Book Series to TV: What Would You Choose?

Annie KennedyBooks, Inside WITS

Book Series to TV_ What would you choose_ (1)

Netflix recently shared a great idea: the streaming platform is reviving The Baby-Sitters Club series and turning it into a 10-episode live-action TV show.

With Claudia, Dawn, Kristy, Mary Anne, and Stacey coming to our TV screens soon, we asked the WITS staff, “If you had the opportunity to turn a book or a series into a television show, which one would you choose?” From childhood favorites to more contemporary options, we would be thrilled to watch any of these stories come to life.

Shawn Bush, Program Manager

Shadow Children by HaddixI think an interesting television show could be adapted from the “Shadow Children” series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. As a kid, I found these novels highly engaging and a good introduction into the dystopia genre. Here is a description of the first installment, Among the Hidden, written by the author herself:

“Luke has never been to school. He’s never had a birthday party or gone to a friend’s house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend. Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He’s lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family’s farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside. Then, one day, Luke sees a girl’s face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he’s met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows–does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?”

Eleanor Dollear, Program CoordinatorRamona Series by Beverly Clearly

My favorite series by far from when I was younger was the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary, and I believe one of the books was turned into a movie a few years ago. I very much related to Ramona as a kid, and I felt so good reading those books and seeing myself in her. I think an adaptation could be very entertaining. I remember funny parts from the Ramona books, like when she squeezed out an entire tube of toothpaste for fun, or when Ramona misunderstood her teacher. She thought “sitting for the present” meant that if she sat still, she would get a gift, when her teacher just meant she should sit down for the time being. I would definitely watch a Ramona TV show!

Kevin Hujar, Program Specialist

When I was in elementary school, I was hooked on The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series by Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey. In each story, a group of students encounter a relatively innocent character (a doctor, restaurant server, teacher, etc.) in their neighborhood who appears to be a supernatural creature (a ghoul, cyclops, vampire, etc.). From what I remember, the reader is left without an answer at the end of the story. It is up to the reader to decide whether the character they confronted was simply a regular person or the mythological creature. I think this series would be a great live-action television show. I would love to see the make-up/ or special effects used for the innocent/mythical individuals!

amelia's notebookAnnie Kennedy, Community Manager 

I kept a diary from 5th grade well into high school, and my desire to write was partly inspired by Marissa Moss’ “Amelia’s Notebooks” series. The books are made to look like composition notebooks, with pages full of the main character, Amelia’s, ideas, thoughts, and drawings. This TV series wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t combine live-action with the original illustrations from the book, like how the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies were made. My favorite episode would be based on Amelia’s Are-We-There-Yet Longest Ever Car Trip, where she documents a “LOOOOOOONG” family road trip. At one point, Amelia says, “Every minute takes about a year,” and I can definitely relate.

Elizabeth Kristoff, Grants and Foundation Relations Managerhis dark materials by pullman

After the cinematic 2007 disaster that was The Golden Compass (yes, it was aesthetically gorgeous, but all wrong!), I am thrilled that HBO is premiering the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. This trilogy haunts me. Never have I found myself so enthralled in such an intellectual, emotional, and fantastical whirlwind. I’m actually jittery and slightly choked up just thinking about the moments in the series we never experienced in the 2007 movie, which loosely covered the first book. Finally, this stunning masterpiece will get the adaptation it deserves! James McAvoy as Lord Asriel. Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby. Ruth Wilson as Ms. Coulter. Ann-Marie Duff as Ma Costa. “Every atom of me, and every atom of you.” I’m already a wreck.

Tena Kunik, Chief Executive Officer

I would make The Goldfinch into a TV show. It is too long to be a movie, and if you do it over multiple seasons, you can watch Theo grow up. The settings are so well-developed, and the characters are interesting. I think it could last about seven seasons.

Sara Martinez, Program Coordinator

molly moon seriesI would love to see the Molly Moon series turned into a TV show. I remember reading the first two books when I was in grade school and becoming enthralled with hypnotism for about a week (never succeeded though…). The books include mystery, hypnosis, time travel, and Molly’s sidekick, Petula the pug—it would definitely make a great TV show!

Ana Porta, Program Coordinator

I’d love if the Molly Moon series was turned into a TV show! These were some of my favorite books growing up, and I loved how the main character, Molly Moon, was able to discover so much power inside herself, with the help of her pet pug, Petula. These tales span adventures in hypnotism, time travel, mind control, and the power to control time itself! Wits lots of plot twists and surprises along the way, the Molly Moon series is full of page-turners, and I was always coming back for more. I think it would make for a really exciting and fun-filled TV series.

Kristen Strobbe, Chief Program Officer

Growing up, I loved The Boxcar Children series. It’s about four orphaned siblings who briefly live in an abandoned boxcar but then go to live with their wealthy grandfather. The boxcar comes, too, and hangs in the backyard of their new home so they can still play in it. The siblings also solve mysteries. All in all, the premise is pretty absurd, but I could see Netflix doing some cool stuff with it, a la Stranger Things. In the modern adaptation, the boxcar could be turned into a tiny home – so on trend!

Mia Valdez Quellhorst, Director of Teacher ProgramsThe dragon riders of pern

I would really like to see the “Dragonriders of Pern” turned into a live-action series on Starz. The series starts with Dragonflight, where a young kitchen wench realizes she can talk to DRAGONS and goes on to lead a revolution in the up-until-then quasi-feudal system. In later books, there are talking dolphins, lost and found relics of an advanced technological age, guilds and bandits, and many strong female characters doing awesome stuff. And dragons; did I mention that everyone flies around on dragons? And that the dragons can space travel? It’s a wild series that would help ease the sting of the last season of Game of Thrones (RIP Viserion).

Ellen Werner, Program Director

I think Monica Brown’s “Marisol McDonald” character would make a great cartoon! In Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, Marisol learns to embrace her “mis-matched” interests and appearances: she is a Peruvian-Scottish-American kid who loves wearing stripes and polka-dots while she plays soccer as a pirate-princess. Marisol’s experiences can speak to everyone who has ever felt out of place; plus, I would love to see more multi-racial kids represented on television.


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