10 books that all French kids LOVE to read (and it’s not The Little Prince!)

When I moved to the US seven years ago, little did I know I would become a mom and be raising my kids half a world from where I grew up. And little did I know how much I would spend shipping books from France all the way to Pennsylvania so I could read to my kids every day in my native language!

When we started getting invitations to kids’ birthday parties, I decided to share my culture and gift well known books in France that are little known in the US. Every kid loved them, so, despite me not being the greatest English writer, I thought about sharing some of my favorites on this blog: here, mesdames et messieurs,  is the ultimate lists of books that French kids love reading and that you probably never heard of.

1. My Valley, by Claude Ponti. I always introduce Claude Ponti as the « French Dr Seuss », because of the puns and inventiveness. Ponti’s world is deep, poetic and full of details. Some of his drawings are pure art, and I framed pages of My Valley to display in my son’s room. This is my favorite title in English, but DeZert Isle is also a good one. Claude Ponti wrote almost one hundred books and not enough of them have been translated in English! (but I must say that the translation is very challenging!) (4 to 99 year-old).

2. Pomelo begins to grow: Pomelo is a tiny pink elephant with a loooong trunk who lives in a garden. The universe of Ramona Badescu and Benjamin Chayd is very poetic et layered. Pomelo begins to grow is a great book to read with preschool kids because it deals with all the questions related to growing up. Although the translation is not perfect, I’d love to see other books of the series published in English! (3 to 8 year old).

3. Poppy and Mozart: one of a great series of sound books. Poppy and Mozart is my favorite book of the series because Poppy walks in Paris during “la fête de la musique”, a yearly event in France that takes place every June 21st where everybody is allowed (actually urged!) to play music in the streets. My son started playing with the musical books of Poppy as young as 2-year-old. Other titles include: Poppy and Vivaldi, Poppy and the Orchestra, Poppy and the Brass Band (Magali Le Huche, 2 to 6 year old).

4. I love you always: I’m a sucker for books like “Love you forever” or “Guess how much I love you”. “I love you always” is another great one about unconditional love, that always bring tears when I read it with my kids (Astrid Desbordes and Pauline Martin, 3 to 8 year old).

5. The Wolf Who Travels Back in Time: this wolf is not your usual fairy tale animal but a character cherished by all French kids (you can find cute little figurines in every bookstores). His adventures have a prodigious way of expending the world we live in while helping children grow up. Other great titles are: The Wolf Who Visited Fairy Tales, The Wolf Who Celebrated his Birthday, and The Wolf Who Wanted to Change His Color (Orianne Lallemand and Éléonore Thuillier, 4 to 8 year old).

6. I walked with Vanessa: a book about bullying, the power of kindness and the strength of standing up for one another. We loved another series by the same illustrator, Les Tchouks, but unfortunately, the books haven’t been translated yet (wink wink to any kids’ book editor reading this page) (Kerascoët , 4 to 10 year old).

7. Shhh! I’m Sleeping: a book about dog pals, friendship and the night routine. The author Dorothée de Monfreid wrote and illustrated several books featuring the same dog characters: A Day with Dogs is the perfect book for all dog-lover kiddos! And you might already be familiar with another one of her best sellers, Dark Night (2 to 6 year old).

8. Big Wolf and Little Wolf: the story of how a little wolf tame a solitary one living under a tree at the top of a hill. It’s about friendship, it’s about caring, it’s about what matters in life. Big Wolf and Little Wolf relationship evolves in other titles such as The little Leaf That Wouldn’t Fall and Such a Beautiful Orange! I hold a special feeling for that book because as a kid, I took a writing workshop with Nadine Brun-Cosme which ended in a published book about the friendship between a little boy and a wolf! (3 to 8 year old).

9. That’s Mine!: a book about jungle animals, proprietorship, and justice. The repetition will make your kid laugh, and the ending is just perfect. Your kid will never say “that’s mine!” the same way! (2 to 6 year old).

10. I Want Spaghetti!: Stephanie Blake’s little bunny is hilarious and his adventurous are irreverently relevant to every kid’s life. A must have for every French Family! Other titles includes: Super Bunny, Poop-di-doop! , I Don’t Want to Go to School, I Can’t Sleep (3 to 6 year old).

Voilà 😉 I didn’t include The Little Prince in the list, but of course, you’ll probably find it on every bookshelf in France! (Although I consider it a reading for older kids (6+)).

In the same series:

7 board games that French preschoolers absolutely LOVE!

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Papi Mujo
4 années il y a

Pour ce coup là, je n’ai rien compris à ce blog…

4 années il y a

Poo-di-doop, ça n’a quand même pas la même force d’évocation que CACA BOUDIN !

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