I'm French and am looking for a book I read as a child. I think it's an American book (I read it translated in French). It's about a boy, probably in the early XXth century (or late XIXth), who is poor and starts by selling newspapers in the street. I think he then becomes a succesful journalist. The cover of the book, in France at least, was colorful and showed a boy holding newspapers in the street. Unfortunately, I don't remember much more than that. I'd say that the overall philosophy of the book was to promote a certain way of life to children, something like: "with a lot of courage and dedication, you can succeed, whatever your social origin is".

  • I don't understand the downvoting...? Feb 27, 2019 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a Horatio Alger book (although this type of rags-to-riches plot was fairly popular in the U.S. in the 19th century; Horatio Alger is the most famous of the authors who wrote these, so his books are probably more likely to have been translated.)

Dan, the Newsboy, also known as Dan, the Detective, is one of Alger's books where the hero starts out selling newspapers. If this isn't the book you remember, you will need to give us more information. It is out of copyright, and you can read it online here (in English, not French, unfortunately).

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. Looking at the theme and covers, the book you indicate indeed really look like the rare memories I have of this book. The strange thing is that I can't find any French translation record on French sites, even at the National Library. Now, as the book had been bought in the 50s, it may well be that recording procedures were not followed strictly or that the book was an illegal copy. Thank you for your help! Feb 26, 2019 at 15:44
  • I suppose it's possible that somebody stole the plot and wrote a French book using a different author's name. I think this is only borderline illegal (it depends on how closely they followed the original), although I don't know French copyright law at all, so things could be different in France.
    – Peter Shor
    Feb 27, 2019 at 13:07

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