a movie for The Giver. The on-again/off-again movie adaptation of The Giver is totally on. Again.
I'm not against movies being made from children's books. Really. I understand that books simply cannot be translated to film exactly as they appear in text. I'm not one to stand up and scream, "That's not the way the book goes!" in theaters. (As one student did when we saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. "Where's Giant Rumblebuffin?!?!" he screamed. "I love that part! How can you cut Giant Rumblebuffin?") In her announcement Lois Lowry says that Jonas and Fiona and Asher are all older teenagers in the film. Certainly a major change, and Lowry states she has no problem with it. So who am I to complain? (Note: I'm not.)
I will admit that I generally like the books better than the movies, and more often than not, it's because the images in my imagination don't match what's on the screen. But what annoys me is this: In my experience the movie has a tendency to take the book out of the hands of students.
During the 1999-2000 school year (I remember it distinctly because it was my first year in a new school) I had students reading Harry Potter books like crazy. Siblings were reading Harry Potter. Parents were reading Harry Potter. For the entire year no fewer than half of the students in my class would have Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, or Prisoner of Azkaban on the corner of their desk awaiting even the slightest moment of downtime.
This past school year I can name two students school wide - two - who read Harry Potter books. And it's not for lack of trying. The books are in classroom libraries and the school library and I recommended them often enough, but they didn't get read. "Why? I've seen the movie," is the overwhelming response I hear. You and I know plenty of legitimate answer to "Why?", but it's an uphill sell to kids.
It's happened with Holes and Because of Winn-Dixie and The Lightning Thief and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about The Giver. Go-to books that can motivate readers, books that are attractive across demographics, no longer work like they once did because kids have seen the movie and therefore feel there's no need to read the book.
At least we know that books come out before the movies, and that Hollywood can never adapt every book for the screen. There's always a steady stream of great books that can take the place of the ones movies have taken away. And of course I can name plenty of kids who read plenty of books who still had various favorites sitting on the corner of their desk awaiting a minute of free time. It's not like five movies get made and suddenly we're out of good book options.
Probably it's . . . I just miss my favorites.
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