Books, Current Events

6 Award-Winning Movies Based on Books: The Magic of Animation

So, do you watch the Oscars? My answer: I don’t anymore. I used to, a few years ago (maybe more than a few). However, of late, award shows and similar seem to have lost their charm for me. But please do let me know if that charm is back on! Anyways, movies based on books appeal to me just a teeny bit more! So I bring you one such list today. This list of animated movies – 6 award-winning movies based on books – includes both the shorts and the full-length animated features.

The early years of the awards (1930s/40s) included many shorts based on popular fables and picture books. Some of them were Three Little Pigs (Disney), The Tortoise and the Hare (Disney), and Ferdinand the Bull. Since there are way too many to choose from, I focused on the movies and shorts from 2001 onwards. That was the year that the Academy Awards initiated the Animated Feature category. Plus, I am focusing on the Academy Awards at this time, so as to not go down numerous rabbit holes!!

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So here are the

6 Award-Winning Movies Based on Books

Great Award-Winning Animated Shorts Based on Books

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo animated short won the award in 2010. It is based on The Gruffalo written by Julia Donaldson(of The Room on the Broom) and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. I recall reading this adorable book about clever courage a few years ago. It reminded me of some Aesop’s fables as well as The Jataka Tales.

What makes this a must read book?

  • cute and clever protagonist
  • just-enough scary setting of a monstered-forest
  • rhyming narrative that begs to be read aloud
  • and really adorable illustrations.

As for the movie, it premiered on BBC One in the UK on December 25, 2009. I watched it a few years ago with the kids when they were younger. It was certainly an adorable family watch then (as I am sure will be even now).

Get the book on Amazon. And if you are in the US, you can rent the movie on Apple TV and YouTube among other sources. Or get the DVD for yourself here.

The Lost Thing

I read one of Shaun Tan’s books (The Artist’s Notebook) years ago. The first thing that struck my mind was “Cool!”

I recalled hearing about The Lost Thing on radio (NPR) before I saw the movie or read the book. This short film won the Academy Award in 2011. And that radio snippet prompted me to do both – read The Lost Thing and watch the movie.

I simply loved them both – the book and the movie. Why? And what makes them a must-read/watch?

  • unusual
  • cool
  • warm (as in heartwarming)
  • and without appearing to be so, so very profound too.

The story follows a young boy who discovers a strange creature on the beach. It appears lost and kind of sad. He then tries to help the creature find its home. You can watch the trailer below and watch the movie on Indie Flix Shorts via Amazon Prime.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse

Now, this year’s winner! Another stunning, powerful read and movie as well. It is amazing how much can be conveyed in so little, once again proving the power of picture books and also the magic of movies! I first saw the book a few months ago. At the time, it caught my eye for its stunningly beautiful and sweet cover design. Then, in between binge-watching Ted Lasso and Severance, I watched the movie adaptation on Apple TV. And it is no surprise that it won the award.

Why is this a must-read/must-watch? The below goes for both the book by Charlie Mackesy and the movie:

  • Sweet and insightful,
  • silly and profound,
  • heartwarming
  • nothing and everything
  • and of course, stunningly beautiful

There is another version of the book adapted from the movie, which is also totally worth it.

Wonderful Animated Features Winners Based on Books


Shrek was the first winner of the Academy Award’s Animated Feature Film category – in 2001. It is based on William Steig’s book of the same name.

Have you read the book? If not, do read it now. Why? For it is

  • delightfully wile
  • LOL inducing too
  • a rhyming romp of a book
  • worth it for the writing
  • a book with artwork that complements the whole
  • totally fun to read
  • different enough from the movie where you know that the movie was based on this book, but needs to be read as it is, well, different!

If you have not already watched this movie (and I am guessing you very likely have, and maybe like us, all the movies in the series, and maybe a few times too!), you can watch it on Prime (US).


Disney’s Frozen is loosely based on of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic favorite The Snow Queen. Andersen’s original is pretty different from Frozen (you can watch it on Disney+ or get a copy for yourself) but you can easily see the inspiration Disney “drew” from this fairy tale.

I have read The Snow Queen many times over the years (from when I was a little girl) and it never fails to tug at heartstrings each and every time. Why is it a must-read?

  • simply because…

One stunning edition of The Snow Queen is Lesley Barne’s illustrated version that has popups making it totally worthy of adding it to home libraries everywhere.

And Frozen, well, of course, that is one of those movies we all love to watch over and over again

  • so you can sing that song … you know which one(s)….:)
  • O-laf a lot
  • and well, all the reasons each of us love it for.


Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is this year’s winner of the Academy Awards for the animated feature category, and my son and I watched it together over the holidays. A reimagined adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio influenced by Gris Grimly’s illustrated version of the original, Toro’s Pinocchio is set in Italy around the beginning of WWII.

Related Reads

And Now, the End of This Post

Which of these books/movies have you read/watched? And which one is your favorite?

9 thoughts on “6 Award-Winning Movies Based on Books: The Magic of Animation

  1. These are so cute! I never heard of The Gruffalo (even though it came out in 2010 – guess I’m very behind) but that looks like such a cute one to watch with my nieces and nephews! I love these options that are good for the whole family and hope hollywood makes more! (shrek is always a classic)

  2. Love this reading! I have watched just some of them, not all. But now I want to read these books too. Shrek & Frozen and my kids all time favorite. Thank you for sharing

  3. Ha – what a cool list! I actually know only half of the books you’ve listed – from Shrek onward 😉 As a matter of fact, this reminds me of a really nice event we used to have in Hamburg: The animation award. Creators sent their films in and got awards in various categories and it was highly creative and very inspiring. Obviously, it fell victim to Covid 🙁 But now I have your list 😉

  4. I haven’t seen most of it! Saving for later for sure. I did watch Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio for sure, it was impossible to miss and it is a masterpiece. The way he told the story made me re-think and re-feel the very familiar story I had never had any sort of soft or warm feelings before.

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