Children’s books are a fun way to learn about Swiss culture and the alps. Below are several suggestions of picture and comic books that explore various aspects of Switzerland, mostly by Swiss authors. You can find many of these at the library if you prefer not to buy them.
Also, many mountains in Switzerland have fairy tales or children’s stories that belong to that region. In this case, the local gift shops often sell a picture book, and other paraphernalia that go along with the story. Look for these as you travel.
1. Globi comics
This sassy blue parrot is Switzerland’s mascot for children, with dozens of books, lots of merch and several theme trails, including the Engelberg Brunni Globi Treasure Hunt and Lenzerheide Globi Trail. I’d suggest starting with these Globi books set in Switzerland: Globi on the Alp, Globi’s Trip through Switzerland and Globi in the Heart of Switzerland.
2. Schellen Ürsli
This is the classic Swiss children’s book, telling the story of a young boy who treks in winter to his family’s mountain hut to retrieve a super large cow bell for a village festival so he won’t be mocked for his tiny bell. You can get this book in English at Orell Füssli.
The story is set in the real village of Guarda, which looks exactly like the illustrations in the book. The town has a Schellen Ursli theme trail to go along with the book, with activities matching different parts of the story. The same team created another book called Flurina and the Wild Bird, which also has a theme trail in the Engadin region.
3. “Wimmel” books
A Wimmelbuch is a popular book style in Switzerland. It’s like a scavenger hunt with big pages full of busy illustrations where you can search for a list of items. For Switzerland, you might like Mein Wimmelbuch z’Alp and Das große Schweiz Wimmelbuch.
Here are a few region specific ones: Wallis (including Zermatt), Gstaad, Thunersee , Arosa, Aargau. Perhaps one specific to the city or region you live near: Zürich, Luzern, Basel, Bern, Aargau. You can even create a personalized Wimmelbuch on librio.com.
4. Wolli & the story of the first ascent of the Matterhorn
Wolli, this adorable sheep, is Zermatt’s mascot and host of the Wolli Park adventure playground at Sunegga and Wolli ski area for beginners. In this illustrated children’s book, Wolli tells the story of the first ascent up the Matterhorn. Buy this book on Amazon.de – Buchhaus (in English).
5. Gian and Gianchen – Steinbock of Graubünden
These goofy mountain goats are the mascots of the Graubünden region, starring in a few silly commercials promoting hikes in the Graubünden area. There are three children’s illustrated story books with these characters. I found one in English at Orell Füssli: Gian and Gianchen and the Missing Marmot. See all the Gian & Gianchen products on the Graubünden tourism website.
The Haslital region has two theme trails that go along with the Muggestutz books, which tell stories about the mythical dwarves that live in this region. We particularly like the Muggestutz trail from Mägisalp to Reuti. You can purchase the picture books, audio books and other items in their online shop (German only). The Hasliberg Muggestutz page promotes children’s activities and coloring pages related to the stories.
7. Asterix in Switzerland
8. Gotthard tunnel
If your child is interested in transportation and you have driven through the Gotthard tunnel on your way to Lugano or Italy, they might like this picture book telling the story about how the Gotthard tunnel was built. Buy on Weltbild.ch
9. The Big Swiss Colouring Book
If you want to inspire your children to go outdoors, you could start with coloring places you want to go. The Big Swiss Coloring Book has 80 lovely hand-drawn illustrations of places all over Switzerland. The Little Swiss Coloring Book is a smaller version more suitable for travel.
10. Smuggli & Engelbert – Adventure at the Trübsee
Engelberg Trübsee has a great new theme trail for children, around the theme of smugglers. In their gift shop, they sell an illustrated children’s book about Smuggli & Engelbert, two characters you follow along the trail. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anywhere to buy this online. But maybe pick it up if you go skiing before Christmas or next summr when you hike there.
Here’s the entrance to the theme trail at the Trübsee lake.
For more Swiss children’s books, see: