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Best Easy French Books for Beginners

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The very best French books for learning French — our personal favourites.

Reading a book completely in French is a powerful way of improving French language learning process and something you should definitely add to your study routine. The immense sense of accomplishment you get from finishing a book in French — especially if you love reading — is an added bonus.

best easy french books for beginners

But finding good French books to read is difficult. Fortunately for you, we’ve hand-curated the best easy French books for beginners so you can dive straight in!

These picks are unique because while the grammar is simple and easy to follow, the stories are interesting and appropriate for adults.

*Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. Read more about CEFR Levels

Best Easy French Books for Beginners

Le Petit Prince

French

English

  • Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate | A2 – B1
  • Genre: Children’s literature

Le Petit Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a classic French children’s book. It’s included in most beginner-level French curriculums — for a good reason. It’s one of the most widely read and best-known works of French literature in the world.

This famous book is a philosophical tale about the adventures of the eponymous Little Prince. The prince visits various planets and encounters many unique characters. The story includes themes of duality including the visible and the invisible, adult and child, love and friendship, space and time, happiness and sorrow, signs and meanings, and more.

So while we recommend it as a French book for beginners, French speakers and readers of all ages will like it.

Enquête Capitale

Sale
Enquete Capitale + CD Audio MP3 (Decourtis) (Fiction, 1) (French Edition)
18 Reviews
Enquete Capitale + CD Audio MP3 (Decourtis) (Fiction, 1) (French Edition)
  • Decourtis, Marine (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 12/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Hachette Fle (Publisher)
  • Difficulty: Beginner | A1
  • Genre: Crime / Mystery

Enquête Capitale is an educational self-study reader with an interesting story. The nice thing about this reader is that it’s optimized to make it easier for beginners to learn and study. There are exercises to check for reading comprehension, and new vocab and new phrases are listed at the end of the page. The book also comes with audio, so you can also use it as a way to improve listening skills.

The story is about a woman who works in a publishing house, though her true passion is reading and writing detective novels. In the evenings she writes about detective and crime stories on her blog. She receives a strange message that leads her on a crazy investigation adventure across Paris.

Le Petit Voleur d’Ombres

Le Petit Voleur d'ombres - Tome 1 (French Edition)
114 Reviews
Le Petit Voleur d'ombres - Tome 1 (French Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • LEVY, Marc (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 70 Pages - 04/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Robert Laffont/Versilio (Publisher)
  • Difficulty: Beginner | A2
  • Genre: Children’s Literature
  • Pages: 70

Also in our list we have a beloved children’s book which will catch adults’ attention too. Le Petit Voleur d’Ombres is the first of a series of books by Marc Levy, one of the most famous contemporary French authors. We join our hero as he starts at a new school after his parents’ separation and grapples with feelings of disorientation and loss.

It’s only 70 pages long and perfect for those who are interested in embarking on a longer reading journey – five books have been published in this series so far. This beginner French book is illustrated with pictures and best suited for beginning to intermediate learners.

Short Stories in French for Beginners

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Short Stories in French for Beginners (Teach Yourself Short Stories)
937 Reviews
Short Stories in French for Beginners (Teach Yourself Short Stories)
  • Richards, Olly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 252 Pages - 11/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Teach Yourself (Publisher)
  • Difficulty: Beginner | A1-A2
  • Genre: Short Stories
  • Pages: 252

Olly Richards and Richar Simcott bring us eight short stories carefully curated to meet the needs of beginning French learners. There’s vocabulary lists and summaries and the grammar is adapted to suit readers with a beginning level of French. The stories are funny and independant from one another – each takes you on its own little journey. This easy French book can also be enjoyed as an audiobook, perfect for long drives. You will have developed a French accent on arrival!

Histoires a lire le soir

Histoires à lire le soir (French Edition)
850 Reviews
Histoires à lire le soir (French Edition)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Thil, Marc (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 105 Pages - 05/24/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
  • Difficulty: Beginner | A2
  • Genre: Children’s Literature
  • Pages: 105

Upper Beginner level readers will most benefit from this collection of short stories. Histoires a lire le soir, translates to Stories to read at night. Keep the book on your nightstand and finish a story each night – you’ll be guaranteed to dream in French in no time. “Histoires a lire le soir” by Marc Thiel introduces you to new characters in each short story. It includes a variety of verbal tenses and will help you review your grammar.

La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh

French

English

  • Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate | A2 – B1
  • Genre: Literary fiction

La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh, written by Philippe Claudel, is a touching short story about Mr Linh, an elderly East-Asian refugee. His son and daughter-in-law were killed in his home country. He leaves his war-torn village taking his infant grand-daughter for a better life in France. He is alone, isolated, and unable to speak the language, but forms an unexpected friendship with a widower, Mr. Bark.

This is a moving story about loneliness and friendships that can move through language barriers. Thanks to Claudel’s clear writing style, this book’s grammar is relatively simple, making it digestible for beginners learning French.

Astérix (Series)

French

English

  • Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate | A2 – B1
  • Genre: Comedy; Satire

Astérix is one of the most well known French comic books, created over 60 years ago (1959)! Books have continued to be written to the — there are 38 series to date — with the last one being published in 2019. The Astérix comics have withstood the test of time because of its humorous takes on contemporary French society.

The series is set in 50 BC — shortly after the Roman conquest — in a small Gaulish village that continues the rebellion against the Romans. The main characters are the warrior Asterix and his best friend, a sculptor and deliveryman named Obelix.

Momo, Petit Prince des Bleuets

Momo, petit prince des Bleuets (Tempo) (French Edition)
462 Reviews
Momo, petit prince des Bleuets (Tempo) (French Edition)
  • Hassan, Yaël (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 10/29/2012 (Publication Date) - SYROS JEUNESSE (Publisher)
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate | A2-B1
  • Genre: Children’s Literature
  • Pages: 112

Up next we have a personal favorite of mine – a children’s book that tells the story of a blossoming friendship between a child discovering his love for books and a retired professor suffering from a terminal illness. Momo, the son of immigrants, learns about books with the help of his new, knowledgeable friend and eventually wants to become a writer himself. “Momo, Petit Prince des Bleuets” by Yael Hassan can be enjoyed by readers with a beginning to intermediate level of French.

Carnet de bord de Greg Heffley: Journal d’un dégonflé 1

French

English

  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate | A2-B1
  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Pages: 223

You may be familiar with this next book. It’s the French translation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Journal d’un Dégonflé). In “Carnet de bord de Greg Heffley: Journal d’un dégonflé 1” by Jeff Kinney 12-year old Greg is given a journal by his mom. Although the idea of putting pen to paper seems ridiculous to him he eventually finds joy in it.

The book is a comedic gem that catapults you back to your teenage years. If you enjoyed the first one there are several more books in the series. This easy French book has 223 pages and is suited for beginners and early intermediate learners. You might have to look up some of the idioms – the book uses a lot of informal language.

Best Easy French Books for Intermediate Learners

L’Etranger

French

English

  • Difficulty: Intermediate | B1
  • Genre: Crime Fiction / Existential Fiction

L’Etranger is an existential philosophical novel by Albert Camus. It’s one of those books where people debate whether the appropriate reading level is truly intermediate. The beauty of the book is that the writing and grammar are simple enough to be grasped by an intermediate French learner.

But as an advanced learner, you will understand the book at a deeper level. It’s a book worth coming back to as you advance in your learning.

It is written in the theme of Camus’s own philosophy — Absurdism — a philosophical concept that refers to the human tendency to look for meaning and purpose in life, and the inability of finding it in a chaotic and irrational world. This is demonstrated best in the famous first lines of the novel:

Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.

Excerpt from L’Etranger by Albert Camus

L’Etranger follows the story of a French-Algerian man named Meursault, who doesn’t care about societal expectations. Starting from the indifference at the announcement of his mother’s death to his conviction for homicide a year later. Camus sheds light on the pessimistic and absurd aspect of the human condition by depicting a man who takes life as it comes, follows his instincts, and is not burdened by social rules.

Les Aventures de Tintin – Objectif Lune

French

English

  • Difficulty: Intermediate | B1-B2
  • Genre: Graphic Novel
  • Pages: 62

This one is for fans of Nancy Drew – join France’s most famous (fictional) reporter, Tintin who has entertained children and adults alike for decades in his adventures. In “Les Aventures de Tintin – Objectif Lune” by Herve (Georges Rémi) our protagonist, Tintin, investigates a top-secret project that eventually even takes him into space. The first book in the series was published in 1930 and Tintin’s adventures are a perfect read for those who want to connect with generations of readers all over the world.

Les Misérables – tome 1 Lire en français facile

  • Difficulty: Intermediate | B1-B2
  • Genre: French Literature
  • Pages: 75

We are moving into more adult territory with Victor Hugo’s famous novel “Les Miserables”. While the original work spans almost 1500 pages, this version of “Les Miserables” is only 75 pages and is written in easy French, perfect for intermediate learners. The chapters are short and will give you an overview of the beloved story of the character of Fantine, a young girl in Paris, fighting poverty and discovering motherhood. The series has several volumes, each introducing you to a different character of the book.

Vingt Mille Lieues sous les Mers

Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (French Edition)
1,073 Reviews
Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (French Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Verne, Jules (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 483 Pages - 09/27/2011 (Publication Date)
  • Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced | B2-C1
  • Genre: French Literature, Science Fiction
  • Pages: 483

If you’re keen on diving into (no pun intended) a French classic, written in the original words of Jules Vernes, Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas), is a great book to start. The story is set deep in the ocean where they will join a crew of scientists on the hunt for a mysterious sea monster. In their journey they end up being held captive by a mysterious and powerful sea captain and learn about wonders they had never dreamed about.

This original work uses complex grammar and a variety of verbal tenses so it is best enjoyed by advanced French learners. Another bonus, is that it’s available on Kindle for free.

Tips on Using French Novels to Learn French

Get a book that is also available in your native language

Find out if the book you’ve selected also has a translation in your native language. Having the direct translations side by side will cut out having to look up words or phrases online. It will dramatically speed up your ability to read and make the entire experience smoother and more enjoyable.

Alternate reading for pleasure and reading to study

You’ve likely decided to learn French by reading a novel because you love to read. The joy of reading a novel is that you can follow an exciting or an enjoyable story while learning a language at the same time. When you’re reading to study all the time, it is easy to lose the joy of getting immersed in a book and it can become as though you’re studying another textbook.

To avoid this, it’s important to alternate between pleasure-reading and study-reading. When reading for pleasure, try to read continuously — without looking up words or writing things down. Reading to study is the time to write down words and new phrases and add new vocab to your flashcards.

Take notes with a notebook

If you’re dedicated to learning a language, you want to get the most out of your study time. The ultimate study setup is not having a laptop present. It’s ideal to only have your french book, English translation, and your notebook. You’ll be able to focus completely and not be distracted by a laptop. I am forever obsessed with Moleskine notebooks and these Japanese pens.

Use Anki to add new vocab

Reading books is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary. You’re sure to come across hundreds of new words you’ve yet to learn. The best way to store and review these words is with flashcards. Good ol’ index cards will get the job done, but I would highly recommend going digital. Anki is a free flashcard app that uses spaced repetition to help you learn vocab quickly. They also have the ability to include audio clips and other useful memory techniques that paper just can’t compete with. We’ve written an Anki guide for beginners and an Anki guide for advanced users.

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