Books to read before, during and

after your trip to Switzerland

In just a little over a month, our family will head out on a trip to Switzerland.  This has long been on our bucket list.  Over 20 years ago, my husband and I spent just 48 short hours in this small, picturesque country.  We fell in love!  So I have no idea why it’s taken us so many years to get back.  In preparation for our trip, we are devouring books about the Swiss, its history and its people. 

The Apple and the Arrow
We must begin with a William Tell book!  This one is my favorite.  The year is 1291, and centers around Walter, the twelve-year-old son of William Tell. Walter lives a nice and happy life in the the Alpine Mountains, caring for his family’s goat herd and practicing his bow skills. Walter’s peaceful life is shaken as his country enters a revolution.  Famous for the story that took place more than seven hundred years ago, Walter’s father must shoot an arrow through an apple placed on Walter’s head because of the Austrian tyrant Gessler.  The dramatic story of William’s arrest and escape and the daring revolt of the Swiss against the Austrians has become a world famous legend.

In preparation for our trip, my 5th grader is working on a literature unit I purchased through Teachers Pay Teachers

Banner in the Sky
This is a book we haven’t read yet, but it has all the ingredients to be a favorite!  It’s a coming of age story about a boy who overcomes great obstacles to accomplish something amazing.  At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father's life, climbing the Citadel.  Rudi must pass through many life-threatening situations before he is able to accomplish his mission and hand his father’s shirt, a banner in the sky.  


To satisfy a literature requirement for my 7th grader, we will be following along with Novel Ties, a resource of comprehension questions and vocabulary.

I don’t have girls, and not sure if my guys would be interested in this book, but no list for Switzerland would be complete without it.  The classic tale of a beloved orphan set in the Swiss Alps and Germany.

A Bell for Ursli
This is a sweet picture book geared toward younger children.  Generations of Swiss children have grown up with this story and now it’s available in English.  Although it is only possible to find it from third party sellers on Amazon or in used bookstores.  Ursli is a little boy who lives in the Swiss Alps. He must find a big cowbell so that he can lead the spring parade through his village.  He goes alone to his family's chalet high up in the mountains where he spends a lonely and frightening night.

Dear Alexandra: A Story of Switzerland
Alexandra, a girl in the city, receives letters all year long from her grandmother who lives in the mountain village of Torbel, Switzerland. As Christmas draws near, her grandmother eagerly awaits Alexandra's visit. Dear Alexandra gives readers a fun and unique insight of a different culture, and a sense what life might be like for a child growing up in Switzerland.

Ulrich Zwingli: Shepherd Warrior
An excellent book on church history for young people about the great Swiss reformer, Zwingli. 

Look What Came from Switzerland
Describes many things that originally came from Switzerland, including inventions, food, animals, sports, transportation, and medicine.

Let’s Explore Switzerland, Kids!
A fun book for kids about Switzerland with pictures and information about this beautiful country.

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