Some of these recommendations are based on that previous advice about children’s works. There are, however, also examples of classic and contemporary literature that can be tackled by beginner-intermediate learners, and we’ll get to those as well.
Easy Books for Kids All Learners Can Enjoy
“Aventuras de Dona Redonda” by Virgínia de Castro e Almeida (Portugal)
“Aventuras de Dona Redonda” is a classic two-volume series with a great mix of fantasy, adventure and humor. The story is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s style of writing, and appeals to the absurd nature of things around us. Its title literally translates to “Adventures of Dona Redonda”—the character in question being an old, rotund lady who brings wisdom and wit to the entire narrative.
“História Alegre de Portugal” by Manuel Pinheiro Chagas (Portugal)
“História Alegre de Portugal” is literally what its title (A Happy History of Portugal) says—a lighthearted, kid-friendly showcase of Portuguese history. The book was published in 1880 and uses historical events to build its narrative. In the story, a former teacher relates the history of the country to a tribal group.
“Uma Aventura” series by Ana Maria Magalhães and Isabel Alçada (Portugal)
A multi-volume collection of children’s stories that started in 1980s and is still getting new installments to date, “Uma Aventura” includes various stories following five teenagers: twin sisters Teresa and Luísa, as well as Pedro, Chico and João. The 1997 book “Uma Aventura na Casa Assombrada” (An Adventure in a Haunted House) was adapted into a film in 2009.
“A Chave do Tamanho” by Monteiro Lobato (Brazil)
Monteiro Lobato’s works are a Brazilian literary treasure. They’re taught in schools and have been adapted into various plays and movies since their inception. “A Chave do Tamanho,” which loosely translates as “The Size Key,” was published in 1942. Its story is inspired by the tensions and turmoil surrounding the Second World War.
Seeing that Dona Benta is upset by all the violence, Emília (a talking ragdoll) tries to find the key that will take her to the end of the world—where she hopes she’ll find a way to restore happiness. Unfortunately, she picks the wrong key, and makes the entire world shrink in size.
“Meu Pé de Laranja Lima” by José Mauro de Vasconcelos (Brazil)
Everyone, of all ages, will fall in love with this story. This classic book was published in 1968 and has been translated to multiple languages—its English title is “My Sweet Orange Tree.” It tells the story of six-year-old Zezé, who comes from a really poor family. The little boy relates his life, and all his hopes and dreams, to an orange grove in his backyard.
Amazon sells a revised edition of this book, which has been amended to suit those orthographic changes we mentioned earlier. Alternatively, the Paraíba Judicial Library has made the original version available for download—to find it, just click on the “Outros” tab at the end of the e-book section.
“O Menino Maluquinho” by Ziraldo (Brazil)
“O Menino Maluquinho” revolves around a quirky boy (hence the book’s title) who wears a cooking pot on his head and likes to get up to mischief. The original book was published in 1980, and its surge in popularity inspired Ziraldo (who’s also a cartoonist by trade) to turn his lighthearted story into a series of comic books—which were published from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
Easy Books for Older Audiences
Not feeling the love for children’s literature? Perhaps you’re wanting to challenge yourself with something that’s geared towards an older audience? Either way, here are a couple of not-too-difficult books for adults you could try.
“O Alquimista” by Paulo Coelho (Brazil)
Better known as “The Alchemist” in the English-speaking world, Paulo Coelho’s international bestseller received its surge in popularity partly because it’s written in fairly layman terms. The book, which has been translated into several languages, follows a young Andalusian pastor named Santiago, who travels to Egypt after a series of mysterious recurring dreams.
“Livro do Desassossego” by Fernando Pessoa (Portugal)
Admittedly, this is going to be the hardest book on our list. But even so, this classic piece of Portuguese literature (The Book of Disquiet) is written in quite an accessible language. Its complexity stems out of the fact that this novel is divided into semi-autobiographical fragments. Considered to be the author’s deepest narrative, “Livro do Desassossego” was Fernando Pessoa’s final book. It was published in 1982, some 47 years after Pessoa’s death.
Phew! That’s a lot of stuff for a single learner library!
But that’s the beauty of reading in the Portuguese language—you’ll never be out of options.
Have fun exploring the wonderful literature around you, and don’t forget to put those words to good use!