German Children’s Books for Beginner Learners
I hate to admit it, but it was years before I finished my first “real” German book. I struggled through a short story collection and felt very happy with myself.
Little did I know, I could have reached that milestone way earlier if I had just picked up a some German children’s books.
The thing is, German learners and German children have one big difference when it comes to ease of reading. Little kids already know German!
So that means no matter your level, you’ll find words and phrases that real people really use in German. Alongside, of course, the silly words and funny rhymes that help the vocab stick.
Today, we’ll be discussing some true beginner books, suitable for children under 4 or adults with only a few months of German study.
Top 4 German Children’s Books
Oh, wie schön ist Panama
Janosch, or Horst Eckert, is a household name in Germany and in fact the best-known children’s book author from that country. His books have won piles of awards for nearly sixty years, and this is one of his best-known. In this book, a bear and a tiger go off to see Panama. The toy they bring with them, incidentally, is known as the “tiger duck,” and made appearances in
Die Piraten von nebenan
Which kid doesn’t want to sail the seven seas and hoist the black flag? “The Pirates Next Door” is a lovable adventure about a youthful merry band of pirates. This one’s even been made into a miniseries!
Wo Ist Mami?
A little monkey has lost his mom and sits alone in the jungle. Luckily for him, a friendly butterfly stops by and offers some help! The monkey describes his mom to the butterfly who then goes off to look for her, giving readers an excellent opportunity to learn about describing people in German. There is an audio version set to music available here.
Die Eule mit der Beule
Autsch! A little owl has a bump on his head, and all the animals do their best to help out. Which one of the remedies they offer is the best? I like this book because of the rhyme scheme that can help you remember some of these words, especially if you listen to the audiobook, which you can find on YouTube.
Rat mal, wer das ist!
The Rat mal… (“Guess what…”) title actually belongs to a series of books. In addition to “Guess who it is!” and “Guess what it is!,” there’s also “Guess what’s making that sound!” – a delight for anybody that loves big trucks and helicopters (perhaps including the author of this article). This one’s best to get the physical copy, because it has little holes (“Gucklöcher”) in each page to give you a hint. If I was reading German with a young kid, I would absolutely choose this one. The words used in each page to give you hints can be quite creative!
Where to Find More Children’s Books
Obviously, these books aren’t going to be the biggest challenge for you, lovable though they are. However, you can keep the immersion faucet turned up high and search for more books entirely in German.
If you order these books, make sure to look at the reviews and recommendations too. All of that is going to be in German, and since it’s all about one topic, it’ll be easy for you to keep in mind!
Learn German Faster Using LingQ
Immersing yourself in German doesn’t require you to travel abroad or sign up for an expensive language program.
However, it can be a bit tiresome to find interesting content, go back and forth between sites, use different dictionaries to look up words, and so on.
That’s why there’s LingQ. A language app that helps you discover and learn from content you love.
You can import videos, podcasts, and much more and turn them into interactive lessons.
Keep all your favorite German content stored in one place, easily look up new words, save vocabulary, and review. Check out our guide to importing content into LingQ for more information.
Alex Thomas is currently traveling in Southeast Asia and is pleasantly surprised at the number of German books left in hotels and restaurants. If his bag were larger, he would take them all home.