Thematic Reading List: Vive la France!
This book list includes a blend of fiction and non-fiction books for middle grade readers interested in learning more about France from different points of view. From classic stories like the Hunchback of Notre Dame to famous artists like Picasso and Matisse, a wide variety of information is included. Readers of all ages are sure to learn something new from these books. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame
By: Victor Hugo
Adapted by: Marc Cerasini
In the grotesque bell-ringer Quasimodo, Victor Hugo created one of the most vivid characters in classic fiction. Quasimodo’s doomed love for the beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda is an example of the traditional love theme of beauty and the beast. Set against the massive background on Notre Dame de Paris and interwoven with the sacred and secular life of medieval France, it takes on a larger perspective.
|Cathedral: The Story of its Construction
By: David Macaulay
Combines location sequences and animation to show the building of a Gothic cathedral. Begins with a tour of Chartres, Reims, Amiens, Bourges, Beauvais, Notre Dame de Paris, Laon, and the Royal Abbey Church of St. Denis. Discusses life in the medieval era and how churches were a center of life.
By: Teresa Fisher
Discusses some of the foods enjoyed in France and describes special foods that are part of such specific celebrations like Christmas, Mardi Gras, and Menton’s Lemon Festival. Includes recipes.
|France: The Culture
By: Greg Nickles
Celebrates various aspects of French culture and their effects and influences on the world, including religion, festivals, science, language, and literature.
|France: The People
By: Greg Nickles
Explains the daily lives of the French people, including school, work, family activities, and everyday life both in the city and the country.
By: Kieran Walsh
Examines the history and culture of France and provides information on the people and life in France, education and government, the Channel Tunnel, and other interesting details about the country.
By: Ethel Gofen
Provides comprehensive information on the geography, history, wildlife, governmental structure, economy, cultural diversity, peoples, religion, and culture of France.
By: Fiona Conboy
An overview of the history, geography, government, economy, language, people, and culture of France. Includes numerous color photos, useful facts, and a detailed map and resource section.
|Framed in France
By: Josh Greenhut
Illustrated by: Macky Pamintuan
Stanley Lambchop is whisked away to Paris, where he must help catch a mastermind art thief at the historic Louvre museum by posing in a painting.
|The Cooking of France
By: Matthew Locriccio
Introduces the different culinary regions of France through recipes adapted for young chefs and discusses the basics of food handling and kitchen safety.
|Michael at the Invasion of France 1943
By: Laurie Calkhoven
Michael, a thirteen-year-old French-American, watches in fear as the Nazis invade Paris, and is spurred to become part of the French Resistance movement, defying Hitler, helping American aviators to safe zones, and delivering secret documents at great risk to his safety. Includes historical notes, glossary, and timeline.
|Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France
By: Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by: Lacopo Bruno
Discover how, in Paris in the 1770s, Benjamin Franklin’s scientific method challenged a certain Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious powers in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.
|E is for Eiffel Tower
By: Helen L. Wilbur
Illustrated by: Yan Nascimbene
From its achievements in architecture (Chartres Cathedral), science (Louis Pasteur), and literature (Marcel Proust), the country of France has had a profound impact on the world. E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet explores its venerable history and cultural heritage. Sumptuous artwork magnifies each letter topic’s poem and expository text. Artists and critics tried to stifle the daring design of Gustave Eiffel. A hundred years later, still it stands as a symbol of France to other lands. Young readers can experience the treasures of the Louvre Museum, play hide-and-seek in the gardens of Versailles Palace, or get a bird’s-eye view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. The achievements of Claude Monet and Victor Hugo come to life alongside stunning monuments, breathtaking scenery, and history-in-the-making moments.
|Madame Martine Breaks the Rules
By: Sarah S. Brannen
Madame Martine’s dog, Max, sneaks into the Louvre museum and sends Madame Martine on a chase around the most beautiful works of art in the world.
|Paris in the Spring with Picasso
By: Joan Yolleck
Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman
Describes how some of Paris’s famous artists and writers, such as Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, and Guillaume Apollinaire, spend their day before preparing to attend a party at Gertrude Stein’s apartment.
By: Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by: Sarah McMenemy
Describes in rhymed text the many ways to use the greeting “Bonjour” when visiting Paris.
|The Goldfish in the Chandelier
By: Casie Kesterson
Illustrated by: Gary Hovland
In early nineteenth-century Paris, young Louis Alexandre helps his dramatic great-uncle Henri design a spectacular chandelier for Madame Marie’s salon. Includes author’s note about a chandelier in the J. Paul Getty Museum collection.
|The Boy Who Wanted to Cook
By: Gloria Whelan
Illustrated by: Steve Adams
Ten-year-old Pierre dreams of being a chef at his parents’ restaurant, La Bonne Vache, in the south of France and is told he is too young, but when an important guest comes, Pierre sees a chance to prove himself. Includes notes about dining in France and a glossary.
By: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by: Fran Cois Place
Yannick feels like he is in heaven when he spends a month with his aunt and uncle at their inn in the South of France until he accidentally destroys a precious drawing left behind by a famous customer.