Monday, March 16, 2020

A Break From Angst To Celebrate La Francophonie Day

Friday, March 20 is International Francophonie Day, a celebration of French language and culture. I've also seen references to Francophonie Week and Francophonie Month. While the United States is not a Francophone country, Francophonie Week/Day is celebrated here by some French organizations.

While many Francophonie Day events have been postponed or cancelled, pas ici! Over the course of the week, I'll be featuring children's writing in French from French speaking countries or children's books set in French speaking countries.

Les Livres Canadian

I'm beginning with Great French Books for Kids, a review by Kelly Di Domenico of six books, which appeared in a Montreal paper, so I'm going to make the assumption that the books are from Quebec publishers. The article is from 2008 and publishing being what it is, I don't know how many of the books are are still available.

A book from the list that particularly struck me and that does appear to be available only used is La Classe de Neige by Alain M. Bergeron. The story is about a boy who has broken his leg skiing, and he describes how he ended up in a cast. This caught my attention, because I don't see a lot of skiing books in American childlit. And, yes, readers, you are welcome to hit me with ski stories in the comments.

Here you can see Bergeron doing a talk in French about La Classe de Neige. He starts out saying, "Hello, everyone" and that he's going to give a talk on La Classe de Neige. Then it sounds as if he's saying hello to a long list of kids. Then I was lost. I missed my Netflix sous-titres.

Les Autres

A more recent book list from Canada is 8 Books Your French Immersion Student Won't Be Able To Put Down by Laura Mullin.  She has collected child recommendations of French books, including some French translations of American titles, which I won't mention because that's not what I'm here to do this week.

In this group, the book I particularly like is Les P'tits Diablos by Olivier Dutto. This appears to be a lengthy series from France, though I can't find a nice, tidy website describing everything. I liked the ten-year-old girl's take on the book in the article. "It's about a brother and sister who don't get along, but when they put their minds together, they can sneak up on anybody."

The series is also animated. Again, ou est mes sous-titres? J'ai besoin mes sous-titres! This episode starts out with "It's not fair! It's not fair!" The sister greets the boy. The boy says he's sick today. And then they start talking over my head.

I can tell you, however, that the cover of the book to your left says, "Sister for sale. Cheap."

More French-related books or writers/illustrators coming this week.

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