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The Best French Children’s Books for 3-8 year-olds

This month we’ve asked our French teachers the must-read classical French books for children 3 to 8 years old. Our teachers also gave us their favorite French books, the ones they love and that engage children the most. Teaching your kid French can start with a good classical French book that you can read over and over.

French Teachers recommendations of the Best French children’s Books

Mme Nadia:

In preschool, my must-read French classical books are:

  • Le géant de Zéralda by Tomi Ungerer. This book helps introduce food and cooking vocabulary and has lots of interesting descriptions. The giant appetite of an ogre could only be satisfied by the flesh of children until young Zeralda tamed his taste buds with her culinary art. Great for 5-6 years old (Moyenne et Grande section).
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  • La moufle by Florence Desnouveaux, adapted and illustrated by many authors. It is a story about animals that get bigger and bigger throughout the story and want to enter a mitten lying on the snow… in this book we learn to be polite and honest.
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  • J’aime la galette by Orianne Lallemand. This book revisits the well-known book “Roule galette” by adding to it very original recipes!! Many characters that in the end realize that the best “galette” is the one that is shared with friends.
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Then I really love the series by Geoffrey de Pennard such as “La galette à l’escampette” “Chapeau rond rouge” which are very funny revisited classical books.

A book I particularly enjoy and that kids love is “Chacun sa crotte” by Tara Gomi. Very humorous, it is a beautiful and colorful book which shows that everyone “fait des crottes” and that they are different depending on the animals. It’s funny and a nice idea to introduce the names of many animals…

My other favorites are “Prout de mammouth » by Noé Carlain and Anne Laura Cantone: it’s funny and the illustrations are beautiful. It also instills the sense of rhythm and phonological awareness to children. More appropriate for 5-6 years old (Grande Section).

Mme Sophie:

  • Les trois brigands by Tomi Ungerer: one can look terrifying but have a big heart! A surprising and beautiful story.
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  • John Chatterton détective, by Yvan Pommaux : immerse your child in a private detective universe, a red string  and a tale.
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  • C’est mon arbre, by Olivier Tallec. ”it belongs to me”, “it’s mine”, “it’s my game” …we hear that often as a parent! well in this story this little squirrel doesn’t want to share his tree. Until one day…
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The following ones are not classical books but books that all kids love. I enjoy creating multiple projects around them.

  • « La grenouille à grande bouche » for its repetitive structure and the rhymes
  • « Les dragons adorent les Tacos” It is a book full of humor that kids from all ages love. Complement the book with a fun cooking session which will introduce new vocabulary all while having fun!
  • “La mouette aux croustilles”

Mme Cecile:

For the classical books I think of:

  • Cornebidouille by Pierre Bertrand: humorous, witty, cunning and a soup very hard to eat! We love acting this one out in our theatre cultural workshops.
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  • Pétronille et ses 120 petits by Claude Ponti. The Claude Ponti series immerses its readers in a colorful world full of imagination!
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  • La belle lisse poire du prince de Motordu by Pierre Élie Ferrier, author also known as Pef. More appropriate for 6-7 years old when children learn to read and know some words. Pef’s book is full of humor and puns which you don’t notice the first time so you read it again!
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My favorites (there are so many but I must make choices!)

  • “Quelle horreur!” by Claire Lebourg (my kids have a good laugh every time I read it! Each time Paty the butterfly must paint a friend, it’s a challenge, and it’s funny!)

(themes: arts, self-confidence, animals, humor..)

  • y-a-t-il des ours en Afrique ? » (Themes: friendship, skin, gender, culture, animals for Africa and the Savana, losing your plush animal: children identify themselves, solidarity)
  • L’Antartique de Simon” by Adrian Albert. Very nice book, children travel, discover new words and new landscape. Themes: Antarctic, polar animals, friendship between a white rabbit and a scientist
  • « Raoul Taffin cosmonaute » a little boy full of imagination who makes us travel with him in space…but which space? Children get immersed right away and start imagining space.

Feel free to contact us with your comments. Maybe you also want to share gems from your bookshelves of French books for children.

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