Fantasy en français for Young Readers
If your middle-grade bookworms can’t get enough of their favorite fantasy series, make the most of their enthusiasm by encouraging them to read French translations. Exploring a book you love in a different language can make both the book and the language come alive in new ways. Figuring out, for example, how Harry Potter’s “Hogwarts” became “Poudlard” adds a layer of fun and reflection for a young reader.
This experience can be a real confidence booster for kids learning French. Books that otherwise might seem a little too difficult in French will likely feel more accessible, and more rewarding, for young readers who already know the book—or other books in the series—in English.
Here are four beloved fantasy series, available in French for your young reader:
For over 20 years, Harry Potter’s wizardry has been turning young people into voracious readers. He’s managed to attract grown-up fans as well; think back to the days before e-readers when you could spot commuters with their heavy volumes of Potter on subways and busses.
Following Harry’s debut in Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), he has starred in six more, magical, volumes:
Book 2. Harry Potter et la chambre des secrets (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
Book 3. Harry Potter et le prisonnier d'Azkaban (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Book 4. Harry Potter et la coupe de feu (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
Book 5. Harry Potter et l'Ordre du Phénix (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Book 6. Harry Potter et le Prince de Sang-Mêlé (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
Book 7. Harry Potter et les reliques de la Mort (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
His Dark Materials / À la croisée des mondes
Philip Pullman’s epic trilogy follows Lyra and Will, two 12-year-olds from (something like) our world, on their travels through other worlds. For them, coming of age means dealing with witches, Gobblers, and their own (actual) daemons.
The trilogy began with Northern Lights, known in North America as The Golden Compass and in French as Les Royaumes du Nord. The next books are La tour des Anges (The Subtle Knife) and Le miroir d'ambre (The Amber Spyglass).
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl II, the last hope in an Irish family of criminal masterminds on the decline, lives in a world of fairies, trolls, goblins, and LEPrecon (the recon division of the Lower Elements Police). Throughout the inventive, subversive, and humorous series, Artemis’ dealings with the fairies make him a better person.
After the original Artemis Fowl, the books en français are:
Book 2. Mission polaire (The Arctic Incident)
Book 3. Code éternité (The Eternity Code)
Book 4. Opération opale (The Opal Deception)
Book 5. Colonie perdue (The Lost Colony)
Book 6. Le paradoxe du temps (The Time Paradox)
Book 7. Le complexe d’Atlantis (The Atlantis Complex)
Book 8. Le dernier gardien (The Last Guardian)
Percy Jackson is twelve years old when he finds out that his dad is Poseidon, one of the Olympians, and god of the sea (among other things). Having been accused of of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, the young demigod Percy rounds up his friends heads for the underworld to set things straight. After this initial quest, Le voleur de foudre (The Lightning Thief), four further adventures follow:
Book 2. Le mer des monstres (The Sea of Monsters)
Book 3. Le Sort du Titan (The Titan’s Curse)
Book 4. La bataille du labyrinthe (The Battle of the Labyrinth)
Book 5. Le dernier Olympien (The Last Olympian)
Below you'll find the entire reading list in French. Enjoy!
Cover image from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights.