World Book Day: Our pick of the best kids’ series adapted for screen

Read these stories and then dive into the film or TV versions.

Sitting down to read a good book is a truly wonderful thing, and knowing the adventure doesn’t have to end – that you can then leap into the film or TV adaptation afterwards – can make turning the final page less, well, final.

If your kids have already conquered the Harry Potter books and film franchise, there are plenty of other action-packed series to read for World Book Day (March 4) and then visually immerse yourselves in as a family…

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

You won’t get bored with Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events; there are 13 novels, each packed full of twists and turns that are on the darker end of the spectrum, following the newly orphaned Baudelaire siblings: Violet, Klaus and Sunny.

After their parents die in a fire, the children are sent to live with distant relative Count Olaf. It soon becomes clear he wants their vast fortune, and in the books that follow, he assumes various disguises to try and gain control of the children and their money.

Dealing with mystery, mayhem and touches of philosophy, the premise has been adapted for screen twice: first for a 2004 film starring Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, and then for a three series Netflix show spanning all 13 books.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Chronicles follow siblings Mallory, Jared and Simon Grace, who move into the Spiderwick Estate – only to find it’s teeming with magical creatures, and not all of them friendly.

The first book The Field Guide was published in 2003, and in it the siblings discover Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You which helps them navigate angry brownies, vengeful goblins and shapeshifting ogres in the books that follow.

The first series is made up of five books, and Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles comprises three further books with a new cast of characters. Released in 2008, The Spiderwick Chronicles film is loosely based on the first five books.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner series will appeal to Young Adult readers and sci-fi fans. Thomas wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world, knowing nothing about his past life – all he knows is he has to continually run through a dangerous maze if he wants to survive.

Readers are drip-fed information about the terrifying world outside the maze, with each book – The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure – revealing more at each action-packed turn. Once you’ve enjoyed the three books, there are two prequel novels and three films based on the original series.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman published the first instalment of her Noughts & Crosses series in 2001, and it’s a must-read for any young adult. Set in an alternate reality where Africans have colonised Europe, it raises questions of racism, bias and discrimination as the white ‘Noughts’ are the lesser class while the darker skinned ‘Crosses’ are prosperous and successful.

At its core is the taboo relationship between Sephy, a Cross, and Nought Callum. The following books – Knife Edge, Checkmate, Double Cross and 2019’s Crossfire – continue to build the world around them, and in 2020 the first book was adapted into a BBC series.