This post goes out to all of my friends here at Uni in Scotland that have told me that by growing up in the UK I missed out on growing up without certain things, but guess what: WE HAVE THINGS YOU DIDN’T HAVE IN GERMANY AND THEY WERE F***ING AWESOME!
For a starter you guys never had the pleasure of meeting our heroes from Neustadt like Benjamin Blümchen and Bibi Blocksberg. Those were two series of audio books, later even as cartoon TV series, that without a doubt any child in Germany grew up listening to. Benjamin Blümchen is a speaking elephant who would go on adventures in nature and outside of nature with his human child friend Otto and Bibi Blocksberg was a young witch who was trying to fit in in a world where she had to hide her magic. Bibi Blocksberg even had a second series with her best friend Tina Martin, called Bibi and Tina which was set on the farm of Tina’s mum. I think I speak for everyone in Germany when I say those were the stories we often fell asleep to, where we had favourites that we annoyed our parents with and they couldn’t listen to them anymore. I mean I still remember my favourite episodes today (Benjamin Blümchen and the ice princess, Bibi Blocksberg in the witch boarding school and Bibi and Tina and the Easter Holidays) and this is like over 10-12 years I listened to them for the last time. Also I could probably still sing all of the intros.
Then I think most of us progressed, because when you were a bit older you were allowed to get the audio books for the ‘Drei Fragezeichen’, which do exist here as well as the three investigators but it’s not nearly as big as in Germany, and TKKG. Both are groups of teen detectives who try to solve crimes all over there countries and it was great. I remember spending entire days with my brother not doing anything else but listening to these audio books and to guess along with them. Along with the audio books they also published endless books that my brother and I would steal back and forth from each other because we both absolutely loved them.
Progressing to books I remember my parents reading to me, I most vividly remember Momo by Michael Ende and Pippi Langstrumpf (Pippi Longstockings) by Astrid Lindgren. Momo is about an orphan that lives in an old amphitheatre with her tortoise Kassiopea in a small town and basically tries to save her friends from the Grey Men who try to steal time from them making everyone miserable. Pippi Langstrumpf is a girl who lives by herself in a small house with her horse Kleiner Onkel ( Little Uncle) and her pet monkey Mr. Nielson. She is as strong as three men and objects to everything people teach at school. I also remember my parents reading me other stories such as Jim Knopf, another book by Michael Ende, and various other stories by Astrid Lindgren.
Also I think what we also had a lot more growing up was the influence of the fairytales of the brothers Grimm. My parents and grandparents would read them to us quite frequently and I had never heard about any Disney versions until I was in my teens.
Another set of stories that we were all quite taken up by that were German were the story of the Sams by Paul Maar. The story follows Herr Taschenbier who is a lonely, very boring person. Then one day he encounters a weird creature in a crowd who demands people to guess its name. (I would explain how Herr Taschenbier guesses it but it is related to the German names for the weekdays and therefore might be a bit too complicated). Anyways as he guesses his name the Sams claims Herrn Taschenbier as his dad. Herr Taschenbier is not happy about this as he likes being ordinary and does not wish to take care of something that looks human but is not. However it soon turns out that the blue freckles that the Sams has are not indeed freckles but wish points and whatever you wish becomes true. After growing accustomed to the Sams and learning the right way to wish things the two become close and go on some adventures.
Books that I remember looking at myself were definitely picture books with little text, but the ones I loved most were Pettersson and Findus, which was a lonely old man on a farm that would go through adventures with his cat called Findus who would always get them in some sort of trouble. At my grandparents we had some more picture books one being about the Heinzelmännchen who would come to people’s houses at night and help them with their housework but only as long as they weren’t tried to be caught. Another more interactive picture book I remember are the stories of the bunny Felix, who is a stuffed bunny belonging to Sophie who always went on some kind of adventure, but would always remember to send letters back to his friend Sophie, so that she didn’t need to worry about what he was up to. It was a very cute story and often hid educational stories in it which made it popular with my parents.
As for the first books that I read myself properly were books called ‘Die Wilden Kerle’ and yes I still own most of the books, I have seen all the films multiple times, my first crush was on one of the characters, I can still talk along the first film word for word and I own a hoodie relating to this. You could say that I had and in a way still have a slight obsession with this series. It was about a football team that had to brave a lot of adventures like playing against their 14 year-old nemesis that were trying to take away their arena (like how dare they), they had an amazing tree house called Camelot and generally somehow were able to skip school ( more in the films than in the books but still). My friends and I all wanted to play football just to be as cool as them and we named some of our stuffed animals after them, I mean that’s how dedicated we were.
Later then we all discovered a completely unrelated series called ‘Die Wilden Hühner’ which were a group of girls that had to brave the world together, starting from separated parents, to annoying siblings, parents losing jobs, parents cheating, parents beating their children and annoying boys. Somehow they managed it all by giving each other strength and having their secret escape, an abandoned camper van on a property that one of their parents owned), with the chickens they saved from one of the grandmothers who wanted to kill the poor chickens because they were too old. I think the dealing with real and relatable problems as well as the idea that friendship is able to help you through anything was what made these stories so great. Again they were made into films and yeah the actors of the guys were cute and we all had crushes on them.
Anyways, those are just a few of the books and stories that we had when we were younger that you guys missed out on. Next time I will talk about things on TV that we had that you didn’t because turns out we had too many things to fit it all in the same post!
I hope you enjoyed this,
Lots of Love,