With journey time to fill and time away from regular busy schedules, holidays are perfect for encouraging youngsters to read.
We’ve already posted a book list for the grownups, so here’s our children’s edition!
Our list here includes all sorts; from the most classic French picture books, and fun and engaging chapter books to historical and educational reads that will help to enrich children’s travels as they experience the magic of France.
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. “Please,” asks the stranger, “draw me a sheep.” And the pilot realizes that when life’s events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out a pencil and paper… And thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed forever the world for its readers.
I, Crocodile by Fred Marcellino
While robbing Egypt’s mummies, sphinxes, and palm trees, Napoleon can’t resist bringing home a souvenir crocodile as well.
All of Paris is enchanted with this exotic creature. But for a crocodile with an appetite as big as his ego, being the toast of the town has its downside, too. What’s a crocodile who’s used to a dinner of flamingo, snake, or mongoose to make of chocolate mousse? Oh, to return to his beloved Nile! But fickle Napoleon has other plans for our hero… Inspired by an obscure nineteenth–century French satire, I, Crocodile is the first book Fred Marcellino has written as well as illustrated.
Anatole by Eve Titus
Anatole is a most honorable mouse. When he realizes that humans are upset by mice sampling their leftovers, he is shocked! He must provide for his beloved family–but he is determined to find a way to earn his supper. And so he heads for the tasting room at the Duvall Cheese Factory. On each cheese, he leaves a small note–”good,” “not so good,” “needs orange peel”–and signs his name. When workers at the Duvall factory find his notes in the morning, they are perplexed–but they realize that this mysterious Anatole has an exceptional palate and take his advice. Soon Duvall is making the best cheese in all of Paris! They would like to give Anatole a reward–if only they could find him…
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman
In an old, vine-covered house in Paris live 12 little girls. They wear wide-brimmed hats and matching yellow outfits and walk in two perfect rows. Madeline is the smallest girl, and the most daring. She’s not afraid to touch a mouse or go near a tiger in the zoo.
But one night she wakes up in pain and Madame Clavel, the mistress of the house, can hear Madeline crying all the way from her own bedroom. Madame Clavel calls the doctor, and in no time, Madeline is rushed to the hospital to have her appendix removed. Everyone at the house misses Madeline, and Madame Clavel decides to take the 11 girls to visit their little friend in the hospital. They take her flowers and find Madeline in her hospital bed happily surrounded by the gifts of toys and candies she has received from well-wishers. Madeline even has a scar to show to them, which the other girls look at with awe, and a little envy. That night, back at the house, Madame Clavel again hears the crying of a little girl. She hurries to the bedroom where the girls sleep in two rows of beds and discovers every single one of the remaining girls crying in pain, all of them wanting to go to the hospital and get gifts, and a scar, just like Madeline!
A Walk in Monet’s Garden by Francesca Crespi
Monet’s house and garden at Giverny spring to life in this beautiful three-dimensional tableau. The text is illustrated with full reproductions and details of Monet’s paintings, including his famous water lilies, together with vintage photographs of the artist, his family, and the garden.
The Cat who Walked across France by Kate Banks and Georg
An unforgettable tour of France. The cat and the old woman have lived happily together for many years in the stone house by the sea. But when the old woman dies, the cat is packed up with her belongings and sent north to the village where she was born. Soon he is forgotten. He walks the streets aimlessly until, spurred by memories and a longing to return to the place he knows and loves, the cat embarks on a journey to find the home he was taken away from.
In lyrical prose and breathtaking images, Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben take the reader on a journey across the Norman countryside, past ancient ruins, through bustling cities, to the sparkling ports of the Mediterranean Sea and a place the cat can call home.
The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909 by Alice and Martin Provenson
The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen tells the fascinating story of Louis Blériot and his flight across the English Channel in 1909. This delightful picture book depicts Blériot’s first encounter with an airship and his subsequent obsession with designing a working airplane. The humorous structural illustrations bring the world of first flights and crazy contraptions to life with wit and whimsy.
Learn about France for Kids by J Hadfield
Everything a 10-year-old might want to know about France. Answering questions like, “What do they like to eat in France?” and “Who was Napoleon Bonaparte?” Learn about France for Kids provides facts about population, wildlife, landscape and industry, but peppered throughout are interesting “fun facts”, cartoons and stories to make learning about France a fun adventure into another culture.
Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
Against the fascinating tapestry of Frances’s history during the Hundred Years’ War, Diane Stanley unfolds the story of the simple thirteen-year-old village girl who in just a few years would lead France to independence from English rule, and thus become a symbol of France’s national pride. It is a story of vision and bravery, fierce determination, and tragic martyrdom.
Diane Stanley’s extraordinary gift to present historical information in an accessible and child-friendly format has never been more impressive, nor her skilful, beautifully realized illustrations (here imitating medieval illuminated manuscripts) more exquisite.
The Three Musketeers Illustrated Young Readers Edition by Alexandre Dumas
When daring young swordsman D’Artagnan travels to Paris seeking honour and fortune in the king’s Guard, he quickly befriends the famed three Musketeers—Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.
Loyal servants to the crown, the four friends cross swords with street criminals, face the cardinal’s Guards—who seek to destroy them—in duels to the death, and save the honour of the queen by unravelling treasonous schemes in a race against time. It will take epic courage, chivalry, and skill to thwart the plots against them and achieve victory at last.
A Dash of Magic by Erin McGuire
The Bliss family’s magical Cookery Booke was stolen by evil Aunt Lily at the end of Bliss, the first novel in the series. Now twelve-year-old Rosemary has a chance to win it back: she challenges her aunt to an Iron Chef-style international baking competition in Paris.
But the only way to beat the cheating Aunt Lily is to gather magical ingredients of her own. Together with her brothers and their talking cat and mouse, Rose races across Paris—from the Eiffel Tower to the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum—to gather what she needs to out-bake—and out-magic—her conniving aunt.
If Rose wins, the cherished Cookery Booke will return to her family where it belongs. If she loses—well, the consequences are too ugly to think about. . . .
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
Armand, an old man living on the streets of Paris, relishes his solitary life in the beautiful city. He is happy with his carefree existence, begging and doing odd jobs to keep himself warm and fed. With simple pleasures and no cares, what more could he need?
Then one day just before Christmas, Armand returns to his favourite spot beneath the bridge to find three cold and hungry children. Although he has no interest in children, Armand soon finds himself caring for the small family. It does not take Armand very long to realize that he must do whatever it takes to get them a real home.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message all come together…in The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
The Royal Diaries: Marie Antoinette, Princes of Versailles
To forge an incredibly powerful political alliance, thirteen-year-old Marie Antoinette of Austria is betrothed to Dauphin Louis Auguste, who will one day be the king of France. To prepare her for this awesome responsibility, she must be trained to write, read, speak French, dress, act . . . even breathe. Things become more difficult for her when she is separated from her family and sent to the Court of Versailles to meet her future husband. Opinionated and headstrong Marie Antoinette must find a way to fit in at the royal court, and get along with her fiancé. The future of Austria and France falls upon her shoulders. But as she lives a luxurious life inside the palace gates, out on the streets the people of France face hunger and poverty. Through the pages of her diary, Marie captures the isolation, the lavish parties and gowns, her struggle to find her place, and the years leading up to her ascendance of the throne . . . and a revolution.