GOOD

Required Viewing: Five Upcoming Films Based On Books Students (And Teachers!) Love

Bookworms and reluctant readers, unite!

When I was a middle-school English teacher in South Central Los Angeles, I regularly searched for books and stories that would connect with my students, who often felt the readings in their textbooks were not only boring but unrelatable. Wilson Rawls’ classic “Where the Red Fern Grows” couldn’t keep their attention, but the stories in Sharon G. Flake’s “Who Am I Without Him?” had them begging for more.

These days, young adult books — novels targeted to readers ages 12-18 — are booming, thanks in part to blockbuster films based on both old and new series like Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”


Teachers have long used films as a supplement to teach literature because when they’re done well, whether it’s “Harry Potter” or Robert Mulligan’s 1962 film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” showing a film isn’t just a treat for students; the experience can also deepen the discussion and understanding of the original text.

In the next few years, several films based on books loved by students and educations alike will be hitting the big screen. From riveting court dramas to heartfelt stories, here are five new projects to keep on your radar.

“Wonder”

Based on the best-selling novel by R.J. Palacio, “Wonder” follows Auggie Pullman, a boy whose facial deformity kept him from attending a mainstream school. After several surgeries, Auggie prepares to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep and is worried about fitting in. The film adaptation of the book stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jason Tremblay and hits theaters just in time for the holiday season.

“Monster”

Legendary author Walter Dean Myers is very popular with young readers. With more than 100 books under his belt, Myers has won several awards, including the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. In “Monster,” one of his popular titles (and my favorite book to teach), Myers tells the story of 16-year-old Steve Harmon, who’s on trial for murder after a store owner is killed during a robbery. The film adaptation is being produced by music heavyweights John Legend and Nas and will star Jennifer Hudson, A$AP Rocky, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Jeffrey Wright.

“Ophelia”

There have been no shortage of films based on William Shakespeare’s classic plays, but Lisa Klein’s novel “Ophelia” reimagines “Hamlet” from her perspective. The novel, which was named Best Book of the Year by TeenReads.com, is expected to hit theaters in 2018. The adaptation will star Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, and Clive Owen.

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

The first James Baldwin book I ever read was his 1974 novel “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The love story centers on Tish and Fonny and their struggle to stay together after Fonny is accused of a crime. The book was assigned in my 11th grade AP literature and composition class, and it blew my mind and turned me into a lifelong Baldwin fan. The novel is being adapted for the screen by Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins and will star Kiki Layne and Stephan James.

“A Wrinkle in Time”

Madeleine L'Engle’s classic fantasy novel “A Wrinkle in Time” has been a favorite of young readers since it was released in 1963, making it a popular title to adapt for the film. So far, there’s been a film and TV series based on the book, and Disney is gearing up for yet another remake next March. The big budget — and super inclusive — project was directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Storm Reid, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey.

Education
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health