Sitzt du vor der Glotze? If the answer is yes, you are in good company. Though the verdict isn’t out yet on the consequences of long-term exposure to screens, we in the meantime still have fond memories of watching our favorite shows as kids. Though more recently some of our shows have been imported from the United States, such as Spongebob or The Simpsons, many were German products or co-productions and somewhat telling of the time period they were created in.
Pro tip: Though it can be embarrassing to be caught watching these, it is GREAT practice for German learners. The vocab tends to be simple and repetitive and the situations applicable to everyday life. This is not to mention that the songs, whether you want them to or not, will be burned in your memory for-ev-er.
Here is our shortlist of our favorite German children’s shows:
Sandmännchen (Little Sandman)
A kids show with both a GDR and an FRG version is a good example of how even children’s television can reflect politics. Sandmaennchen was a parents best friend in that it was a “bedtime” show designed to get kids ready for bed. The pace of this show and the use of puppets may remind American viewers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The difference between the two versions is subtle–with the FRG version being slightly more “modern” looking.
Die Sendung mit der Maus (The Program with the Mouse)
Called the “School of the Nation”, this weekly children’s series entered the scene in the 1970s. Short animated clips explained different things from everyday life from how cars work to how movies are made.
These magical 30 minute episodes centered on host Peter Lustig, who lives in a imaginative converted caravan. From there he goes on a journey of discovery, explaining to a new concept about the connections between nature, environment and technology.
In Siebenstein, Frau Siebenstein owns a shop which buys and sells second-hand goods. The shop is also home to a raven called Rudi and a suitcase called “Suitcase”. To say that they can both talk would be an understatement. They spend most of their time bickering like children but are the best of friends at heart. Frau Siebenstein uses something a customer has brought in or bought that day as inspiration for a story.
Die Biene Maja (Maya the Bee)
Based off a book by Waldemar Bonsels, Maya the Bee leaves her home in search of adventure outside the hive. Along with her friends Willi the bee, Philip the grasshopper, Maya’s teacher Mrs. Cassandra, and other insects and creatures go on adventures together.
Meister Eder und sein Pumuckl (Master Carpenter Eder and his Pumuckl)
The master carpenter Eder meets the one and only Kobold Pumuckl, whom we find out–only Eder can see, because Pumuckl becomes invisible when other people approach! Pumuckl finally stays with Eder in his carpentry. Pumuckl can best be described as “cheeky” and is one of the most popular characters in children’s entertainment in Germany.
Wickie und die starken Männer (Wickie and the Strong Men)
Who doesn’t like vikings? Come on. This German-Austrian-Japanese animated co-production tells the adventures of the young and imaginative Vicky, a young viking boy who uses his wits to help his Viking fellows.
Lyra from Super Lucky’s Tale by Playful Corp. Based on concept art by Nicholas Kole. Marmoset Viewer stuff here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Q1q5r
This is unofficial; I just like the design and made the model to get some extra Substance Painter practice.
Here’s a list of 10 great books about Latin America, that can help you know more about these countries, their people and their culture :)
1) Open veins of Latin America - Eduardo Galeano - in my opinion, this is the best book to read if you want to know more about Latin America. It tells the story of the continent during the last 500 years, and its relation to Europe and the United States. A lot of people say it’s baised and very political, but I personally think its a great way to learn about Latin America, and it tells the truth about the both the ancient and modern colonization of the continent
2) I, Rigoberta Menchú
- she won the Nobel peace prize and she is an amazing human rights activist from Guatemala who is fighting for those who don’t have a voice in Central America
3) 100 years of loneliness - Gabriel
- a book about love and life in Latin America, it’s often listed as one of the best books of the 20th century
4) The savage detectives - Roberto Bolano - to be honest I haven’t read that book yet but I keep hearing it’s very good. It’s divided in three parts that tell the lives of different people in Latin America
5) The house of the spirits - Isabel Allende - I haven’t read this one either, but it’s Isabel Allende first novel, had a lot of success and talks about “the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile”, so it must be interesting to read it
6) The motorcycles diaries - Che Guevara - whether you agree with the Che or not, it’s a very interesting book to read to understand better his life and his ideas, and it’s also a great adventure in Latin America (it’s actually one the books that made me want to travel in South America)
7) Lost City of the Incas - Hiram Bingham - the story of how the Machu Picchu was (re)discovered, told by the man who (re)discovered and restored it
8) The time of the hero - Mario Vargas Llosa - any book by him is highly recommended (he won a nobel prize), as he is one of the best authors of the 20th century (and probably one of the best authors ever). I recommend this one because it’s his first book and I really liked it, but you should really check out his work and read at least one book from him
9) A people’s history of Latin America -
Hernán Horna - I haven’t read this entirely, but if you like history and want a very historic perspective of the continent, it’s a good read
10) Slaves no more - Aline Helg - this one is not exclusively about Latin America but it’s about the history of slavery in all Americas, from 1492 to 1838