KidThink, what today’s kids are thinking about books becoming movies

To help us keep up-to-date with what's happening with kids, we've asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids' lives. Since today's kids spend so...
October 1, 1996

To help us keep up-to-date with what’s happening with kids, we’ve asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Since today’s kids spend so much time on-line, Kid Think will be talking to kids via Live Wire, Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of 600 on-line families across the United States.

Both Kid Think and Live Wire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or have subjects you’d like to see Kid Think cover, call Bob Horne at 212-337-6410 (live

This month, Live Wire went on-line to talk with kids about what books they read this past summer and which ones they would like to see made into movies.

What we found:

Among the newer titles were the old standbys. There are certain classics that seem to be mandatory for summer reading lists:

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The preteen set polled preferred the science fiction and mystery genres. According to Tristan, age 11, they are ‘cool and exhilarating.’ Also popular are series books like Goosebumps, which Tristan plans to read in its entirety.

Coming-of-age titles are understandably the choice of the pubescent set, who appreciate protagonists who are experiencing the same wrenching trials of teen life.

Kids were very adamant about which books would be good on film. Some even considered the importance of the theme as the key criterion for a worthy movie, while others were burgeoning film directors who cared more about visual artistry.

Several of the books on kids’ summer reading lists already are movies (often a problem for teachers). However, teachers and parents will be relieved to hear that the kids we spoke to didn’t skip reading the book by watching the movie instead. Some weren’t even aware that some of the books they were reading had already been made into movies or TV specials.

What kids said:

Hollywood, listen up! These are the favorite stories that our kids suggested for the big screen:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olivia Burns

‘A great coming-of-age story in a Georgia town. He was a kid like us faced with not-so-normal problems.’ Diana, Ohio, age 13

Black Ice by Lorene Cary

‘About a black girl who travels to a private school [and is] going through the problems we all face.’ Katherine, Massachusetts, age 14

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

‘Thirteen heirs search Sam Westing’s spooky home for clues to his game-like will.’ Allison, Indiana, age 11

The Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

‘It takes place in the future. A six-year-old boy gets sent to battle school to be trained to fight off an alien race that has attacked the Earth twice already.’ Tim, Connecticut, age 12

A Bargain for Frances by Russel Hoban

‘It would make a great afternoon special show for kids. It [would] teach everyone about honesty and friendship. It teaches that friends should never have to be careful with each other, and that they should be able to trust each other. Being careful is not as much fun as being friends.’ Olivia, Florida, age 11

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

‘Because it has many special effects that would look good on screen.’ Robert, Virginia, age 11

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

‘I think The Hobbit would make a great show because if you just made every show about a war, then children and especially people my age would like it because of the violence.’ Rick, Texas, age 12

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

‘I thought that Tom Sawyer was cool and exciting. It was very interesting because it was so much more explanatory than the movie.’ Sarah, Washington, age 13.

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