You decide to learn French! You have signed up for a course in a language school to study French! But the lessons are not enough and you want to learn more French! Why not start reading! Students often ask their teacher what the most popular French books are. If you love reading books in your mother tongue, then you'll like to do so in French and in addition, you will improve your vocabulary and grammar at the same time.
You are convinced by the idea, but you don’t know where to start!!! You are studying French already but you think that reading books in French will be too difficult for you? The rest of this article should provide you with interesting facts…
French books for beginners
1. The significant advantages of reading books in French
- Literature helps traveling through space and time and helps use imagination.
- Literature helps to discover civilizational aspects, essential when learning French (customs, lifestyle, idioms, etc.)
- You’ll discover literature and French authors (or French speaking) “in French through text,” which is more rewarding than discovering them through translations.
- If you have a visual memory, that is to say that you remember better information you see with your own eyes, then reading should allow you to set certain rules of spelling and grammar. After seeing some written words many times, you will remember them easily. It is a good activity to study French while having fun!
2. Some advised French books for beginners
1 / Le Petit Nicolas, by Rene Goscinny
A great classic to study French, quite old it’s but never the less not gone out of fashion. It’s funny and sweet and will take you into a world of childhood.
Nicolas is a little boy who loves school, especially during the school brakes. In the school, he meets yard his classmates Alceste, Geoffrey, Eudes, Joachim ,Maixent, Rufus, Clotaire and even Agnan who revises his lessons in a corner. Their supervisor, Bouillon, does not understand that if they fight, it is better to laugh. In class, the teacher, who is very nice, is often overwhelmed, although these little devils are usually well behaved!
Nicolas has a father and a mother who sometimes fight but always make up after. He does not understand why his father gets angry each time he gets a package from “mémé”, his mother’s mother, although it is always a nice gift! As for holidays, weather it is off in a kid’s camp or with family, Nicolas quickly makes lots of new friends, with who he has so much fun.
He sure has a lot of things to tell Marie Hedwig, the neighbour’s daughter. Usually he does not like girls because they cry all the time (it also happens Nicolas cries, but only for real reasons) and they don’t like to play real, proper fun games. But with Marie-Edwige it’s different; he likes her. She is rather pretty with her blond hair and blue eyes.
This book will allow you to dive into a child’s world and learn every day French phrases as if you were with a host family.
2/ Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
This is a very nice French book which you can read after having studied French for a year. The writing is simple, the book, very short. It is very easy and quick to read, making it accessible to beginners. It is a small novel by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, which was also released in film.
M. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran is the fictional autobiography of the life of a young Parisian, whose parents are separated and he lives with his father. The author thus tells the childhood of Bruno Abraham Kremer, and the discovery of his “grandfather” Ibrahim, who runs the local grocery store. The only role in the book is held by Momo, adult, remembering his childhood.
A small French book that offers a reading full of sensitivity, and that makes you feel good.
3/ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you trust Saint-Exupéry’s beliefs, “The Little Prince” is a French children’s book written for grownups. His reading levels provide fun and reflection topics to readers of all ages and can help you learn French.
The author, who here is an aviator, falls, with his plane, in the middle of the Sahara desert. While he tries to repair his machine, a little boy appears and asks him to draw a sheep. This little boy is none other than the “Little Prince“, and comes from an asteroid B612 where he left three volcanoes and a rose. This little guy meets numerous new people and discovers various feelings with great emphasis on love and friendship.
This French book is written with minimalist vocabulary, which allows beginners to read it understanding what it is about. The advantage of this book is that it can be read at all levels because the more you study and learn French, the more you understand the intricacies of this French book.
4/ Friday or wildlife, by Michel Tournier
A wonderful novel for children! Adventure, escape and dream. Friday or the Wildlife is a French book by Michel Tournier published in 1971 and which is perfectly suited for beginners.
It’s inspired by the book of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. It’s a child adaptation of his book Friday or limbo Pacific. It’s the simple and fascinating story of a man on a desert island in the Pacific. This French book overviews the complex issues and differences between civilization, solitude, time and relationship with nature.
Special editions of this book exist to help it‘s comprehension with fun tests, questions about the book and small quizzes. A good way to study and learn French as if you were a French child, deepening his first reading.
5/ Specialized CLE International publisher
Like these little books that offer fun pages to help French children learn, there are editions in the CLE International a collection called “CLE Readings in simple French“, which offer 67 stories by classic authors. This way these French books are available for beginners: the original works are adapted to make them accessible to learners of the French language.
Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, French … all great writers are represented. The books are classified into four levels of difficulty based on the number of words (level 1-4) French the lowest number being for beginners and the highest for advanced levels,. They cost less than 5 euros. Some are even sold with an audio version.
Now that you have no more doubt about the benefits of reading French for your French learning experience, all you need to do is run to the library to by one, or more! So, ready, steady… Books!