It's no secret I love reading and books. I also happen to like escaping into movies quite a bit. I mean, let's be honest, they're pretty related fields. And take a book I love, and make it into a movie? I'll be at the theatre to see it for sure. But...as the sign in my classroom says, Don't judge a book by its movie.
This rings so true to me because I do think the book is always better than the movie. However, I can appreciate that there is an element to movies based on books that serves as a really long commercial of sorts for that book. I've seen how it works for my students...buzz and excitement builds about a movie...and the readers will come so they can be a part of it (Yes, Twilight, I'm talking about you). I always try to encourage my students to read the book before the movie comes out (I'm looking at you Hunger Games). I do this so they can appreciate the book more and make their own pictures of characters and settings in their heads before seeing what the movie's creators have envisioned. I know I personally get so distracted when I go to see a movie and the actor is so different from what I pictured in my head while reading the book (I mean, really, Jace in City of Bones? Not at all what I thought he should look like). But the reality it that sometimes it's the fact that a movie is being made that brings the readers to the books. *This is where I admit that I didn't really know about the Harry Potter books until I went and saw the first movie with my family. I loved it so much, of course, I immediately went and devoured all of the books that were already released and was one of the many waiting on my doorstep for each subsequent book to be delivered on its release day.* So Harry Potter is my perfect example of how a movie can help a reader fall in love with a book series.
Why is this on my mind today? Well, I've been talking book movies with my students. They all went on a field trip to see Hunger Games when it came out, so they're already asking me if we can do a school trip to see Catching Fire in November. I'm also anxiously awaiting the Divergent movie's release in March, and have been planning to use the book as a read aloud for our dystopian book club unit and then go see the movie on a field trip. It would create a fantastic opportunity to see the movie with my students to get their instant reactions, as well as providing a chance for them to create their own opinions on whether the book or movie is better. I feel a writing piece coming on.
So as I spent some time sharing book trailers with my students today, showing them the options for the first read aloud of the year and letting them vote to choose which one to read, I also chose to show the Divergent movie trailer after the book trailer. And, in what I bet will be no surprise to many, the winning choice was Divergent. I wonder if the movie preview had anything to do with that.