french baby books
BILINGUAL PARENTING

Popular French books you can easily read to your baby

What books are French parents reading to their babies these days? If you’re a francophone (or a wannabe francophone), reading baby books in French will be easy for you, and it’s a simple way to use a second language in the home.

In this post I’ve put together a list of the most popular French baby books today. I went looking in our stock at home, but I was shocked to find that none were truly French!

So to curate this list, I took a little poll on Facebook and asked all my French friends what they were reading to their babies and kids. So you know this list is legit!

Pull up a chair with your coffee in hand, and let’s read!

favorite french baby books

The classic French baby books: Les Contes de Perrault

You’ve heard of the brothers Grimm. You’ve heard of Hans Christian Andersen. But have you heard of Charles Perrault?

Charles Perrault was a 17th century author from Paris. His fairytales we are all familiar with today. Did you know that the following stories were written by a Frenchman?

  • La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty)
  • Cendrillon (Cinderella)
  • Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye (Tales of Mother Goose)
  • Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots)
  • Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood)

These stories were influenced by existing folk tales, but Perrault’s versions in turn inspired the works of the brothers Grimm, who are perhaps more well-known to Americans.

You can find out more about these tales on the website Hello Kids, available in French and English, along with some activities for kids.

Petit ours brun

french baby book Petit ours brun

Little Brown Bear. This is a character created by Bayard, a French publishing house (related to Pomme d’Api from my previous article on free online French resources).

The Little Brown Bear series has titles for kids aged 0-6. You’ll find sensory books (touch/sound), activity books, picture books, and storybooks, like:

  • Little Brown Bear Says No
  • Little Brown Bear Lost His Lovey
  • Little Brown Bear Got a Booboo
  • Little Brown Bear Goes to Sleep
  • Little Brown Bear Doesn’t Want to Sleep

The website has a complete catalog of their books, and you will even find simple activities such as coloring pages.

P’tit loup

ptit loup french baby book

Little Wolf. This is a character created by another French publishing house called Auzou.

Babies and very small children will love Little Wolf, and for later, they’ll enjoy the Wolf stories. Much like Little Brown Bear , these heroes can be found going on lots of adventures:

  • Little Wolf’s Mirror of Emotions
  • Rock Melodies with Little Wolf
  • Little Wolf on the Farm (a bathtub book which C loves)
  • Little Wolf Gets Dressed All By Himself (a sensory book, another favorite of C)
  • The Big Book of Calm with Little Wolf

Auzou promotes Little Wolf in over 20 different countries—most notably in Germany, Italy, and China—so my international readers may be able to find this character, but in your local language.

Trotro

Trotro is a character by the French publishing house Gallimard. (The cutesy name Trotro, I imagine, comes from the French trottiner, to trot or scamper around.) Originally created for a television series, Trotro now has his own collection of books for kids.

According to the official website of Trotro, he likes playing in puddles and hates taking baths and eating sardines. He’s also not very tidy but has lots of imagination.

Here are some titles you might enjoy in the Trotro series:

  • Trotro the Donkey is Eco-Friendly!
  • Trotro and Zaza Go to the Farmer’s Market
  • Trotro’s Pony (Seems a bit dodgy though, no? A donkey riding a pony?)
  • Trotro Loves His Little Sister Zaza
  • Trotro Makes Crêpes

A sister website also has some activity sheets featuring Trotro.

reading baby book

Les belles histoires des tout-petits

Again from Bayard, Wonderful Kids’ Stories is a collection of books by different authors and with different characters. This collection came highly recommended by a few friends, so although it’s not a thematic collection with a central hero, I thought I would mention it here.

Certainly if you’re looking for some standalone stories that aren’t fairytales, take a look at some of the wonderful kids’ stories:

  • Hey, Dad—Why?
  • Miss Beetle Looks for a Fiancé
  • The Princess Who Sucked Her Thumb
  • I Want My Diaper!
  • Little Black Cat Is Scared at Night

I don’t know about you, but I would dearly like to flip through some of those books, based solely on the weird titles!

reading kid book

Ecole des loisirs

Leisure School is yet another French publishing house. They have several collections for kids and young adults, but best not for babies. Again, I had several friends recommend me titles from this publishing house.

A cool feature on their website is that you can look up stories by theme. So, say you’re looking for a book to help teach your child about grief, or the pandemic, or political conscience. You can have a list of all the books Leisure School publishes around that theme, books such as:

  • The Raccoon Who Didn’t Want to Wash
  • Everyone to the Construction Site!
  • But… It’s Not Fair!
  • Oscar and Carosse: Pasta Soup
  • Why Don’t I Ever Get Any Hugs?

Additionally, École des loisirs has a “reading out loud” resource. So if you don’t feel up to snuff yet with your French, you can listen to a recording of a book with your baby or child.

reading child book

One last resource for French baby books

Lire, c’est partir. To read is to go out! It means that reading expands the mind and provides escapism.

In fact, Lire, c’est partir is also the name of an organization that sells kids’ books for only 0.80 € a copy. They print their own catalog of books in France and Spain. Their original works are not available in stores; only on their website and sometimes when they hit the road to meet their readers face-to-face!

Among the titles published for the 2019-2020 season, you’ll find:

  • How Are Starfish Born?
  • The Algae Queen
  • Who’s Eating What?
  • The Annoying Flower
  • Green With Fright

They also have titles involving a “Little Wolf” character, but these should not be confused with the hero from Auzou above.

Bonne lecture!

Bears and wolves and donkeys, oh my! Now you have some insight into the most popular books for French babies today.

If you enjoyed this article, I highly recommend checking out my other resources for speaking French at home with your kids:

What are your favorite books to read to your child? What other French stories do you enjoy?

-Jessica

About the Author

photo of me

Jessica is an American expat living the dream in Normandy. She is wife to a French hubby and mama to a Franco-American daughter, born in 2018, and one whippet. Passionate about all stages of writing, this Francophile created her blog in 2020 to help others navigate motherhood with a focus on conscious parenting and bilingual parenting. Bonne lecture !

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most popular french baby books

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