Which French books for kids are best?
When it comes to teaching any foreign language to a kid, either engaging books in the target language or books designed to help teach the language are a must. Books have long been a great resource for language immersion, and with French, the language of literature and philosophy, there are countless options.
Our top pick, “Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,” is a nostalgic read that’s great for kids who are learning French as a foreign language.
What to know before you buy French books for kids
Children’s books in French vs. French language instructional books for kids
The key thing to consider when buying French books for kids is the intended purpose of the books. Young children are exceptionally good language learners. They are less hesitant to make mistakes and are more focused on understanding new things, so younger kids do far better with a children’s book written for native French speakers rather than instructional language books.
Instructional language books or courses on the basics of language, such as “French for Kids,” have their own benefits when it comes to teaching kids that are a bit older. These books also focus on learning through reading and immersion, but offer a more guided approach.
Teaching your child a foreign language
Giving the gift of a foreign language to your child is one of the best things you can do to prepare them for their future. Children can learn and absorb the language naturally through immersion, just like how they learned their native language, due to their young age. Starting them as young as possible is best.
Why should my child learn French?
French is a great choice to teach your kid as a foreign language because of the professional opportunities that it can open up later on in their life. French is spoken in, of course, France, but also in Canada, several African countries and many other regions and countries around the world. French has about 280 million native speakers, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world.
What to look for in quality French books for kids
easy to understand
The most important thing to look for in a French book for kids is how easy it is to understand. Even though kids are very receptive to foreign languages, giving them a copy of “Les Mis” won’t result in much. Consider your child’s reading level in English when picking a French book for them.
Focuses on one or a few key language concepts
Much like English books for kids, French books for children often focus on one key language concept. For example, the classic children’s book “The Hungry Caterpillar” focuses on the concept of food vocabulary.
Having a book that focuses on just one or a few key language concepts, whether they be grammatical concepts or a specified set of vocabulary, helps your child learn faster.
The whole point of having your child read in French is so they can expand their French vocabulary. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your child’s reading level and age when buying a French book for kids.
Especially with younger language learners, the material should always be comprehensible input +1, or in other words, 80% comprehensible to the learner with about 20% new words or concepts. Look for books that feature and teach a specified vocabulary set through the story, such as “household objects,” “foods” or “things in the classroom.”
How much you can expect to spend on French books for kids
French books for kids can range from $15-$35, depending on the book.
French books for kids FAQ
Is French difficult for native English-speaking children to learn?
A. French may be a challenging language for native English speakers to learn, but it’s not as difficult as some other languages, such as Chinese, Japanese or Arabic.
Should I worry that a book in French is too difficult for my child?
A. In short, no. It depends on your child’s reading level in the language. If they’re having difficulty understanding the text, you should downgrade to simpler text.
What’s the best French book for kids to buy?
Top French book for kids
“Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry”
What you need to know: This children’s novel is a classic for a reason. It’s a charming story that touches on deep themes while still being appealing to children. It’s great for kids who have some prior French knowledge.
What you’ll love: Saint-Exupéry’s work here is beloved by people all around the world due to its charming nature and deep themes. If you’re familiar with the story from your own childhood, it’s especially worth sharing this book with your kid.
What you should consider: There are a lot of materials online to help teach this book to learners of French, but it may be too difficult for very young children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top French book for kids for the money
“French for Kids”
What you need to know: This set of graded readers for kids is great for families that don’t have access to a fluent French speaker.
What you’ll love: “French for Kids” is a set of 10 graded readers written for children aged 3 to 8. All the readers focus on specific themes and the readers come with audio recordings to help with pronunciation.
What you should consider: This option may seem a bit more expensive than other books, but really it is a value since it’s 10 books bundled together, plus audio recordings.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
“Les 100 premier mots pour les tout-petits (Bilingual Anglais-Francais)”
What you need to know: This is a bilingual vocabulary book for toddlers focused on sight words.
What you’ll love: The book presents every word in both French and English, accompanied by a large, brightly colored picture to help your kid learn.
What you should consider: This is a great starter book for kids, but won’t work well with children older than 5.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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