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Learning how to read all over again...

So it was my birthday recently, and, semi-jokingly, I asked for German children's books. Having come so far with Duolingo, I wanted something more entertaining to read, while still keeping it at my own level.

Lo and behold...

Kids' books

Der Hase mit der Roten Nase

Der Grüffelo

Even better, my (language-loving) girlfriend bought me a German copy of Northern Lights. I love the original books, so this will be fun.

Der Goldene Kompass

I've spent the past few days translating the first chapter. I was pretty happy that I could understand it, and get through it (for the most part) with few problems. So I'm going back looking through the words I don't know (there are many).

June 2, 2014


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I am doing something similar but with the German version of Asterix and Obelix books. They are harder than some other children's books because there are plenty of vocabularies to learn and they use more difficult grammar constructs such as passive voice and subjunctives. However the comic makes it easier to follow and since they are funny, I am really enjoying it while learning German at the same time.

June 2, 2014


The Asterix and Obelix books were my favourite growing up as a kid. That's a fantastic idea. I'm going to keep an eye out for some while I'm in Vienna.


I remember the Asterix comics. In French class in high school, we used to take those home and read them. I remember that I liked them and understood them and that I read most of them. One of the characters had a big appetite and could eat a whole pig at one sitting. He also had a little dog who he claimed understood everything he said. It was so long ago that I don't remember the stories very well. One time in German class in high school, we were playing Scrabble in German. Another time in German class the teacher was playing some songs and trying to teach us how to sing some German songs, which I don't remember now, because it was so long ago. I used to know all the German grammar, but I've forgotten it all, so it's gradually coming back to me on the Duolingo lessons.


I think reading Asterix and Obelix for French classes is the best since the books were originally written in French. However the English translation for those books are pretty good so I am also hoping that the German one is at least almost as good the English one.


The first 29 volumes were translated by Gudrun Penndorf, who does an amazing job (even though I can't compare to any other version), and the puns are one of the things that make Asterix so special even in its German translation. They got new translators for the newest volumes and you can really tell the difference in style with allusions to short-term events etc. Worlds apart! The comic books are so popular in Germany, they even translated a few of them into German dialects: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Mundart-Ausgaben_von_Asterix


I've found this website http://www.childrensbooksforever.com/childrenpages/German1.html. It has some free children books. I red only one of theme so far :P. It really helps! BTW: I've notice in some children books that the Eszett (ß) is used in different places than in other texts I've red (for example, the word "muss" was written as "muß") . I assumed it is because the books were pretty old and probably the rules of the Eszett have changed a little bit.


Your assumption is correct. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_orthography_reform_of_1996 for some background knowledge.


There's something special about having the actual book. I get to read Der Grüffelo to myself every night :-)


As Jobabel said, changes such as "muss" instead of "muß" are a result of the last spelling reform, which was introduced in 1996 and finally came into effect in 2006.

In some really old works, e.g. the first editions of Grimm's fairytales, you might also come across spellings such as "Thür" instead of "Tür" (door) or "Thal" instead of "Tal" (valley). These changes date from an earlier German spelling reform that took place in 1901.


Thank you for the source. I downloaded Spanish books.


Hi I'm native Spanish speaker. One of the most famous author of children's literature is Rafael Pombo, In these links you can find some of his great work:

http://www.banrepcultural.org/sites/default/files/rafael-pombo-cuentos-morales.pdf http://www.banrepcultural.org/sites/default/files/rafael-pombo-cuentos-pintados.pdf

And Poems (a lot of vocabulary) http://www.comunidadandina.org/bda/docs/CO-OC-0002.pdf

Greetings from Colombia..


Gracias por los libros :)


I'm reading 'Pu der Bär' (Winnie the Pooh). I put all of the words I don't know into a course on Memrise so I can learn them. I'm finding it a really great way to learn. :) Good luck with 'der goldene Kompass', I'd been wanting a particular translation of a book I like but it's too expensive to ship it here (Australia), so I'm settling from what I can get from second hand stores.


I'm reading 'Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen' (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) auf Deutsch. Even better, I'm borrowing it for free from Amazon Prime, and once it's on my Kindle, I can use the Kindle Harper-Collins German/English dictionary to define words for me as I read. And, even better than that, the latest Kindle SW update has a vocabulary builder app that keeps track of all the words I've defined, and allows me to review them...not just with the definitions, but also in the context of the sentence from the book where I saw them.

Kindle is excellent for leveling up in German!


Keep an eye open for children or young adult books that may have originally been in your target language as well. One for German is "The Neverending Story" was adapted to english. I'm currently focused on French, so I'm reading "The little Prince" and "20,000 leagues under the sea" both of which were originally written in French.



good luck I just started learning german and I am impressed that you could read a wonderful book such as northern lights in german. Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as the original copy :)


I want to read the German xkcd what-if book that just came out. The problem is, I don't have any euros. :-(

This font has terrible emoticon kerning.


And yes, the gray part is a link.


Wait, it's already out? I pre-ordered the English one but I thought it wasn't due till September?

Edit: nevermind, looked at it, it indeed comes out in september


Awesome! your girlfriend is pretty cool to get you such books. Enjoy reading them! If anything, My favorite are the Tin tin series written by Herge (I couldn't put the accent). I would love to read those in German!!!!!!! BTW nice day streak you have their.


Im reading Dragonball Mangas in German :D definetly it works !


I'm always thinking about doing the same for portuguese ^^


Haha, I have the first two, too (well, my kids)!


Oh I really need to get my hands on Der Goldene Kompass...


I love reading books in foreign languages, but I find that if it's too hard it can be really slow going and more off putting than helpful (think you might find that with Northern Lights), so it's great that you have the adorable kids books too. I'm currently reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Spanish, and I'd really recommend Roald Dahl books in general for language learning because they combine simple language and sentence structures with good plots and characters (and I loved them when I was a child).

It's also really satisfying to go back to a book you used to struggle with and find that you can read it much more easily now (as I've found with Harry Potter in German). Shows you how well your language skills are progressing! Have fun with your new books and good luck with Der Goldene Kompass!


I can probably read a chapter in about an hour. But that's mostly picking out the bits I can understand or guess from context. It generally involves lots of assumptions, but I can understand the general gist, like movement of people, who's saying what, who doesn't like who, etc.

However, I'm also going back over each chapter and picking it apart sentence by sentence (like in Immersion), looking up and noting down the words I don't know. I've accumulated at least 300 words and phrases for learning. I've also discovered some interesting idioms I wouldn't have seen otherwise, like:

Däumchen drehen - to twiddle one's thumbs

in einem Zug - in one go


That's a really cool idea. I was thinking of finding children shows or films I could watch to pick up German more faster, I will definitely look into buying children's books to help with the grammar.


I am not reading any books.


You really should. It helps you learn the language and it's actually surprisingly fun to do. Although your first two or three books take a long time to read. I will never forget the first novel i read in my second language. In fact, i have the first page of that novel memorised (because the fact i could read it had such an impact on me, i have gone back to it often).


Hi I'm native Spanish speaker. One of the most famous author of children's literature is Rafael Pombo, In these links you can find some of his great work:

http://www.banrepcultural.org/sites/default/files/rafael-pombo-cuentos-morales.pdf http://www.banrepcultural.org/sites/default/files/rafael-pombo-cuentos-pintados.pdf

And Poems (a lot of vocabulary) http://www.comunidadandina.org/bda/docs/CO-OC-0002.pdf

Greetings from Colombia..


Dumb question, not to be off topic, but how do I make a Duolingo post with pictures like this one? Am I missing something obvious?


It's called Markdown. Here's a link and example for images: https://github.com/adam-p/markdown-here/wiki/Markdown-Cheatsheet#images


ohhhh. Thanks!


I originally started reading English with a novel I knew well in Finnish.:) That seemed to work fine, since I was familiar with the text. Reading in any foreign language is slow at first, but gets much more fluent with time and effort.:) I never keep a dictionary with me when reading, since words can be understood in their context without the need to translate. And those I don't yet understand I'll most likely encounter again in another place.

Also when I needed to read a book in Swedish as a part of my studies (I'm not at all as fluent with Swedish as with English) it was very hard at first. It was about old agricultural stuff, and since it's very similar to what has been in Finland, the cultural similarities made it easier to understand. So even when I don't know the words I can try and deduce based on their context.

BTW I bought a children's book on knights in French for my husband.;) There's the pictures and words annexed, to explain life of medieval knights. He's enjoyed learning French that way.:)


So funny but not a bad idea! Keep up the good work. Have 10 lingots :)



Go to this site and you can download a lot of Children books in German,Spanish and in a lot more languages. And it's all free.


Another great source is The Foreign Language Library online http://www.thefllo.com/articles.cfm?view=language=English It has short articles in five different languages, so you can follow it in English and German. I am reading it in German, record myself, so I can practice my pronunciation as well.


thats pretty cool that you got german books to read.


Shall I get one for you while I'm in Austria? ;-)


That's really cool and that's very cute of her. She's a keeper. I hope one day to come as far as you.


You can also use this: ww.gutenberg.org It's a collection of free German novels.It has even the classic and famous German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter! enjoy reading!


you can use a link called http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

(assuming you vote up me) you should also vote this person up; she provided me with the link. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3846523

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