The Guardians of Ga’Hoole book and movie

by 5 Minutes for Books

Do you recognize this owl? It’s Soren, one of the owls featured in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole. If your older elementary aged child enjoys animal stories, fantasy, or adventure, he or she has likely read these books (or would like to). This week the movie opens, and in honor of that I was able to do an exclusive interview with the Newbery honor author, Kathryn Lasky.

Jennifer, 5 Minutes for Mom: Why do you think that kids relate to personified animal stories?

Kathryn Lasky: Well, that’s an interesting question. I think possibly it’s the slight displacement, a sense of remove. This is somewhat ironic I realize—that kids can connect with something that is not human, but I feel that the very fact that it’s an animal gives them a distance from which to really see and begin to understand on another level.

5M4M: How is writing a story about animals the same for you, and how is it different from writing about people?

KL: In some ways writing about people is much more interesting just from the point of view of human facial expressions and body language. Animals don’t really smile or laugh out loud, or roll their eyes in dismay. So their range of expression seems limited for an author. How do you convey those feelings? And make no mistake I am writing a lot about creatures’ feelings be they owls or wolves. All animals do have certain behaviors that suggest emotions. Owls for example can make themselves very long and skinny when they are frightened or wish to camouflage themselves while waiting for prey and just blend into the landscape. Wolves have a rich range of body postures for indicating interactions between high ranking wolves and lower ranking ones, as well as threat and submission stances. Their tails are very indicative of their mental state. So I just have to exploit these elements of any animal’s body language as much as possible.

5M4M: How involved were you in the making of the film?

KL: I was involved to a limited extent. I made three trips to Los Angeles to discuss the movie both before the screenwriter and director were hired and then after. The screenwriter John Orloff called me throughout the process to consult with me on the screenplay. He was terrific—open to ideas, really probing me on how I viewed certain plot elements, characters, etc. I knew there were changes that would have to be made, for a movie is not a book. But I was very comfortable how he and Zack Snyder the director handled these changes. A complete screenplay was sent to me maybe eighteen months ago and I read it and wrote an extensive memo concerning things that I felt needed some adjusting and they really incorporated most of my changes. Zack, John and the producers Lionel Wigram and Donald De Line were very attentive to my suggestions—all of them good listeners.

5M4M: Seeing a story play out on screen is so different from reading it. What impresses you about the visual elements of the movie?

KL: I suppose the thing that most impresses me about the film in general, but especially visually, is the integrity of the filmmakers. There is so much 3D being used these days –sometimes gratuitously. They will shoot something in 2D than lay on 3D after the fact. Zack Snyder from the very start conceived this film as 3D. As Zack put it in an interview recently “3D was in the very fabric of the story.” It was natural to the story. These are birds. They are flying and one yearns to fly with them. Every since I can remember I have had dreams of flight. I think subconsciously that was a deep impulse for me to write this series—I wanted to fly. So for me in a funny way seeing the movie was not so different from the primal dreams that inspired me to write the books. The footage is absolutely spectacular. The scene when Soren flies through a gale with his mentor Ezylryb is some of the most breathtaking footage I have ever seen on a screen.

It all feels so incredible. For nearly ten years I have lived with these characters’ voices in my head and now to hear them and hear them voiced by such great actors like Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Sam Neil, Geoffrey is overwhelming to me. I started crying. All I could think was ‘all this stuff in my head for so long and now it’s out there.’ This is strange to say but I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys! Warner Bros and the people at Animal Logic the animation studio in Sydney Australia –all of the creators of this movie from the producers, the director, the writers and the actors have remained so faithful to the spirit of the books and the characters.


Find out more about the book series, the movie, and the author Kathryn Lasky at the Scholastic Guardians site.

In honor of the movie’s release on September 24, we have a special giveaway for TWO of you (U.S. residents only):

We will announce the winners on October 4, here in the weekly 5 Minutes for Books column.

The winner of the $50 Visa card on the Spacedheadz by Jon Scieszka post is #16 katklaw777.

Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Noreen September 20, 2010 at 12:16 am

my girls saw this preview and want to go


2 tree September 20, 2010 at 7:29 am

How do i enter? i read this series to my boy. The books are fantastic, we are very excited about the movie coming out and can’t wait to see it!



3 Katie September 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

Looks like a great movie!


4 AutumH September 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

This movie looks really good. My boys really want to check out the books and I think it would be a wonderful film to see as a family.


5 Joanne Erenberg September 20, 2010 at 9:46 am

The animation in this movie looks amazing. I would love to take my boys and read them the book


6 Wendy M September 20, 2010 at 10:15 am

My youngest son wants to see this movie. Every time we see the preview he reminds me that we must go see it.


7 LT September 20, 2010 at 10:25 am

I am excited about going to see this move with my kids! I know we would enjoy the book too!!


8 Amber September 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Looks like an interesting movie and I didn’t know it was based on a book – even better! Thanks for a chance to win!


9 Daniel M September 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm

looks like a fun movie, can’t wait to see it!


10 Steph September 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I think the movie looks fantastic and I can’t wait to get the book to read to my kids.


11 shelly September 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm

My son LOVES these books and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go see the movie. Thanks for the chance!


12 nan lara September 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm

looks like a good movie
nannypanpan at


13 Melissa S September 21, 2010 at 12:42 am

Sounds Great!


14 Christine Jensen September 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

I did not know that this was a book series! Sounds fabulous. I would love to read them and bring my older kids to see the movie!!


15 LaVonne September 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

I have not heard of this book or the movie coming out. Thanks for the heads up. :)


16 Katrina September 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I’m the one in this house that wants to see the movie and read the books — though I’m trying to convince my tween that he’d enjoy them, too. :) Thanks for the chance to win!


17 Mami2jcn September 22, 2010 at 8:23 am

My sons would love to see this.


18 Marj M. September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

I would like to watch this movie with my grandkids. I am not familiar with the Fandango Bucks???


19 katklaw777 September 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Just want to say thanks again for the wonderful giveaway I won. Can’t wait to get the next to books on the Hunger Games Trilogy!!!

We luv owls and frogs around here…don’t know why we just do. We can’s wait to see this movie and luv the books.
Thanks for another great giveaway.


20 Staci A September 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I would love to read the book before we see the movie. I’ve heard such great things about the story! Thanks for the chance to enter!


21 Peggy Gorman September 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

This looks amazing and the kids can’t wait to see this magical movie!!
Thanks for the chance


22 Dani September 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for the chance … the movie looked interesting from the preview. Now I might just have to read the book before I go see the movie. I’m definitely the one in the house interested since my little one is a little too little at this point.


23 Carol M September 23, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I would love to give this to my grandchildren! They would really enjoy it!


24 Susan P. September 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm

What a fun movie and prize package!


25 Page Turner (Heather) September 24, 2010 at 12:26 am

I’m usually not interested in 3D movies, but the authors description of feeling like she was flying has me intrigued. We’d love to win this generous prize!


26 Christina September 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

My kids LOVE these books and are already asking to see the movie – we would love to win!


27 Virginia Rae Stubella September 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm

See the Zack Snyder Q&A and more Legend of the Guardians coverage on the September 24th Hollywood Dailies, 6:30PM ET / 3:30PM PT. ReelzChannel is on DirecTV (channel 238), DISH Network (channel 299), and your cable system.


28 Some Lucky Dog September 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Our grandson is so excited to see this movie. We have it marked on our calendar!

someluckydog at gmail dot com


29 mindy September 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm

My daughter is completely in love with anything owl. This movie look very cute even to me.


30 Terra Heck September 25, 2010 at 5:39 am

This looks like a movie my kids would love to see. Thanks.


31 Carrie at In the Hammock Blog September 25, 2010 at 8:51 pm

The movie looks like it is going to be a great version of the books!!

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com



32 Kimberly September 26, 2010 at 5:17 am

This looks like a great movie. My daughter would like this.


33 Idaho Jill September 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm

looks great!


34 sherry H. October 1, 2010 at 9:25 am

I have not read the book or seen movie, but I think my 10 year old would love it!!


35 Carrie, Reading to Know October 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Well, I’d love to have my name tossed in the hat for this one!


36 Steph October 1, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I really want to check out this book and then eventually read it to my kids. Sounds wonderful.


37 Jennifer Rowe October 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I would love to win this for my daughters to share. Thanks for the giveaway, hope I’m entering correctly


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