“It can feel so lonely, to see strangers out in the day, shopping, on a day that is not a good one. On this one: the day I returned from the emergency room after having a fit about wanting to remove my mouth. Not an easy day to look at people in their vivid clothes, in their shining hair, pointing and smiling at colorful woven sweaters.
I wanted to erase them all. But I also wanted to be them all, and I could not erase them and want to be them at the same time.”—Aimee Bender - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
are there any french children's books you'd recommend?
Ok, first I want to say that I haven’t read a French book in years and that I have a vague memory of all the books I’ve read when I was younger that were actually written in French to begin with.
I think it’s also important to mention that French literature, contrary to English lit. and as far as I know, didn’t have a big children’s lit period/movement in it’s history, and that, from what I gleaned on the internet while trying to refresh my memory, it’s not that big in France, not like in English countries anyway. It has been, though, very flourishing in Québec since the 80’s or so.
That said, here are some French classics: Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Babar L’Éléphant, Jean de Brunhoff Le Petit Nicolas, René Goscinny Any of Jule Verne’s books
Also some books by the Comtesse de Ségur, my favorite when I was young, as far as I remember: Les malheurs de Sophie, Les vacances, Les petites filles modèles (be warned: This is really old and in some of the books, I do not remember which one, the depiction both written and visual of a black male servant is very stereotypical and kind of racist)
The “Martine” books are nice small picture books with gorgeous illustrations
I remember some of the books I read when I was young were all from this really good Québec edition house called La Courte Échelle. do check them out. Other edition house to visit: Gallimard, Hachette and Casterman (from France)
oh oh, also Les Fables de Lafontaine, which is the French equivalent of Aesop’s fables. Also check out Fairy tales by Charles Perrault (written 100 years before the Brothers Grimm) Also fairytales by Madame d’Aulnoy (written for the French Salons, not necessarily for children) and the original Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast), whose most well-known version is by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. (Ha! I might not remember all the important books, but I know my fairy tales)
One thing, though, that French people love and are really good at are the Bande-Dessinées (comic books), try checking the original French versions of: Tintin, Astérix et Obélix, Boule et Bill, Marsupilami, Spirou, Les Schtroumpfs (the Smurfs), Gaston la Gaffe, and so so many more…all suitable for children.
I haven’t kept in touch with Québec lit much, but I know that there was this series that was very popular of fantasy books, I think originally for teens, but ended pleasing everybody (like Harry Potter did) called Les Chevalier d’Émeraude (12 books total) by Anne Robillard. To find more recent French books for children published by Québec authors go to: http://www.renaud-bray.com/ in the sidebar click nos rayons/jeunesse/livres québécois.
I know I”m forgetting plenty (or am simply not aware of them), but know that most books in English for children are also translated in French so you can find all your favorite classics (or more contemporary) books in French as well (could be a gret tool to learn French). I also HIGHLY suggest checking out the edition houses I mentioned earlier.