be the Lord of the Rings series. One of the non-readers of the family bought the books and sat down and read them. We all trooped to the movie theatre to see them. We also have them on DVD and watch them again.
Do they have to be new movies and books?
No, that’s the best part. There are a lot of older books that have been made into older movies. There are a few older books that have/are being made into new movies. Little Women is a good example. It has been made into both movies and a TV series. Older book movie combos include Ben-Hur, The Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.
For children, there are Junior Classics that will help them get through some of the reading more easily. These are not the full-length versions and use language that a child can understand more easily. This gets them into the world of books and helps them gain reading skills.
Home videos can play a role.
Once the book/movie combination have been read and seen, there can be a lot of interesting family interactions. Parents can video their children reenacting favourite scenes. While costumes would be fun, it can be done as is. Imagine a scene from one of these books and talk to the kids about it. Have them choose roles and then do the acting.
These videos will be priceless when the children are adults. For one thing, it will bring back fond memories. For another, they can entice the next generation into the book/movie idea. They’ll see how much fun their parents had and clamour for the opportunity to try.
In this day when computer and other screens take up so much of our time, it is wise to step back a bit. Yes, videos, DVDs, computers and smartphones are important. They are now so integrated into our culture most of us would feel lost without them. However, we need to balance that with other things that are beneficial and a good book, with a warm cup of cocoa, is one of those benefits.