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13 books to read before they're movies in 2016

“The Jungle Book,” “The Little Prince,”& “Allegiant” and “The BFG” are just a few of the children’s book being made into movies that will be released in 2016. (Common Sense Media/TNS)
“The Jungle Book,” “The Little Prince,”& “Allegiant” and “The BFG” are just a few of the children’s book being made into movies that will be released in 2016. (Common Sense Media/TNS) TNS

From sweet children's classics to edge-of-your seat dystopian thrillers to swoon-worthy romances, movie adaptations of kids' and teen books in 2016 are likely to be big box-office draws for families. If you or your kids like to read 'em before you see 'em, here's a list to help you get ready between January and next Christmas.

1. 'The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey (in theaters Jan. 15; targeted to teens)

An alien invasion has killed most of humanity in this intense science-fiction adventure set during the invasion's aftermath. But the invaders are planning a new level of treachery that threatens to destroy every last human survivor.

2. 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,' by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (in theaters Feb. 5; targeted to teens)

The five Bennet sisters aren't just looking for husbands, they're also slaying zombies in this entertaining mash-up of Austen's classic novel and tongue-in-cheek horror.

3. 'The Choice,' by Nicholas Sparks (in theaters Feb. 5; targeted to teens)

Two next-door neighbors in North Carolina - local veterinarian Travis and newly arrived physician's assistant Gabby - butt heads over a dog. Then they fall for each other. The only snag: She's already got a long time boyfriend. "The Choice" is by the author of "The Notebook," so you might want to stock up on tissues.

4. 'The Great Gilly Hopkins,' by Katherine Paterson (in theaters Feb. 19; targeted to kids)

Gilly Hopkins is one tough cookie - she beats up boys and terrorizes her teachers and foster parents. But she meets her match in Mrs. Trotter, whose strongest weapon is unconditional love.

5. 'Me Before You,' by Jojo Moyes (in theaters March 4; targeted to teens)

A girl in a tiny English town becomes the caretaker of an adventurer who was left a quadriplegic after an accident. He's bent on assisted suicide, while she aims to give him something to live for.

6. 'The Little Prince,' by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (in theaters March 18; targeted to kids)

This classic fable about a pilot who encounters a planet-hopping prince in the Sahara Desert is a lyrical meditation on love and friendship.

7. 'Allegiant: Divergent, Book 3,' by Veronica Roth (in theaters March 18; targeted to teens)

This final installment in the Divergent series picks up where "Insurgent" left off.

8. 'The Jungle Book,' by Rudyard Kipling (in theaters April 15; targeted to kids)

Rudyard Kipling's book of short stories "The Jungle Book" is far less whimsical (and musical) than Disney's classic animated film, and it includes stories with central characters other than Mowgli, the "mancub" raised by wolves and befriended by Baloo the bear. These wonderful stories, which alternate with lyrical poems about the characters, depict a complex and sometimes dangerous natural world in which creatures must respect the "ways of the jungle" in order to coexist.

9. 'The BFG,' by Roald Dahl (in theaters July 1; targeted to kids)

A popular choice for beginning chapter-book readers, "The BFG" is a fun fantasy about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) who prowls British streets blowing dreams into children's minds. After he plucks young Sophie out of her orphanage, she hatches a plan for him to stop the not-friendly giants who eat children. Steven Spielberg is directing the movie.

10. 'Tarzan of the Apes,' by Edgar Rice Burroughs (in theaters July 1; targeted to teens)

The first book in the multi-volume Tarzan series introduces readers to an English boy raised by apes in the African jungle after his parents are killed. The original novel, while viewed as a classic, features lurid human and animal violence, as well as racial and gender stereotypes that make it ripe for discussion from our 21st-century perspective.

11. 'Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life,' by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (in theaters Oct. 7; targeted to kids)

This irreverent story of middle school life centers on Rafe, a boy who becomes the target of a bully. He develops a strong friendship with Leo, whose drawings enliven the pages and add to the appeal for reluctant readers.

12. 'A Monster Calls,' by Patrick Ness (in theaters Oct. 17; targeted to teens)

A giant yew tree haunts a boy dealing with his mother's terminal illness in this moving story of love and loss. Menacing but also protective, fierce, and funny, the tree makes young Conor's pain more bearable by giving him something tangible to fight against.

13. 'Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them,' by J.K. Rowling (in theaters Nov. 18; targeted to kids)

Rowling's short book (adapted as "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them") purports to be a Hogwarts textbook that describes various beasts and dragons but doesn't tell a story. For the film, Rowling wrote an original story about Scamander's adventures in New York's secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter first arrived at Hogwarts.

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at http://www.commonsense.org(c)2016 Common Sense Media

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