Books Dragons Mermaids Vampires International International Youth Library Finds It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading / IYL Finds] French Picturebooks Rock the Fantasy Scene

French fantasy picturebooks!


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.


We have just launched our new reading theme yesterday for November-December: Dragons, Mermaids, Vampires: Legendary Beasts and Mythical Creatures. We are having fantasy and more fantasy in the coming weeks! I thought that it would be good to introduce a few French picturebooks that I came across, thanks to my six-week fellowship at the International Youth Library in Munich.


img_4101Les choses que je sais (The Things I know)

Written by: Laëtitia Bourget Illustrated by: Emmanuelle Houdart
Published by: Seuil-Jeunesse, 2003 ISBN: 2020585391 (ISBN13: 9782020585392)
Found at the International Youth Library in Munich. Book photos taken by me. 

While I was reading international picturebook titles at the International Youth Library in Munich, Google Translate was my best friend. I understand, of course, that there are limitations to the use of such a crude online translating tool – but hey, as the trite adage says, beggars can’t be choosers. What was crucial to me is that I get a sense of what the story was about.


Given our penchant for fantastical and the mythical, this one is a perfect fit. In fact, the Goodreads blurb, roughly translated says it all: “A dive into the imagination of childhood, with fairies and the inhabitants of the world below.”


True enough, it is all this and more. I painstakingly typed all these words in the book for me to have some intuitive understanding of what they all convey. As far as I understand, it is really about knowing things.. secret things.. or revolutionary visions best kept to one’s self, because the sensible adult world will not be able to appreciate it.


I have fallen deeply in love with Houdart’s art that I made sure I borrowed all of her available picturebooks from the library.


This book is a celebration of all things strange, beautiful, odd, and glorious.


Written by: Marie-France Chevron Zerolo Illustrated by: Mathilde Magnan
Published by: Editions Courtes Et Longues, 2015 ISBN 13: 9782352901433
Found at the International Youth Library in Munich. Book photos taken by me. 

I vaguely remember a saying that goes along the lines: Blessed are the fools for they shall inherit the earth. This picturebook conveys similar sentiments as Fadoli is known as “the village idiot.” Yet, Fadoli believes that he is touched by fairies and so his everyday life is like a waking dream.


I especially love these international titles with gorgeous art and sparse text – makes the whole google-translate thing a wee bit easier.


He is believed to have “eyes in the stars, feet on a cloud”


Fadoli seems to be lit by a spark from within, transforming the ordinary into something surreal and fantastical.


These two French picturebooks here, as you can see, are veritable works of art. They seem to have a unique portal to the otherworldly. What a gift to be able to see the world through their eyes.

5 comments on “[Monday Reading / IYL Finds] French Picturebooks Rock the Fantasy Scene

  1. I am totally wanting to know how you received the fellowship. Do you have any details you can share? I am really excited that you are sharing fantasy books in November-December too. I would try to read something in each of those categories if I were a student. It would be something worth trying at my library too. Interesting post!


  2. Love that you shared some picture books from France, Myra. You’re right, those illustrations are wonderful. Thanks for both!


  3. The illustrations in both of these books are works of art. Isn’t that why picture books are so glorious? I read The Perfect Tree by Chloe Bonfield this week. The art is exquisite. On her website she said that she started doing illustrations so that more people could see her art.


  4. This is exactly why I wish we got more picture books in translation here in Canada – these illustrations are so weird, wonderful and absolutely fearless, in a way that North American books rarely dare to be. There’s so much emphasis on being profitable that we miss out on trailblazing, imaginative books that are really works of art.

    And wow, congrats on the fellowship, how exciting!!


  5. That sounds like a cool internship. I love fantasy. The possibilities for plot and characters are endless.


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