One of my friends Amber suggested that one of the best ways to improve my German was to get myself a library card and start borrowing children’s picture books. I thought this was an outstanding idea and today I made the journey into the Hamburg Zentralbibliothek or Bücherhallen as it is known here to do just that.
Getting a library card was as easy as showing my passport and my Meldebestätigung (my city registration) and paying the annual fee of €46 which entitles me to get out both books and DVDs. I was then let loose in the KinderBibliothek along with the other kids and their parents. I can say with confidence that I was the oldest person there who was looking for books for themselves to read.
Then came the tricky part of choosing books I would be able to read. There is nothing quite like having to put a picture book back on the shelf because it is beyond your reading ability when you are 35. However, on finding a picture book that was written by Neil Gaiman (albeit the German language version) I was able to leave the KinderBilbiothek with a tiny shred of dignity intact. Although to be honest, The Wolves in the Wall is probably a little beyond my reading ability.
The books I got out are:
The Wölves in den Wanden by Neil Gaiman
Richard by Helme Heine (which appears to be about a blackbird)
Ich war’s nicht! Ganz ehrlich nicht! by Lauren Child (which is based in the Charlie und Lola tv show, apparently)
Manchmal wär’ ich lieve Max by Reinhard Michl (which appears to be about a boy and his cat)
I also got out a DVD – Fangt die Sterne! which is a Dora the Explorer DVD. Dora here is awesome for English speakers trying to learn German as she speaks German and English rather than English and Spanish as in the English language version. Also, everything is repeated hundreds of times so learning to pronounce new words is made quite a lot easier.
Therefore, I’m going to spend my weekend reading children’s books and watching Dora. It’s going to be like a second childhood.