Every time we travel to Europe to visit family, we return home with our luggage filled with books, books, books. As every multilingual family knows: It is essential to have books at home in our languages for our children. It helps keep our children’s bilingualism alive but it is also expensive (let alone all of the space that our books take up)!
Unfortunately, what we have found is that after arriving home with our piles of books in German, our children’s interests seem to morph. Before we know it, our children no longer want to read the majority of books that we took such pains to purchase and bring home. Sigh.
If only we had a local German library so that we could borrow books that match our children’s changing interests!
The good news for families who speak French (or who are learning French) is that there is a company just for you that provides just this: French books that you can borrow on demand and return when you are done. No more money spent on random books in your language that take up shelf space! Fantastic!
The name of this company is Les Petits Livres.
We recently had a chance to try out Les Petits Livres and were delighted with this gem of a company. We think you will be delighted as well!
Below we give you an overview of Les Petits Livres followed by our own experiences borrowing books.
Les Petits Livres
Are you a bilingual or multilingual family looking for quality French books for your children? Are you helping your child learn French? Maybe your child is learning French at school?
If so, you really should check out Les Petits Livres! They have over 3,000 quality titles in French, just for your kids!
Here are some highlights of Les Petits Livres:
- Ease of Use: Getting things going at Les Petits Livres is a cinch. You start by choosing your rental plan, picking your books (or asking Les Petits Livres to pick some out for you based on your criteria) and then sitting back and waiting for the arrival of French children’s books to your door. When you are done with the books, you send them back in the postage-paid envelopes included in your original delivery. So, so easy!
- Breadth of Genres: You will have a hard time picking just a few books when you make your selection! Les Petits Livres includes over 3,000 fantastic titles! The stories are interesting and engaging for young children and the illustrations are beautifully captivating. The non-fiction books cover a wide range of topics, contain many pictures and will keep your child engaged for hours. So many to choose from!
- High Quality: Les Petits Livres carries books that are in excellent condition. You won’t be receiving books that are falling apart or are made of flimsy materials, which is important to think about when sharing books with your children! For the younger children you can expect primarily hardback books. For older children, you will find more paperbacks but ones that are still sturdy and strong.
- Wide Age Range: Les Petits Livres includes fiction and non-fiction titles for children from age 0 to 12 years old. This is amazing! This means that all of your children can find something that interests them. Since our children’s interests seem to change every few months, this is a great way to always have something available! Les Petits Livres are even planning on offering books for children from 12-16 in the near future!
- Free Shipping: If you live in the United States, then you can sit back and enjoy free shipping in both directions. This is a fantastic feature since it takes away the hassle and confusion of changing shipping rates. The price you pay is the price you pay, no additional shipping charges or fees. As we said before: When you are ready to send your books back, just slip them into the postage-paid envelope and let the postal carrier pick it up or drop it off at the post office!
- No Late Fees: Since you can keep the books for as long as you want, you don’t have to worry about late fees, ever. Let your children enjoy the books until they are ready to move onto something else. The only difficulty will be convincing your children to move on to something new. The books are so wonderful, it is hard to send them back (my family and I have experience with this).
Recently we tried out Les Petits Livres ourselves and were delighted with the service and books. We signed up for the 6 at a time unlimited plan and made our selection.
We specifically choose three books that we found while searching through the Les Petits Livres website and the other three we asked Les Petits Livres to choose for us (based on our selected criteria). Based on the selection that Les Petits Livres made for us, I would definitely trust them to make more selections for us in the future.
- Getting started: Logging into the website was easy. We were a little confused at the beginning since we were able to create a login and browse the books before selecting a rental plan. But once we selected and paid for our rental plan, everything made sense and went very smoothly.
- Choosing books: We weren’t sure at the beginning whether or not we could choose all of the books that we wanted or if Les Petits Livres selected them for us. The nice thing is that you can decide! If you would like your child to receive a wide variety of books in different subjects, then we recommend that you let Les Petits Livres make the selection for you. They will pick out some wonderful books that you may not think about selecting on your own. If your child is interested in specific topics, then either let Les Petits Livres know so that they can pick them out for you or create a wishlist and Les Petits Livres will send those specific books to you. We really like this combination of options!
- Receiving the books: After we put in our order, we receive a confirmation email for our order and before we knew it, the books had arrived (they arrived much faster than we expected). My children were in heaven when the books arrived and were captivated by the books immediately (even though they don’t know much French).
- Enjoying the books: My husband, German sister-in-law and I read the books out loud to the children and translated them into German. What fun! We all enjoyed the stories and absolutely loved the illustrations. The quality of the books was as we expect from European books: high quality construction. We opted primarily for fiction books but I highly recommend non-fiction books as well for keeping language alive in your home! It is a great way to have fun working on vocabulary in context.
- Returning the books: Since I hate having to figure out postage for packages, I really appreciate the postage-paid return envelopes that were provided. It was as easy as 1, 2, 3: Put the books in the envelope, seal it, leave it for the postal carrier or drop it off at the post office. Fantastic! The only thing to watch out for is that you hold on to the postage-paid envelope. Don’t lose it! Also, if you opt for the 6-books-at-a-time rental, you may receive two packages and therefore, two postage-paid return envelopes. Make a note of which books go back in which envelope. I made the mistake of not keeping track but Les Petits Livres helped me straighten things out without a problem.
Les Petits Livres is a true gem.We highly recommend Les Petits Livres to any and all families who are looking for French books for their children. Whether you speak French at home, your children are learning French in school or you are helping your children learn French at home as a new language, you will want to check out what Les Petits Livres offers.
We also recommend this program for schools and language programs who are unable to purchase books themselves for their program (or to supplement their own language library). At the very least it would keep new books circulating for students to read and enjoy.
With the number of titles available, you are sure to find what your children are looking for, and with the option of keeping the books for as long as you want, you never run the risk of having to pay late fees. Finally, I’d like to emphasize the benefit of not having to pay shipping fees and the easy of postage-paid return envelopes. They make the whole process run smoothly and there are never any unexpected fees or taxes!
If I could wish one thing for this program, it would be that it be available in other languages! We’d jump on a program like this in German!
To learn more about the Les Petits Livres program, head to their website at www.lespetitslivres.com. There you will find all of the information that you need to get started.
We are proud to have Les Petits Livres as a Multilingual Living sponsor. Thank you, Les Petits Livres for all of your support!