Stories have been driving the cultural wheel forward since the dawn of time. But some leave a stronger impression than others. Today, we are going to look at 5 children’s book series that have become a cultural phenomenon.
These stories have become references in other movies, TV series, and even music. Here are 5 epic stories that you probably hear about a lot even if you haven’t read them.
1. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series has come a long way since the release of its first part in 1997. With 7 books, 8 original arc movies, and a 5 part spin off in the Fantastic Beasts series it has become a subculture in itself.
If you have still not read the books or seen the movies, now is a good time to find out what the hype is about.
The book series has now launched the world of magic and wonder for children and adults alike, with merchandising stores earning around $26 million in 15 months. Harry Potter references make their way into internet content, fan fiction, and even other popular movies like Avengers: Infinity War. This series is a must-know for anyone who wants to have a few conversation starters up their sleeves.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Released in 1950, this book series took quite some time to become a cultural asset of the literary world. With 3 movies that were produced at a total cost of $560 million, the series broke records back in the day with a total box office of close to $1.6 billion.
The magical world of Narnia has since been heavily merchandised and there has been a lot of fan fiction around it. It has been a part of several TV references made in popular shows like F.r.i.e.n.d.s, X-Men: Evolution, Lost, and Doctor Who.
Today, its cult status is celebrated by millions as they await the next blockbuster in the series.
3. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
This book has now become an extended universe in itself as The Lord of the Rings series got its own Hobbit prequel. As one of the most enriched high-fantasy franchises, this series and its writer has become an inspiration for all people who dream to write about worlds unknown.
Tolkien’s literary impact on science and culture is undeniable. In 2003, when scientists discovered the Homo floresiensis, a competitor to us (Homo sapiens), they nicknamed the smaller species as Hobbits to explain their physical stature to the public!
In fact, The Lord of the Rings film series is one of the highest grossing ever made, reaching almost $3 billion for 3 films in total.
4. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
When English author Lewis Carroll started Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 Victorian England, little did he know that he was creating a world that would fascinate people centuries later.
The four-book series follows the story of Alice, a little girl and how she explores a hidden magical world, meeting new people and going on adventures. It has been adapted on various mediums since, from comic strips to movies.
Tim Burton’s take on the story started with Alice in Wonderland (2010) and starred Hollywood icon Johnny Depp as Tarrant Hightopp. The film was a critical and commercial success, being nominated for several awards and grossing over $1 billion.
It’s 2016 sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass also did fairly in the box office.
A beloved series worldwide, it has found mentions in songs by Radiohead and Beatles and has added words and phrases like ‘jabberwocky’ and ‘wonderland’ to common English usage.
5. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Originally published in 2008, The Hunger Games is a teen novel series that follows the story Katniss Everdeen in her battles in a dystopian world with unconventional entertainment.
The trilogy has 3 books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.
The series was divided into 4 films, 1 each for the first 2 novels, and a 2-part ending for the last. With the 3 films being made on a meagre budget of around $281 million, the series raked in over 10 times, with a total box office gross of $2.981 billion.
Today, both the series and its films have influenced pop culture with its enlightened quotes like “[Hope] is the only thing stronger than fear.”
These are our 5 picks for book series that turned into pop culture and rooted references all around us, sometimes even without our noticing. If you have always been wondering what the hype was about, now is a good time to start reading/ watching our picks to find out!
If you enjoyed reading this blog, we also suggest you read 5 Must-Watch Hidden Gems for Movie Night with family.