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Great Book for German Beginners..and Free!

Guten Tag,

I am sure this book has been talked about before on Duolingo, but I have enjoyed it so much I thought I should post it.

It is a public domain book titled Studien und Plaudeieren by Sigmond Stern. It was originally written in the 1870s and went through a number of printings. The book follows the lessons attended by Anna, Bella, Louis and Otto as they learn German from Herr Meister.

The book is almost entirely in German but I could understand most all of it and I have only been learning German for 3 months or so. I am actually rereading it at the moment and taking notes on words I don't know.

Keep in mind that some of the language has changed over the years and spelllings as well. For example, they use the formal Sie to refer to each other although they are friends and children...The German word for to do is spelled Thun rather than Tun....little things like that...

It is also fascinating reading about things from an 1870s view. For example, Christmas trees were not wide spread in America at the time...Herr Meister has to explain them to the kids. And, there is actually a sequel I am looking forward to as well!

This book has taught me a lot! I wish he had written a bunch more!

Here is the link at Project Gutenberg...


I would love to hear from others who enjoyed this book!

Wir sehen uns....


December 10, 2017



According to the description on the site, the book was written so that it could be read and understood in German by English children, without them needing to understand German. Here's the first couple of pages:

Herr Meister: Hier ist mein Buch. Mein Buch ist braun. Dieses Buch hier ist grün; mein Buch ist nicht grün. Bella, ist das Gras grün?

Bella: Das Gras ist grün.

Herr Meister: Ja, das Gras ist grün. Anna, ist das Gras im Sommer grün?

Anna: Das Gras ist im Sommer grün.

Herr Meister: Ja, das Gras ist im Sommer grün. Louis, ist das Gras im Winter grün?

Louis: Das Gras ist im Winter nicht grün.

Herr Meister: Nein, das Gras ist im Winter nicht grün. Bella, ist die Rose grün?

Bella: O nein, die Rose ist nicht grün.

Herr Meister: Ist die Rose rot?

Bella: Ja, die Rose ist rot.

Herr Meister: Anna, ist der Winter kalt?

Anna: Ja, Herr Meister, der Winter ist kalt.

Herr Meister: Louis, ist der Sommer kalt?

Louis: Nein, Herr Meister, der Sommer ist nicht kalt.

Herr Meister: Ist der Sommer warm?

Louis: Ja, der Sommer ist warm.

Herr Meister: Bella, ist es Sommer im Dezember?

Bella: Nein, im Dezember ist es nicht Sommer.

Herr Meister: Ist es Winter im Dezember?

Bella: Ja, es ist Winter im Dezember.

Herr Meister: Bella, ist der Rosenbusch im Dezember im Garten?

Bella: Ja, Herr Meister, der Rosenbusch ist im Dezember im Garten.

Herr Meister: Ist die Rose im Dezember am Rosenbusch im Garten?

Bella: Nein, Herr Meister, im Dezember ist die Rose nicht am Rosenbusch im Garten.

Herr Meister: Mein Kompliment, Fräulein Bella, Sie sprechen gut deutsch!

Bella: O, Herr Meister!


It does get more exciting as it goes along...they talk about Goethe and Schiller, read fairy tails from the Bros. Grimm, talk via letters to Louis' brother Albert in Berlin....it is a great book! I loved it...



Danke Idaho_Anni, das buch ist toll!


Das muss ich lesen, danke sehr für den Link!


Thank you very much!


Thank you so much for this, I've been looking for light readings in German! Much appreciated.


I was looking for something like this. :) thanks :)


Danke ! ... I´ve been looking for something like this.


I am looking forward to reading the sequel! In the second book, the kids go to Germany....it should be fun reading as well.

Oh, also, since you are looking for books for beginners, there is ANOTHER great book out there in the public domain called Märchen und Erzählungen für Anfänger. Erster Teil by H. A. Guerber


It is a book of fairy tales specifically aimed at beginning German readers. With this book be sure to have a notebook handy to jot down words you don't recognize, it is a bit more demanding in that respect, but still sehr gut!

I am hunting up more books for beginners (especially in the public domain) and I will post any I find!

Bis zum nächsten mal! Wir sehen uns!



really good! I wish for a German enthusiast to read it out loud and upload the audio or perhaps a youtube video, that would be sublime.


I agree. I searched Youtube hoping for an audio, but no such luck...lol

On a different topic but actually the same topic, I just started reading the sequel which is also available on Project Gutenberg, and it is wayyyy tougher! I think it must have been written for more intermediate learners because I find myself searching the dictionary for many, many words....still awesome, though...I just think I will wait to read it after a few more months of study!



Great resource, thanks!

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