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We are huge movie night fans here at the Maker Mama house. We spend at least one night on the weekend making homemade pizza and snuggling on the couch to watch one of our favorite Netflix family movies. And with summer coming, it’s prime time for family movie night. The kids and I are also all big book lovers, so it’s no surprise that all of our favorites happen to be based on books, too! Here are the 7 best Netflix family movies based on books (at least in my book!):


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1. The Water Horse  Read | Watch

Set in 1940’s Scotland during World War II, a lonely boy named Angus discovers a mysterious egg on the shores of Loch Ness. He soon discovers that the creature that hatches from it is none other than the fabled sea creature.

The film is filled with both tender and humorous moments. It had just enough suspense and adventure for my older boys (ages 10 and 13), but was still sweet and magical enough for my girls (ages 8 and 6).

I’d never heard of the book before watching the film, and I think I had passed over the movie on Netflix a dozen times before clicking through and reading the description. But after looking up the preview I knew this was a must-watch:

I would totally watch this one again. And as any parent knows, that says a lot if you’re willing to watch anything another go-round.

Read the Water Horse or watch it on Netflix


2. Hugo Read | Watch

I first came across the book for this one, titled The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was praised as a visual masterpiece. Not quite a graphic novel or a picture book, it is definitely worth a read/look at.

The movie, too, is quite a visual treat as well, and follows the story of an orphaned boy who lives in a train station–and holds a precious secret dear to his heart.

Read the book or watch it on Netlfix


3. The BFG  Read | Watch

Roald Dahl was (and still is) one of my favorite children’s book authors. So when I first learned it was being turned into a movie (and I saw the amazing previews) I was ecstatic. If you haven’t seen the movie, or the preview, have a look:

The book is a hilarious read with the BFG’s endearing vocabulary, and that endearing quality is carried over into the film, as well.

Read the BFG or watch it on Netflix


4. The Little Prince  Read | Watch

The Little Prince is one book that I wasn’t familiar with growing up. The book itself is narrated by an aviator who has crashed in the Sahara and comes across the Little Prince who regales him with his life story living on a small planet. Both the book and the film have a beautiful, esoteric feel to it, tapping into deeper existential themes not common in children’s literature or film.

If you’re a person who appreciates philosophy or the arts, then this one’s definitely for you. My kids honestly groaned when I first said we were watching this one (or it may have just been a couple of them groaning loud enough for them all). But exposing my kids to more introspective, artistic mediums is a priority for me. They sat enraptured through the entire film, by the way.

Read The Little Prince or watch it on Netflix

5. The Secret of Moonacre  Read | Watch

Originally published in 1946 as The Little White Horse, I honestly almost passed over this one because of the Netflix thumbnail image. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book (or movie?) by it’s cover, but good design totally makes a difference, y’all. It’s a great children’s fantasy film, however, and certainly worth adding to your watch list.

Read the book or watch the movie on Netflix


6. The Great Gilly Hopkins Read | Watch

Based on the young adult novel by Katherine Paterson, The Great Gilly Hopkins tells the story of a foster girl (Gilly), and how she comes to find and make a family of her own–despite her brash behavior.

I really appreciated the example of Gilly’s foster mother Ms. Trotter (played by Kathy Bates), who was the embodiment of unconditional love and patience. Both heartfelt and humorous, The Great Gilly Hopkins is a great story of family, perseverance, and love.

Read the book or watch the movie on Netflix

7. Paddington Read | Watch

Okay, who doesn’t love a child-like bear who looks at the world as innocently and whimsically as, say, Amelia Bedelia? It’s a little young for my oldest, but it still has us all in stitches, and worth watching again and again.

Read the books or watch the movie on Netflix


8. (Bonus!) A Series of Unfortunate Events Read | Watch

Okay, so technically this is a series and not a movie, but I absolutely loved it. If you’re familiar with the books, you know this is a dark, dystopian children’s story–with a witty sense of humor. The cinematography for the series reminded me of Wes Anderson’s films and I couldn’t wait to watch each episode. (If you can’t tell already, I’m a little biased to watching movies I’m interested in–we definitely have our share of compromise, too).

Read the books or watch it on Netflix

So there you have it! Our top picks for Netflix family movies (and a show). Have you seen them all? Which movies would you add to this list?