9 Best Books For French Beginners to Attain Mastery of this Beautiful Language

Check out our guide to the best books for French beginners that enable the professional or casual student to master the basics right away. 

Learning French without actually being in France is a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, a vast assortment of books has been written to help beginner French students to master all the subtleties of French. Check out this list of our favorite best books for French beginners, and try out some of the best French grammar checkers!

Here Are The 9 Best Books For French Beginners

Best books for French beginners
There is a vast assortment of books has been written to help beginner French students to master all the subtleties of French

1. Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar, by Annie Heminway

Whether you are interested in learning French as a hobby or a serious pursuit, Practice Makes Perfect by Annie Heminway will give you the tools to succeed. This comprehensive, multi-level, bilingual French-English reference and workbook includes clear explanations and real-world examples to help you master the language quickly and easily.

You’ll find all the information you need to become proficient in French in this book, along with realistic examples and dozens of varied exercises, including flashcards and audio recordings, to help you get the most out of every study session. The included vocabulary questions will reinforce your new skills, and the notes on culture will help bring French to life. You might also enjoy our list of the best books for a book club.

“Learning another language requires dedication, time, and ultimately, frequent practice.”

Annie Heminway, Practice Makes Perfect

2. French Short Stories for Beginners: Easy French Beginner Stories, by Frederic Bibard

French Short Stories for Beginners is a great way to expand your vocabulary, improve your pronunciation, and increase your cultural knowledge. The collection of 30 short stories is designed to be easy to understand for beginners but can also benefit low to intermediate-French speakers. They feature common French vocabulary that you would encounter daily, easy grammatical structures, and casual dialogue. A native French speaker narrates the stories, so you can get accustomed to hearing the spoken French word.

There are about 300 words per story, written in a casual, descriptive style. This means you can easily read them and get the most from them without having to devote time to them. For many people learning another language, finding the time to study is a stumbling block, so this book removes that barrier. See our post on Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Le Petit Prince’ turning 80.

“Your book comes with the audio recording of each story, narrated by a native French speaker.”

Frederic Bibard, French Short Stories for Beginners

3. French All-in-One For Dummies, by Laura K. Lawless

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the French language, French All-in-One For Dummies has your needs covered. You’ll find nearly 800 pages of French-Canadian content and a couple of enhanced practice opportunities. There’s also an included audio CD. This multimedia supplement makes learning French fun again, and the audio-only experience provides a nice change of pace from the usual textbook fare.

“If you’re looking for small, easily digestible pieces of information about how to structure sentences in French, this book is for you.”

Laura K. Lawless, French All-in-One For Dummies

4. The Complete French Expressions & Idioms Course, by Dylane Moreau

This workbook helps the reader discover the most common French expressions and idioms. It’s ideal for anyone who wants a French crash course before a vacation in France or even as a supplement to a French language class. With The Complete French Expressions & Idioms Course in hand, you can quickly converse in French on a basic level.

Every idiom and expression in this book is followed by an example of how it would be used in everyday conversation. Additionally, the translations include both the literal meaning and the actual meaning. To immerse the reader in the language, 26 video lessons are suitable for those who like to engage in a teacher-student type scenario. You might also be interested in these essays about language.

“If you are starting French in school, learning by yourself as an adult, or want to brush up on your French, this is the perfect tool.”

Dylane Moreau, The Complete French Expressions & Idioms Course

5. Easy French Step-by-Step: Master High-Frequency Grammar for French Proficiency, by Myrna Bell Rochester

Easy French Step-by-Step does exactly what the title promises. The author takes you step by step through all the basics of the French language, preparing you to be able to speak, read and write very quickly. It’s organized in a logical order that builds upon vocabulary learned in previous lessons. This isn’t a book where you can skip around. It’s meant to be absorbed in the exact order that the chapters are laid out.

One of the great features of this book is that there are reinforcement activities to ensure lessons have been learned. The author encourages the reader to learn each concept well before moving on to the next. There are also reading comprehension tests, where the reader can test how well they can understand written French in context.

“In just a few weeks, you will be communicating, reading, and writing in French.”

Myrna Bell Rochester, Easy French Step-by-Step

6. Bescherelle Complete Guide To Conjugating 12000 French Verbs, by Bescherelle

Bescherelle Complete Guide To Conjugating 12000 French Verbs will be an invaluable resource for anyone who is very serious about learning the French language. Verb conjugation is a major accomplishment in attaining fluency in any language. This workbook guides the reader through 12,000 verbs and allows a sufficient practice to reach mastery.

“It is the aim of this book to enable French students of all levels to learn how to conjugate verbs comfortably, without having to give a second thought while speaking.”

Bescherelle, Bescherelle Complete Guide To Conjugating 12000 French Verbs

7. First French Reader for Beginners: Bilingual for Speakers of English, by Eugene Gotye

The book is made up of parallel French-English passages for beginning students of French and those who are intermediate level. The author writes each new phrase only with words that have already been defined in earlier chapters. This way, the reader learns French in a progressive manner. Each chapter contains around thirty new terms.

First French Reader for Beginners: Bilingual for Speakers of English also has accompanying audio recordings so you can hear what each phrase sounds like when spoken by a native French person. Whether you are studying French for pleasure or practical reasons, this book will be very helpful.

“The book is equipped with the audio tracks. We recommend using free VLC media player to control the playing speed.”

Eugene Gotye, First French Reader for Beginners: Bilingual for Speakers of English

8. Bilingual Fairy Tales in French and English: A Story Collection, by Charles Perrault and James Planché

Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault via Wikipedia, Public Domain

These Bilingual Fairy Tales in French and English are a fun way to help a child learn a second language and an excellent resource for teaching children new vocabulary and sentence structures. Fairy tales also inspire children’s imagination, which is helpful when learning a new language.

There are 12 bilingual fairy tales, which a native French speaker narrates. The collection is designed to help children improve their listening and pronunciation skills. Although these stories are geared toward children, the fairy tales are interesting enough that this book would also be good for adults who are just beginning to learn French. It’s a lovely departure from traditional, “dry” language instruction books. Looking for more? Check out our guide to the best economic books!

“Fairy tales expand imaginations and shape young minds to think outside the box.”

Charles Perrault, Bilingual Fairy Tales in French and English

9. 1001 Questions to Test Your French, by Elizabeth Allen

1001 Questions to Test Your French is a fun book to test your knowledge of the French language. It’s ideal for anyone studying French at any point during the journey. 1001 multiple choice questions test the reader’s French grammar and vocabulary knowledge. Subjects include money, education, medical situations, weather, dining, technology, and tourist activities.

Common life situations include working, playing, family life, friendly greetings, and formal greetings. A separate grammar section ensures testing on all the parts of speech and verb tenses. The author has covered a lot of ground with this book, and its format makes it readily accessible no matter how much study time you have. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best French authors!

“Rather than being a book that teaches French, this is one that tests your knowledge of it through a series of multiple choice questions.”

Elizabeth Allen, 1001 Questions to Test Your French