Beyond Disney: 5 Phenomenal Animated Films for Families

Beyond Disney: 5 Phenomenal Animated Films for Families

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Kids can survive forever on a diet of Frozen, Moana and Wreck-It Ralph, but adults — for the sake of our sanity — sometimes want to switch it up.

So with all due respect to the Mouse House, here are five animated films your kids can enjoy on movie night … or, you know, whenever you need an 80-minute distraction so you can clean, cook or otherwise adult.

By less than coincidence, all of these movies are available to stream with Kanopy, which is free with a Mentor Public Library card. Your local library may offer it, as well, and it’s worth checking.

  1. Eleanor’s Secret

Nat – a 7-year-old boy and hesitant reader – goes on a remarkable adventure along with the characters that populate his eccentric Aunt Eleanor’s library. Peter Pan, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Puss in Boots, Pinocchio and Red Riding Hood help Nat survive his journey.

Great for young kids. Think of it as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the elementary school set.

  1. Ernest & Celestine

Celestine (mouse, artist and dreamer) and Ernest (bear, musician and curmudgeon) form an unlikely friendship. They live happily in seclusion until Ernest is put on trial for crimes against rodents.

Recognized at Cannes; nominated for an Academy Award; adorable.

  1. Mia and the Migoo

Mia travels into the wilds of the rainforest when her father disappears while helping build a luxury resort there. Meanwhile, the resort owner is terrified of enormous footprints his workers find at the building site.

A colorful and whimsical quest with environmental themes that will be familiar to fans of Hayao Miyazaki.

  1. Zarafa

An escaped slave, Maki, and an orphaned giraffe, Zarafa, flee from those who would take their freedom. Inspired by the true story of the first giraffe to visit France.

Nominated for awards at the Annecy, Annie and Cesar film festival.

  1. The Secret of Kells

Brendan lives in the abbey of Kells, surrounded by walls and hounded by the omnipresent fear of Vikings. His world is a small one, by design. Then two separate visitors arrive and stretch his world – a changeling named Aisling and Brother Aidan, illuminator of the Book of Iona.

An animated film with a singular style, influenced by the legendary Book of Kells. Nominated for an Academy Award.

Kells has a few moments that might scare younger children. Use your own discretion.

Visit Kanopy Kids for more educational and entertaining TV shows and movies that you can stream for free with your library card.

About the author

Jason Lea has a son, daughter, and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He uses his nonexistent free time writing about parenting for Northeast Ohio Parent magazine. You can tweet him @jasonmarklea. Or not. You're grown and can make your own choices.

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