Some books are complex AF. Plots and narratives really affect how they’re perceived and judged, especially by children.
When it comes to reading in Maltese, your spawn can be a bit too picky, and that’s probably down to the drastically smaller amount of choice available. But when in doubt, go to the classics.
Here’s a list of timeless favourites from our childhood which will get your children totally into Maltese reading.
1. Id-Dinja ta’ Wenzu u Rożi – George Zammit
Wenzu u Rożi were a favourite for multiple generations.
This adorable couple even had their own TV series at one point. The book version is a timeless Maltese tale of two bickering nanniet constantly at each other’s throats but who really love each other deep down.
2. The Ronnie Series – Joe Friġġieri
Ir-Ronnie was a middle-aged meek Maltese mechanic who always seemed to find himself in serious hood troubles.
This one time, he was going to Valletta to exchange plastic caps for cash, and people thought he had a bunch of robins in a box, so they attacked him. This guy had a black cloud constantly roaming over his head, s2g.
3. Dwal fil-Fortizza – Trevor Zahra
Trevor Zahra is literally the king of Maltese children’s books.
This one is about a really old derelict fortress at the edge of a cliff. The fortress starts projecting a bunch of weird lights one day, and people start getting super paranoid about whether or not it’s the spirit of this ghost dude hanging out there or aliens.
Maybe after your kids read this you can take them to visit a couple of these forts?
4. Fuklar Qadim u Bnadar Imċarrta – Trevor Zahra
This book is a cluster of nightmares — a young boy and his family move into a really old palazzo-like house in the city (il-Belt), which most people went ahead and assumed was a dark alternative version of Valletta.
The young boy is suddenly living with these five women he’s related to, nanniet and the like. The house is clearly haunted, because there’s a lot of shady sounds at night — a total ghost giveaway. His Nanna is also hands down the creepiest character in the book. Also, the house hates men. Enjoy, boys.
5. Darbtejn Insiru Tfal – Charles Casha
This book is about a questionable couple who are constantly name-calling and fighting.
They’re constantly doing slapstick stuff, mostly because they weren’t used to each other’s routine, and because the woman was a bit of an impossible person to deal with. But hey, it’s a comedy, so it’s OK.
Might hit a bit too close to home though.
6. Ġrajjiet in-Nannu Ċens – Trevor Zahra
Another classic by Trevor Zahra, In-Nannu Ċens is hands down the most adorable man in the universe.
He lives with his son and family, and is constantly getting himself into trouble. Funny trouble though, nothing serious. He’s also an amazing gramps.
7. Mastru Gerfex Series – Carmel G. Cauchi
Mastru Gerfex is one of the most beloved characters to ever be dreamed up in Malta.
He’s a retired school headmaster who lives with his wife and dog. He’s constantly doing pranks since he’s a bit bored of the whole pensioner gig. Just like Ronnie, this guy has a cloud constantly floating over his head, but this guy’s cloud is more comically unlucky than black.
8. Is-Seba’ Tronġiet Mewwija – Trevor Zahra
This mystery / fantasy collection of stories by Zahra is a patchwork of genres even grown-ups will enjoy.
It varies from folk legends to gothic tales and historical romances. We will not try to explain this to you. All we can say is that you should really read it.
9. Il-Pulena tad-Deheb – Trevor Zahra
Zahra’s mysteries never fail to impress us, honestly.
This one is about another tower. Two boys are spending their summer holidays at their grandpapa’s house who’s constantly telling them this story about a pulena treasure. Some shady guy is constantly following these two boys around and their grandpapa insists that the two boys should never talk to his neighbours. But why?
10. The Fra Mudest Saga – Charles Casha
These books are over 40 years old, but they’re also timeless AF.
These stories have become part of Malta’s folk tales over the years. Fra Mudest is a simple friar who’s always ever so positive and happy, to the annoyance of the townsfolk. He’s constantly causing trouble for everyone around him.
Vera salib imsomma.
11. Meta Jaqa’ ċ-Ċpar – Trevor Zahra
Another Zahra mystery/thriller, this time about time travellers and miraculous healers hanging around in a valley full of blue mist.
A couple of kids go on the adventure of a lifetime as they get to know these weird hobos playing house in the valley. It’s a good read, promise.
12. Il-Bawxati ta’ Pietru Pitravu – Carmel G. Cauchi
This book is about a simpleton named Pietru Pitravu.
He’s a total pitravu, honest. He’s constantly avoiding school and pulling pranks on literally every living thing that crosses his path. This boy pranks rabbits and donkeys, brah. He’s the OG Maltese Dennis the Menace.
13. Il-Praspar Kollha ta’ Kunċett u Marinton – Trevor Zahra
This list is starting to look like a promotion for Zahra’s work, but this guy is seriously amazing at what he does.
Kunċett u Marinton revolves around these two old sisters and their għonnellas. They’re both the dictionary definition of bassa, but this book is their post-humous story, so maybe we shouldn’t be that harsh considering that they were like, a hundred years old.