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https://www.duolingo.com/ApoorvaJ

French books for beginners

Duolingo is great for getting an intuitive sense of the French language, but I think that books are the next step to fluency.

Children's fairy tales are too simplistic and short to really contribute to vocabulary.

Could you point me to any good French books, preferably fiction, that are fairly simple grammatically but have an immersive story?

Books which are available in audio-book format as well, would be doubly appreciated.

Harry Potter A L'Ecole des Sorciers is on my list. Any more suggestions?

4 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/fer84
fer84
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I love to read French-Belgian comics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Belgian_comics). Some of the more "childish" ones are pretty popular in Germany like asterix, or tintin( Tim und struppi) or lucky luck - I'm not sure if they made it to the US.

However there are numerous more serious graphic novels, e.g. Explaining Jewish religion ( Le chat du rabbin), homosexuality (blue est une couleure chaude). I forgot the name, but the most I know of northkorea I learned in one of such band desinee.

There are numerous advantages for language novices: you learn something about French culture, as these comics have a strong cultural impact. You are touched by a story as a the usually great illustrations add another layer of storytelling and creativity. The text is closer to the spoken French. You can 'guess' a word you have not known more easily as the context is clear.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/prky
prky
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I like the books (and videos) of Le Petit Nicholas, about a young city boy. There are also videos of the stories that I found on You tube. I find Le Petit Prince too philosophical with many future and past constructions that I'm not yet comfortable recognizing in print, yet. But I look forward to trying to read it again.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saidaspen

I like the Petit Nicolas books the best. Hilarious for adults as well as for kids. Give them a try.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarolJean1

I recently read Voyage en France by Sylvie Laine. It's a short book about an old man searching for an old friend in France. It's in French, but each paragraph is followed by a vocabulary list. I enjoyed it, and definitely picked up some words. There is a part 2 that I haven't read yet, but plan to.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lalinguiste
lalinguiste
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Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, definitely. I think everyone should read this book anyway :) but it's written in a mostly simple style, as if it were "just" a children's story, but it's much deeper than that. I think you could learn some good vocabulary from it. We read it in my high school French class, and even now that my French is much better than it was then I still like to go back to it, for the beauty of the story. I'm sure there's an audio book version of it, probably multiple versions given how popular it is.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Larisa_L
Larisa_L
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I agree with this, I have very limited French and I'm still able to read this book. Of course it goes slowly, and some sentences are tricky, but it is beautiful, interesting and doable. And I love it since childhood (I even played the little prince in a theater :))

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ApoorvaJ

Thanks. I've bought a copy of the book, and it seems great!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Larisa_L
Larisa_L
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Personally, I prefer dialogs to books (when I haven't learned a languages well enough). For French I have a set of CLE books with CDs - Grammar, Phonetics, Vocabulary and Civilization in Dialogue. I listen them each multiple times during my commutes, and then I read and translate them and do other exercises. What is good about those dialogs, they are short, funny, conversational, and really use day to day language. And you hear natives speaking and quickly pick up pronunciation, intonations and common phrases. I noticed after I've listened a dialogue so many times, some phrases just jump out of my mouth when they are appropriate, even if I'm not talking to someone who knows French :))) Something like, d'accord, j'adore ca, je suis desole, je voudrai bien, mais... I'm not sure if I spelled those correctly, by I can pronounce them quite well. And there are many more, like to take a bus, how is it going?, you're always late, I'm crazy of joy and many more. Highly recommend this approach!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ApoorvaJ

Thank you for the fresh perspective. English is a second language to me, and I attained fluency in it by voracious reading. I will try out your approach as well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Larisa_L
Larisa_L
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Reading is great for sure, the more tools you have the better. I used dialogues to learn Hebrew and English, and now I'm learning French. Works great each time, because it is different to be able to read, and to be able to understand others speaking and being able to speak yourself.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarolJean1

Great suggestion. My reading is improving so much, but I have a long way to go with speaking and listening. I'm looking for anything that will help. Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adesva
adesva
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My first book was Bonjour Tristesse, and I can recommend it. It's short and not too hard, but you should probably be able to handle most of the tree before you start reading it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yvesh

I would recommend two books by Marcel Pagnol "la gloire de mon père" and "le chateau de ma mère" that are written using a classical and simple french. M. Pagnol describes his youth in the city of Marseille in the south of France at the beginning of the 20th century. The movies are also well known.

The books by Romain Gary (or Emile Ajar) and Joseph Kessel are not difficult to read neither.

If you like Sci-Fi/Fantasy, the most sold french author is Pierre Bordage. His first books are the easiest to read.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/prky
prky
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Merci! C'est magnifique!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son
E.T.s_Son
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Unfortunately my public library has small supply of French books. A few months ago while I was using Duolingo and l'amélioration (improving) my French I though I'd go to the library to check out a few simplistic French novels based on my comprehension level of French. However, the books they had were so complex the words looked like ancient alien vocabulary. I still checked out the book to scan through it and identify words I knew but for the most part I had NOOO idea the heck was going on in the book so I returned it. I still check out though every now and then to see how much I've improved on my vocabulary. I usually search on the internet for easier French novels that I can download through a pdf file. So far I've only found children books LoL

4 years ago