Are you new to learning French and searching for the perfect books to read as a beginner or develop your French grammar? We know how difficult it is to start learning a new language, so we compiled a list of some great books to dive into as a French beginner! Learn more below about each of the books that we recommend for a beginner like you!
1. Le Petit Prince: French Edition
This French classic by Antoine de Saint Exupéry is an ideal choice for beginners. Although it may seem like this book is intended for solely children, the story and wisdom found within this world-renowned work is surprisingly meant for adults, focusing on such themes as friendship, sadness, and love. Start your French reading journey with this classic and learn why it remains one of the best-selling books in France.
2. Short Stories in French for Beginners by Olly Richards and Richard Simcott
This collection is made up of eight short stories that were written for new learners in the beginner to intermediate levels, which is ideal for someone who is just getting started with reading French. From history to crime and more, this collection includes stories from a variety of genres, ensuring that there is something for every taste within. To help you test your progress, at the completion of each story, there are questions for you to reflect on.
3. Le Petit Nicolas by René Goscinny
If you’re searching for a classic children’s book series, look no further than Le Petit Nicholas. Le Petit Nicholas, the first entry in the series, is a worthwhile piece for beginners due to its being a short yet entertaining read. Also, the series focuses on what it is like being a child and growing up in France in the 1950s, so you’ll get a little bit of French history as a bonus. And if you enjoy reading this book, you can check out the rest of the five-part series as well.
4. Easy French Step-by-Step by Myrna Bell Rochester
Looking to improve your overall grammar skills? This step-by-step book is a great start for beginners. With each chapter being filled with clear explanations, a variety of exercises, and readings to help you along the way, you’ll be able to build your vocabulary and master over 300 verbs. If you’re struggling with where to begin, this is the perfect book to check out so you can build on your progress and gain confidence as you learn your new language!
5. L’Etranger by Albert Camus
Written by French author, philosopher, and journalist Albert Camus, this French modern classic novel continues to be recommended to students both in France and around the world. Plus, due to its slow plot and simple vocabulary throughout the story, some upper beginners find it easy to approach. As far as the plot goes, it focuses on a main character who refuses to conform to society and shares his views of the world, something that has made it particularly embraced by adolescents and young adults for decades.
6. Tintin by Hergé
Lastly, we recommend the well-known comic series Tintin, focused on the young reporter who solves crimes with his partner and dog, Milou or Snowy if you prefer. The series’s visually appealing and engaging drawings are paired with narration and dialogue that are helpful for all French beginners, and what is more fun than adventuring and investigating with Tintin? You’ll fall in love with the boy adventurer, and the series also makes a great way to introduce children to the language as well!
To wrap it up
You've got here 6 great books we strongly recommend for developing your French vocabulary or grammar. So, it is time for you to stay active in French. Get some of these books or borrow them and start reading!
This post was written by Rachel Pietro who works with the Kent State Master of Arts in Translation program. The program provides concentrations in six language track options, including French translation.