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Starting out to read can be a struggle! If it is too hard - or the book too boring - children will not be motivated to try and give up. If they are reading in their minority language, it can be even more challenging and intimidating.... So here are some fun and interesting children's books for beginning readers to get them hooked to reading themselves - in German.

In general German beginning reader don't really follow the American pattern. Even with the earliest books there is no real focus on sight words, they are a lot more text heavy and tend to have longish words early on. For the really beginning reader it can be all a bit too much. The books presented here all have little text, big letters and short words, often also pictures helping to interpret the text.

For a little more challenging titles check here.

Luise Holthausen


One morning Anna wakes up and realizes, she is as strong as a bear! She can lift about everything, a cupboard, cars or the bragger in her class.

She can even rescue an elephant in the zoo by lifting it up! An ward-winning book.

The Duden Lesedetektive Leseanfang books are all really short, with appealing illustrations. There are meant to read together: for the beginning reader there are just occasional, really short and easy words like Mama or Opa to read aloud.

5 years and up


One step up is this series: a very short sentence composed of short words with photos showing just what the child is reading.

It is a series with many volumes, gradually scaling up.

Children's books in German for beginning readers


Short, but funny, this book is about an elephant and a pig that discover somebody is reading (about) them.

It is funny, cartoon style, short words and really little text.

You probably know them already in English!

4 titles of the series are available in German.

Dorothee de Monfreid

KEINE LUST (Hundebande)

Micha is in a really bad mood. His friends try everything to cheer him up. They suggest all kind of activities and strategies, but Micha just remains grumpy.

Not written as a beginning reader, the comic series HUNDEBANDE still is one of the best books around in my eyes! Bold graphics, just a few short words to read, and still hilarious. There are several volumes available.

Susanne Rotraud Berner


8 Grimm fairy tales retold, with their own little twist. The illustrations by the awarded Susanne Rotraud Berner offer lots to discover, making reading for beginning readers the right mix of challenging and fun!

Katja Königsberg / Jan Lieffering


Written in capital letters only, this is a short story about Paula, who has lost her teddy. When she starts looking, she comes across a ghost on the attic. Easy to read and suspenseful.

All books are available for rent within the US with one of our subscriptions. 

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