Books About France and French Culture

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After reading these Books About France and French Culture, my kiddos had a general sense of some major Parisian landmarks and touchstones of French culture, like bread, cheese, and art.  These books didn't magically turn them into French speakers, but they have had a solid introduction to the culture.  I hope you enjoy these French books with your children, as well!

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Everybody Bonjours, part of children's book review list about France

Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman

This book is well suited for very young children, or as an introduction to a French theme week.  A little girl visits France with her family and sees all the sights.  They go shopping, eat at a creperie, and see famous landmarks.  The repetitive text, along with bright, eye-popping illustrations, make it great for toddlers and preschoolers.

This is Paris, part of children's book review list about France

This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek

Though this selection is part of a classic series of travel and culture books, I wasn't that impressed with it.  These books are not intended for young children, but I made the mistake of buying it without ever having seen it because it kept popping up in my searches and lists that I saw.  If you have been to Paris, or already know something about Paris, you may find this interesting.  It is essentially just drawings of Parisian landmarks along with text, "This is (fill in the blank)."  My preschooler was NOT interested.  I found the illustrations interesting and charming, in a retro sort of way, but would not put this book high on my list for young children.

The Cat Who Walked Across France, part of children's book review list about France

The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks

The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and if you've been to or studied France you might recognize some of the scenes.  The story itself, however, really has nothing to do with France.  A cat is moved from the south of France to the north, and then he walks back to his original home.  There is no mention of anything French in the text, however, so I was a bit disappointed with this book.  It is most appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.

First Thousand Words in French, part of children's book review list about France

First Thousand Words in French by Heather Amery

Usborne makes one of these books in several different languages.  It is a picture dictionary, featuring (you guessed it) 1000 French words.  I loved the illustrations, and my kids and I spent a lot of time pouring over the pages, noticing all the details, and reading the words together.  It was funny to hear their French pronunciations!  This book is 'Internet-linked' which means that you can go to a website to hear a native speaker reading the words.  This would get tedious if you didn't know ANY French yourself, and were relying solely on that feature to help with pronunciation.  If you know the basics, though, the Internet-feature is nice to have for some of the words that are more tricky.  This book is suitable for older toddlers and up.  I enjoyed the vocabulary refresher myself!

Eloise in Paris, part of children's book review list about France

Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson

Like all of the Eloise books, this one is LOOOOOONG.  Eloise and Nanny go to Paris.  Hilarity ensues.  They see the sights and explore French culture.  I primarily like the Eloise books for my kids to flip through and look at all the pictures.  They're WAY too long for me to read in one sitting!

Madeline Treasury, part of children's book review list about France

A Madeline Treasury: The Original Stories by Ludwig Bemelmans

 There is plenty of Madeline in this collection!  She lives in Paris.  She and her classmates go out on lots of adventures.  You can talk about the different landmarks and aspects of French culture.  My girls love Madeline-- there is a reason that this is such a classic series!

Anatole, part of children's book review list about France

Anatole by Eve Titus

I'm not sure why this little "Anatole" series was never on my radar before, but I'm glad that it is now!  Anatole is a French mouse who learns that humans view mice with disdain.  His pride is wounded, so he finds a way to earn an honorable living for his family.  This book wasn't especially French, except for that it takes place in Paris and is about cheese, but it is so cute and both of my girls enjoyed it.  This book was a little bit difficult for my toddler to sit still for, but my preschooler sat with rapt attention.

Anatole and the Cat, part of children's book review list about France

Anatole and the Cat by Eve Titus

Here is another adventure about Anatole!  This time Anatole must figure out what to do when a cat starts showing up at the cheese factory where he works.  This was just the right amount of mild adventure for my girls, and again, so charming and cute!  There are several other books in the Anatole series, though it appears that all but these first 2 are out of print.  What a shame!

Belinda in Paris, part of children's book review list about France

Belinda in Paris by Amy Young

We read this book more than any other this week.  A famous ballerina, Belinda, arrives in Paris for a big performance, but her ballet shoes don't make it.  She scrambles, along with a little helper, to get some new shoes made in time.  The illustrations are bright and engaging, and contain a lot that you can talk with your children about.  This is a cute story that is suitable for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age.

A Walk in Paris, part of children's book review list about France

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino

A young girl goes to Paris with her grandfather and they take a walk together.  Other reviews describe this book as a 'sightseeing tour' and that is exactly what it is!  The basic text is simple, and provides just a brief explanation of the different sites and landmarks that the characters are seeing.  What I loved about this book, however, was that there is tons of additional information about the images and landmarks on the page, printed in smaller text, made to almost blend in with the background.  You can skip those parts if you have a younger child, or read them and talk about them with an older child who might be interested.  This book is part of a series that includes 'sightseeing tours' of London and New York as well.

Linnea in Monet's Garden, part of children's book review list about France

Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork

Like many of the other books we read this week, this one was long!  It is almost like a miniature chapter book, and is very text-heavy, but with beautiful illustrations to go along.  Linnea goes with a friend to visit Monet's garden.  She learns all about the artist and his work, practices painting, and develops an appreciation for Monet's work.  My 4-year-old enjoyed snuggling on the couch with me while we read this throughout several sessions.  It wouldn't be suitable for children any younger, or for preschoolers who need a little more excitement!

Who Stole Mona Lisa, part of children's book review list about France

Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

Told from the point of view of the Mona Lisa herself, this book provided a great history of the famous painting and its history.  It covers the subject, the painter, how it was painted, the Louvre, and the time that the Mona Lisa was stolen.  The bold, black line illustrations look almost like stained-glass, and were one of my favorite parts about this book.  This book is suitable for preschoolers and elementary age children.

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Cutting Tiny Bites: Books About France and French Culture
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