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Earthmerlin

Children's French must-reads

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Hi. I am raising my 6 year old daughter with English, Spanish & French. I'd like to compile a list of 'not to miss' French children's books for us to read--books that nearly all Francophone children would know growing up. Any suggestions?

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If you really want to share the culture, French kids love BDs (bandes dessinées)- Asterix et Obelix, les Stroumphs, Tintin...

 

Not a lot of children's lit, but Le Petit Prince is one that can be read at any and all ages.  

 

Le Petit Nicolas (and sequels) is a must-read.  

 

With a French friend of mine, we are trying to put together a scope and sequence for French Lit through 8th grade, and another for high school.  When we're done, I will be posting it on this board.  So keep checking back!

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With a French friend of mine, we are trying to put together a scope and sequence for French Lit through 8th grade, and another for high school.  When we're done, I will be posting it on this board.  So keep checking back!

 

That would be wonderful!

Don't forget to take a look at the contents table of:

A mots Contes

Jardin des Lettres

Terre des Lettres

 

They may inspire you :)

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Have alook at Bibliotheque Rose books (I think it is Hachette), there are lots of classics.

 

At six, in addition to loads of BDs and all the Petit Nicolas books, DS was a big fan of Oui-Oui and Jojo Lapin(Enid Blyton, translated from English) and the classic Martine series of books.

Edited by bibiche

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Have alook at Bibliotheque Rose books (I think it is Hachette), there are lots of classics.

 

At six, in addition to loads of BDs and all the Petit Nicolas books, DS was a big fan of Oui-Oui and Jojo Lapin(Enid Blyton, translated from English) and the classic Martine series of books.

Yes, she adores Martine! We've got all the Martine audiobooks & have listened to them endlessly. We have many French Monsieur/Madame books too, which crack her up.

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Yes, she adores Martine! We've got all the Martine audiobooks & have listened to them endlessly. We have many French Monsieur/Madame books too, which crack her up.

I will certainly look at the Hachette resource you mentioned.

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If you really want to share the culture, French kids love BDs (bandes dessinées)- Asterix et Obelix, les Stroumphs, Tintin...

 

Not a lot of children's lit, but Le Petit Prince is one that can be read at any and all ages.

 

Le Petit Nicolas (and sequels) is a must-read.

 

With a French friend of mine, we are trying to put together a scope and sequence for French Lit through 8th grade, and another for high school. When we're done, I will be posting it on this board. So keep checking back!

Yes, thanks for the ideas. I am thinking she might be interested in the Smurfs now--she seems to gravitate towards small creatures. We watched the film Petit Nicholas & it was ok for her but I've got the 1st audiobook so that may grab her attention a bit more. I also have Le Petit Prince--both in book & CD--& cannot wait to share it with her this summer--I love that story! I'll try Tintin again--we have some lying around here somewhere....

 

I will definitely keep an eye out for your list.....

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I might hold off a bit on Tintin. Lucky Luke, Boule et Bill, and Marsupilami are probably better for younger children (in addition to the Schtroumpfs and Asterix). DS also enjoyed Gaston Lagaffe and Achille Talon at that age, though I often wondered if he got all of the jokes in the latter.

 

Don't forget Babar! And she might be old enough for some Gripari and of course Comtesse de Ségur.

 

Looks as if they have "modernized" the old bibliotheque rose series. If you scroll down on the linked page it will take you to older titles. Not great books, necessarily, but something that little French kids read (um, or used to. Maybe now they all read the newer titles. But, no, I am not having my kid read Hannah Montana, in French or in any other language!).

 

https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblioth%C3%A8que_rose

Edited by bibiche

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I might hold off a bit on Tintin. Lucky Luke, Boule et Bill, and Marsupilami are probably better for younger children (in addition to the Schtroumpfs and Asterix). DS also enjoyed Gaston Lagaffe and Achille Talon at that age, though I often wondered if he got all of the jokes in the latter.

 

Don't forget Babar! And she might be old enough for some Gripari and of course Comtesse de Ségur.

 

Looks as if they have "modernized" the old bibliotheque rose series. If you scroll down on the linked page it will take you to older titles. Not great books, necessarily, but something that little French kids read (um, or used to. Maybe now they all read the newer titles. But, no, I am not having my kid read Hannah Montana, in French or in any other language!).

 

https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblioth%C3%A8que_rose

Thanks for the additional titles. We have a nice audio book of Babar that we both like so I've requested other Babar titles from the local library. I will look into the other leads you mentioned, merci.

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If you really want to share the culture, French kids love BDs (bandes dessinées)- Asterix et Obelix, les Stroumphs, Tintin...

 

Not a lot of children's lit, but Le Petit Prince is one that can be read at any and all ages.

 

Le Petit Nicolas (and sequels) is a must-read.

 

With a French friend of mine, we are trying to put together a scope and sequence for French Lit through 8th grade, and another for high school. When we're done, I will be posting it on this board. So keep checking back!

Any update on this list?

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To pass the time during a dull class at my (French) university long ago, I conducted a totally informal survey on this subject. I passed a questionnaire around the lecture hall for several weeks and asked my classmates to jot down all the titles of "classics" from their childhood that came to mind, the books that most influenced them or that felt like a fundamental part of their cultural identity. On this list of hundreds of books, there were only a few by French-language authors, such as L'enfant et la rivière (by Bosco I think), Les lettres de mon moulin, Le petit prince, La petite Fadette (George Sand), Le petit Nicolas, a few by the Comtesse de Ségur, and a Jules Verne or two. The rest were all works in translation from German, English or a few other languages that have been so popular for a few generations that the average French person doesn't even realize these books weren't originally in French. I just remember seeing a lot of Enid Blyton books (Famous Five--or le Club des Cinq), Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, A Little Princess, Heidi, Pippi Longstocking (Fifi Brindacier), books by Michael Ende (German author--Neverending Story, Momo, Jim Button, I mean L'histoire sans fin and Jim Bouton), Tom Sawyer, The Hobbit, White Fang (Croc blanc) or other Jack London books, Mon bel oranger (a Brazilian book, original title: Meu pé de laranja lima), TONS of Roald Dahl books, etc. I think that if I asked the same question of a lecture hall full of French students today there would also be a lot of Harry Potter, Droon, La cabane magique (Magic Treehouse)... Most of the Bibliothèque Rose books are translations from American or English series (series about magic ballet slippers, magic talking kittens, horse-themed series, and so on) and are wildly popular with pre-adolescent girls. 

 

My list is probably not going to be very helpful to you. Anyway, just trying to let you know that non-French works in translation are OK if you want to give your daughter a thorough French cultural-linguistic background. Otherwise you'll have trouble finding huge quantities of great childhood literature in French. It is a smaller publishing market than the English-language one, for example, so it makes financial sense to translate authors who are already successful in English rather than supporting new authors writing in French, and children's literature is has historically been less of a cultural priority than in German-speaking countries, for example, or in many other countries, as far as I can tell. A large portion of the picture books for smaller children in our local library's children's section are Japanese. There are many Swedish writers as well. 

 

For earlier childhood reading, not novels, it seemed that what they all remembered most were Belgian and French bandes dessinées (BD), like those mentioned in the other replies above. Lucky Luke, Boule et Bill, Astérix, Tintin, Gaston Lagaffe, Titeuf... I'm probably the only person in France to feel this way but I can't bear them for various reasons, drawing styles I find ugly, blatant sexism/racism/colonialism, crudeness, or finding them just plain boring, but my French husband grew up with them and turned out to be a lovely person anyway, with fond memories of all these BD, and they are definitely part of a typical French childhood experience if that's what you're seeking. 

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