Summer Reading for French Teachers and Francophiles



Now that summer's in full swing, it's time to sit back and relax with a nice book!  In this post, I'll share with you some of my favorite books that are relevant to French teachers.  Whether you're looking for ways to improve your teaching this year, looking for a good read at the beach, or just want to get lost in the beautiful imagery of Paris, it's all here.  Prefer to read on your iPad or Kindle?  Most of these books have a Kindle edition as well!

Books for Any Language Teacher

Foreign Language Teacher's Guide to Active Learning  by Deb Blaz - Although some parts of this book are a bit dated, it's still an invaluable resource for language teachers.  I read this book twice before I started teaching (once as required reading for my methods class and then once again the following year).  Even if you've been teaching awhile, you're bound to pick up a few (or more) ideas you can use in your classroom.

Activities, Games, and Assessment Strategies for the Foreign Language Classroom by Amy Buttner - If you're looking for ways to spice up your lessons and make learning more fun for the students, this is a great read.  The best part about this book is that most activities are presented with a number of variations, so you can adapt them to best suit your classroom.


Books for Any Teacher

The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry and Rosemary Wong - Many of you have probably already read this, but it's worth another look.  This is another book that I read twice before I started teaching.  Wong and Wong remind us of the most important parts of teaching.

Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching by Robyn R. Jackson - The title of this book is very misleading.  Once you read the book you will understand it, but it's not what you think!  This book really helped me change the way I thought about many aspects of teaching. I especially like how Dr. Jackson discourages readers from trying to revamp all their teaching practices overnight, and instead offers suggestions on how to improve practices over time in order to avoid being overwhelmed.


Books for Any Francophile

All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, A Memoir by Roland Mesnier - Dr. Mesnier was the White House pastry chef during five presidencies.  What makes this charming memoir appealing to francophiles is that not only is Mesnier French, but he begins his story by sharing his youth in France.  If you love France and you love French food, it will be hard not to like this book.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mesnier at a book signing in Washington DC, and back in 2009, Dr. Mesnier was kind enough to give me an interview on this blog.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - A must-read for anyone who loves Paris.  It's a classic, and it will make you want to get in a time machine and see Paris as it was when Hemingway lived there.

Dessine-moi un parisien by Olivier Magny - This book is available in English too, but you wouldn't dare!  This rather humorous take on the many interests of Parisians will help you retain your fluency in French as well as your sense of humor.  CAUTION:  This book does contain some adult language.  I do not recommend it for younger students.

Les Aventures de Tintin / Tintin et l'Ile Noire by Hergé - Why not make your way through a Tintin book?  You don't have to be a child to enjoy a band dessinée, especially not if it's in French!

The Champs-Elysées by Jean-Paul Caracalla - This coffee table book will take you down one of the most famous Avenues in the world.  Accompanied by text which reveals the rich history of the Avenue, photos from past and present depict the many people and events the Champs-Élysées have seen.

Quiet Corners of Paris by Jean-Christophe Napias - I love visiting the well-known landmarks of Paris, but sometimes it's fun to explore the lesser know areas.  This book will show you a bevy of parks and courtyards where you can escape city life for a bit.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter - Travel essays are a dime a dozen these days, but Baxter manages to make his unique by complementing present-day narrative with historical context.  Walk the same streets that the great writers of the early 20th century walked and let Baxter be your tour guide.

The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe - This is a heavier read, but it's a great way to familiarize yourself with the lives and work of the impressionists.  I introduce my first year students to several impressionist artists and their styles.  This book made me more knowledgeable on the subject.

Paris by Assouline - This 976 page pictorial volume will visually transport you to la Ville Lumière.  While not all the photos are top notch, you'll still enjoy perusing the pages, intertwined with famous quotes about the city.


On My List

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink - Colleen over at Language Sensei has recommended this as a great resource for teachers on how to instill the value of languages in our students.

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess - Lots of language teachers have been singing this book's praises!

Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France by Vivian Swift - I admit it; the artwork pulled me in!  This book's on my radar!

What's on YOUR summer reading list?

2 comments:

  1. You may have already listed 60 Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong and The Story of French (both by Nadeau and Barlow) in an earlier post that I missed. The latter taught me more about the backstory of the French language than most of my university courses did. I am currently reading Le français dans tous les sens (Henriette Walter) and it promises to provide yet another wonderful perspective on the true beauty of the French language.

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