Books

Say Oui To These Sweet French Children's Books

From learning the ABCs to stories with chapters.

It’s never too early to expose a kid to the French language because the younger they are the easier it is for them to learn it in tandem with their native tongue. One way to do this is through French children’s books. Whether they’re specifically teaching the language or simply stories that are written in French, books can serve as wonderful learning aids.

I was in the sixth grade when I enrolled in French class, and I was in my third year of undergrad when I took two semesters of Spanish. Now as an adult, most of what I can remember of each language are words that are very similar in sound and meaning to English words. My four-year-old, however, comes home from school on a regular basis excitedly sharing new words, songs, and phrases she’s learned in different languages. She is able to retain so much at her age, which is why I am always trying to expose her to different Spanish and French children’s books so that she can continue to strengthen these skills, and not lose them like I have.

If you’re trying to do the same thing with your child(ren) with the French language, you’re in luck because there are a lot of fantastic French children’s books that can help you. You can teach your toddler the basics in English and French at the same time, get the French version of one of your kid’s favorite stories to switch things up, or get something completely new that will challenge them as they continue to strengthen their skills. Here are a few to consider.

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1

Monsieur & Madame Books

A lot of the “Mr.” and “Little Miss” books that are famous in the US are also available in French. The “Madame” series includes French versions of Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Tidy, Little Miss Lucky, and this one, Little Miss Quick, among many others.

2

“Bonne Nuit, Anne”

This sweet story follows Anne in her dream as she says goodnight to all of the things and people she loves. Her dream takes her on fun adventures that little readers will love, and since it’s written in French, they’ll also learn more about the language.

3

“Comme Un Million De Papillons Noir”

Adé is a curious little girl who has beautiful black curly hair which gets her a lot of attention at school (and not always the good kind of attention). In this story, Adé learns more about her hair from her mom and aunts and comes to love how it makes her stand out.

4

“How To Speak French For Kids”

If you’re working on introducing the French language to your kids, try this simple book. It’s full of easy words and pictures to help younger kids master the basics of the language.

5

“La Belle Lisse Poire Du Prince De Motordu”

“La belle lisse poire du prince de Motordu” translates to “The Prince of Motordu’s Beautifully Smooth Pear” and it’s a great book for kids who already have a basic understanding of the French language. Throughout the story, it uses words that look similar but have very different meanings, so readers are tasked with figuring out if what the prince says is correct or if he’s mistaking.

6

“Bonsoir Lune”

If your little one has already memorized every page of “Goodnight Moon” in English, switch things up with the French version. The story is the same, which may make it easier for your child to pick up on some of the French words.

7

“Poil De Carotte'

“Poil de Carotte” (Carrot Top) is about a little red-headed boy whose parents are mean, so he’s always going on adventures and trying to outsmart them along the way. The book was written back in 1864, but it continues to be loved by older kids today.

8

“Cinq Joyeux Lapins”

The title of this book translates into “Five Little Bunnies” and is perfect for little kids who are learning how to count in French. It has a similar sing-song rhyme style as “Five Little Monkeys”, and the illustrations are just downright adorable.

9

“Learn French For Kids”

Written specifically for toddlers and pre-schoolers, this book teaches both English and French words for everyday objects. Kids will learn names for colors, the alphabet, body parts, animals, and more.

10

“Peppa Pig: Peppa Joue Au Soccer”

Fans of Peppa will enjoy this book about a boys vs. girls soccer game. It features some of the wonderful “Peppa Pig” characters they already know and love, which will make it easy to get them to agree to read the book (and practice their French).

11

“Le Petit Nicolas” Series

A great option for kids who already have a decent understanding of the French language, this series follows Nicolas, a little boy living a very happy life. These books are particularly good for strengthening French reading/speaking skills because they’re written in casual language, since the narrator is a kid.

12

“Guili Lapin”

In English, “Guili Lapin” translates into “Knuffle Bunny”, which is a story about a kid named Trixie who goes on an adventure with her dad to the laundromat and, after heading home, realizes that her bunny has been misplaced. So, obviously, a rescue mission is in order. It’s such a cute story, whether it’s told in French or English.

13

“Le Petit Prince”

“Le Petit Prince” (or, “The Little Prince”) has been a beloved children’s book for decades. With this book, kids can read the story and and fall in love with the French language at the same time.

14

“ABC French”

Young kids who are learning their letters can get some exposure to the French language while they’re at it. This picture book is full of beautiful illustrations that correspond with a letter of the alphabet as well as the french word for the picture (such as “le lion” for “L”).

15

“Le Chemin De Jada”

This book is written in French and follows a pair of sisters who have different skin tones, even though they are twins. One sister has darker skin while the other’s is lighter, and it takes a game of hide-and-seek for them to understand and embrace their own unique beauty.

Now that you have all of these fantastic options, get moving. Remember, the earlier you expose your little ones to the French language, the more likely they will retain what they learn. Plus, the sooner they can speak French, the sooner you can take a Parisian family vacation.