Please sign in to post.

Paris Book List

I homeschool a 9 and 10 year old and would like to read to them books pertinent to a month-long stay in Paris this summer. We just read Reign of Terror by G.A. Henty. I was thinking of reading Collette or paraphrasing Sartre. I will get the history for travelers but also wanted some "living" history.

Posted by
1320 posts

I really don't know what's appropriate for 9 and 10 year olds but will suggest 'Is Paris Burning?' for a 'living history' of the liberation of Paris during World War II.

Posted by
8293 posts

"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens.

Posted by
71 posts

Kate, I highly recommend Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb which is being published next month. It is written for adults but the format is such that I think you could read it to your boys. It is a book of different historical stories of Paris each from the point of view of a famous or not so famous Parisian. For example, there's a piece on the engineer who was in charge of doing something about the catacombs so the city wouldn't fall into them. There's another one about Marie Antoinette trying to escape from Paris but not making it because she took a wrong turn. It's kind of a forgotten history of Paris. Some of them might not be of interest to kids but some would be.

I recommend it to anyone who loves Paris!

Posted by
1838 posts

For yourself, read the Cara Black mysteries, set in contemporary Paris with a feisty female detective. Lots of atmosphere.

Posted by
29 posts

i'm reading "a corner in the marais" by alex carmel. fascinating history of a paris neighborhood. seems very suitable for a 9 and a 10 year old.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you so much for the wonderful responses. Even if it's not for reading to the kids, I want to read all I can about history, of literature set there, of writers living or from there. I hear there's a new biography of Sylvia Beach from Shakespeare and Co. coming out. Thanks again.

Posted by
10344 posts

"I homeschool a 9 and 10 year old and would like to read to them books pertinent to a month-long stay in Paris...was thinking of paraphrasing Sartre."

Paraphrasing the philosophy of Sartre, in a way that would interest a 9 & 10 year old--that could be a challenge.

Here's a Paris-pertinent kid's reading list from Rick:The Three Musketeers (Dumas)The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo)The Man in the Iron Mask (Dumas)

Posted by
205 posts

I found the reading lists intriguing, but I hope, when you're talking about classics like The Three Musketeers, you're talking about short, children's versions. Keep in mind that the originals are quite long. I don't know which translations from the French you have in mind when it comes to Hugo and Dumas, but remember that Dickens wrote in the English of the period. Some kids might find that difficult to follow.

Posted by
3580 posts

Probably too racy for young kids, but just right for the adult murder-mystery fan (MURDER IN THE MARAIS, etc), are the books by Cara Black. Her books take on contemporary topics and include maps of Paris.

Also, CULTURE SHOCK! FRANCE by Sally Adamson Taylor (A Guide to Customs and Etiquette). A chapter on "Home Life" is included along with various chapters on French culture.

I also enjoyed the several books by Diane Johnson about contemporary adult life in Paris such as LE DIVORCE, etc.

PARIS TO THE MOON by Adam Gopnik may be ok for 9-10 yrs old. It's about a family that moves to Paris with their baby and describes the experience of raising a child in Paris. There is some discussion about the French education system.

Posted by
2349 posts

Now, I love Colette, but I'm not sure how interested your boys would be. Give a shot. I agree with "Hunchback of Notre Dame." That would be great background before they climbed the tower. If they need to know just what a hunchback is, see the movie "Young Frankenstein."

Posted by
66 posts

For something lighter they can read themselves:

A Spree in Paree

The children's classic

"Madeline" in Paris

Posted by
408 posts

Le Petit Prince

I know, I know - more Lyon than Paris. But it was my first "French" book as a child (in French, actually). And when in Paris today I still buy those "little prince" postcards!!

Posted by
15 posts

I know what you mean about the difficulty level. I'm a big believer in not reading above level - I can never understand why a child is read chapter books when he still finds picture books wonderful. I also think when we read complex books too young the child misses so much. Plus, why bother when there are always age-appropriate books. But this year we read Frankenstein and Ivanhoe and just started 3 Musketeers and they have all seem just fine. They're very used to classical literature and "old" English. We've been having fun discussing Sartre. A wonderful book called Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids by Marietta McCarty has been a great help. Camus and de Beavoir covered there too.

Posted by
31 posts

I would suggest The King in the Window by Adam Gopnik. It's a fun book (fiction) for children, set in modern-day Paris. My ten year old son loved it. The story itself doesn't quite hang together, but it still makes for a good journey around a fabulous city.