Thursday, 21 October 2010

Must Read German Children's Books

This post has been moved to the comments section for space reasons.


Eric said...

Thanks Laura,
I watched the movie "mein Name ist Eugen" using my basic Swiss German understanding and I had no idea it came from a book - I will be going out to buy it at the weekend!

P.S. an extremely sweet movie, which has High German subtitles/soundtrack.

looking forward to your next offerings!

Anonymous said...

Nice list, I think it covers very well what people who are now grown-ups typically read when they were children. Today, Harry Potter would have to been added and all of the novels of Walter Moers, many of them are also available in English.


Anonymous said...

Drachenreiter by Cornelia Funke is also good

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reading list. I have been looking for some German books to read.
I enjoy listening to your podcast, they are very helpful.Thank you for doing these podcast. They must take a lot of time and effort to produce.

Laura said...

Hi all,

The adjectival endings podcast will be coming out soon. Until then, this is a bonus post about German children's books. Although I think children's books are far from the easiest thing to read in a foreign language, they can be very enjoyable, and also they can let you into the culture of another country by letting you see what people were reading when they were kids. This list comes from a member of the German forum at and he has given me his permission to reproduce it here (comments he made about a book are in round brackets, comments by me in square brackets):

- "Ronja Räubertochter" by Astrid Lindgren [this book is a translation from Swedish, but still essential reading for German children according to Bacca]
- "Michel aus Lönneberga" by Astrid Lindgren [same applies - this book is called Emil i Lönneberga in Swedish and Emil of Lönneberga in English. Bacca says it was changed in German so people wouldn't get confused with Emil and the Detectives.]
- "Die feuerrote Friederike" by Christine Nöstlinger
- "Der lange Weg des Lukas B." by Willi Fährmann (and the whole Bienmann tetralogy, of course)
- Anything by Erich Kästner [this includes Emil and the Detectives]
- "Winnetou I,II+III" by Karl May (hardly readable nowadays - but necessary to learn to skim a text until something happens)
- "Momo" by Michael Ende
- "Die unendliche Geschichte" by Michael Ende
- "Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer" by Michael Ende
- "Der satanarchäolügenialkohöllische Wunschpunsch" by Michael Ende
- "Vorstadtkrokodile" by Max von der Grün
- "Krücke" by Peter Härtling
- "Oh wie schön ist Panama" by Janosch (A storybook, but the best one ever)
- "Timm Thaler oder das verkaufte Lachen" by James Krüss (There is a whole cyclus by James Krüss, "Geschichten der 101 Tage" - I haven't read it completely, but if all the stories are as good as Timm Thaler is, I can recommend it without any hesitation.)
- "Eine Woche voller Samstage" by Paul Maar (and all the other Sams-books)
- "Der Räuber Hotzenplotz" by Otfried Preußler
- "Die Sagen des klassischen Altertums" by Gustav Schwab
- "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri
- "Mein Name ist Eugen" by Klaus Schädelin

SidMorrison said...

One suggestion: Struwwelpeter, by Heinrich Hoffmann, preferably with his own original illustrations.

It's an 1840s "tough love" book of funny rhyming stories telling what horrible things happen to kids who don't mind their parents.

It's in the public domain and you can find copies on Google Books. If you look around you can purchase a dual language translation where Mark Twain did the English.

Good fun.

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