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What are the German language equivalents of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl etc?

Books that are so good that kids long to read them, doesn't matter which age range.

I'd immediately ignore "Emil and the Detectives" and "Heidi" as these are very well known tales.

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Enid Blyton is actually quite popular in Germany as well, so it's not that good an example if you're looking for regional children's literature ;) –  OregonGhost May 31 '11 at 9:10
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Since this is a "big list" type of question, I suggest community wiki and one answer per post. Feel free to disagree. :) –  Stovner May 31 '11 at 9:15
    
Actually this is kind of a hard question. It's difficult to judge what's known outside one's country, not only when it comes to books but also music, movies etc. –  ladybug May 31 '11 at 9:53
    
@ladybug: At least from an English speaker's point of view, if you can buy a 'normal' copy of a book (not a special import) or if a non DE wikipedia article exists for a book then I'd assume it's probably reasonably well known. –  adolf garlic May 31 '11 at 10:20
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Although the viewpoints in the article are a bit too extreme IMO - there is small talk in German everyday life, too - it is fascinating reading. Bookmarking, thanks for this. –  Pekka 웃 May 31 '11 at 11:51

14 Answers 14

I'd say that all Michael Ende books except "The Neverending Story" satisfies your criteria (because "The Neverending Story" is too well known). At least in Norway "Momo" and "Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer" are largely unheard of.

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The Neverending Story is a must... I need to read it, I only saw the old movie :D –  Alenanno May 31 '11 at 9:39
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Other lovely books by Michael Ende are: "Das Traumfresserchen", "Der Lindwurm und der Schmetterling oder Der seltsame Tausch" and "Der satanarchäolügenialkohöllische Wunschpunsch". –  ladybug May 31 '11 at 12:14
    
I agree with "Momo" specifically and Michael Ende generally since my German speaking friends always made these exact recommendations when I asked this question. –  hippietrail Jun 2 '11 at 13:15

Der Autor Otfried Preußler hat eine Reihe von exzellenten Kinderbüchern verfasst, u. a.

  • Der kleine Wassermann
  • Die kleine Hexe
  • Der Räuber Hotzenplotz
  • Das kleine Gespenst
  • Krabat
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+1 für den kleinen Wassermann. –  OregonGhost May 31 '11 at 9:50
    
Just want to add that "Krabat" is not for little children. It's quite different from his other books in that way. –  fzwo Dec 22 '11 at 9:22

Christine Nöstlinger is an award winning author children books. I remember being read a translation of "Wir pfeifen auf den Gurkenkönig" and enjoying it immensely.

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Well known in Germany but almost unknown elsewhere are the stories about the Sams by Paul Maar.

The first three books "Eine Woche voller Samstage", "Am Samstag kam das Sams zurück", and "Neue Punkte für das Sams" are great fun reading.

For non-native readers the ambiguous usage of language by the Sams may be a challenge.

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Even though "Emil und die Detektive" may be well-known outside of Germany (didn't even know that until now ^^), some of Erich Kästner's other children's books might be not:

  • Das fliegende Klassenzimmer
  • Die Konferenz der Tiere
  • Der kleine Mann
  • Der kleine Mann und die kleine Miss
  • Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee

The last three were among my favourite books as a kid. ;-)

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"Die Konferenz der Tiere" wurde kürzlich erst verfilmt. –  Hellenologophilist May 31 '11 at 9:55
    
For some unknown reason, only EATD is known. –  adolf garlic May 31 '11 at 12:08
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What about "Das doppelte Lottchen"? Haven't mentioned it because I guessed it didn't match your criteria. –  ladybug May 31 '11 at 12:11
    
Don't forget "Pünktchen und Anton". Had this as an audio drama on cassette and loved it as a child. I still know the prologue by heart. Kästner considered this his best children's book. –  fzwo Dec 22 '11 at 9:26

I'd also like to mention "Vom kleinen Maulwurf, der wissen wollte, wer ihm auf den Kopf gemacht hat." which is one of the more odd childrens books.

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Definitely +1 for this one. –  OregonGhost Jun 1 '11 at 15:11
    
A cool book for the anal stage, but note that this is for very young children. –  Phira Jun 3 '11 at 18:59

I recommend Wilhelm Busch - Max und Moritz. I can still recite most of the book word for word.

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There are a lot of well-known children's books by Mira Lobe, in particular "Bimbulli" and "Das kleine Ich-bin-Ich". (In sharp contrast to modern children's series that aim to sell a lot of merchandise, these books include a set of instructions to the parents to actually sew the main character for their children.)

Age: 5-7

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Sigrid Heuck: Pony, Bär und Apfelbaum

A classic for very young children where part of the words are replaced by pictures so the small child can read part of the words. There are more books in this series.

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I also loved the books of Peter Abraham as a child (especially "Das Schulgespenst", "Der Affenstern" and "Weshalb bekommt man eine Ohrfeige?")

He was quite famous in the GDR, but apparently they aren't published any more. So that's even an insider in Germany itself. ;-)

Same is true for Hannes Hüttner ("Das Blaue vom Himmel"). Bit sad you can't get those books anymore.

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Käthe Recheis: Der weiße Wolf

A fantasy novel where the main character is summoned to a fantasy world to help the woodland tribes against the invaders.

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Hohlbein: Elfentanz

A fantasy story where the main character fights against an evil black lord, but the ending is less black and white than one might expect.

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Known in Switzerland

  • Divico
  • Die Kummerbuben
  • Heidi und der Geissenpeter
  • Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü (and everything else by Astrid Lindgren)
  • Schellenursli
  • Papa Moll
  • Globi
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Of course, Astrid Lindgren is neither Swiss nor German, but Swedish. Still great books (and movies) of course. –  fzwo Dec 22 '11 at 9:28

Kleiner Eisbär books by Hans de Beer are perfect for language learning. They are only 30 pages long and use simple vocabulary. Reading these books made me realize that I need to study more adverbs. Bisa Bia, Bisa Bel by Ana Maria Machado was written by a Brazilian but it is unavailable in English. I've been slowly translating this book as a language learning exercise and I'll be the only English speaker to have read it when I'm done.

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protected by Takkat May 21 '13 at 7:12

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