Of all the nicknames I had growing up, my favorite was bestowed on me by my German family, “Leseratte” (Reading Rat). Probably because every time I went to Germany, I spent a LOT of time reading. Why would I spend so much time with my nose in a book in GERMANY? Well, the family was in Farm Country, and people were too busy working to play tour guide to a goofy kid from California. I didn’t mind, because my cousin had a whole shelf of books from Enid Blyton, including the Famous Five, and a lot of HANNI AND NANNI books that I could not find in the US!! I worked my way through them while she was in school (and with her on rainy days…). I always wondered why I had such a hard time finding Hanni and Nanni books in my Library at home, or in English at all… and it turns out, there is a very good reason.
Only 6 of the Hanni and Nanni books were written by Enid Blyton.
And they were so popular in Germany, that the publishing company Franz Schneider Verlag GMBH hired German writers to write MORE Hanni and Nanni adventures for the German audience! So they never got sent to the US.
And that’s not all! Our favorite Twins went through a LOT of changes….
Hanni and Nanni Books
The 6 original books written by Enid Blyton (who also wrote my other childhood favorites- the Famous Five) were published from 1941 to 1945 under the title “The Twins from St. Clare’s“. The twins, Patricia and Isabel (WHAT) were sent to live at St Clare’s boarding school in Cornwall where they faced the usual girl traumas of being away from home, dealing with new friends, solving mysteries, and enjoying midnight feasts. (Didn’t we all want to join in on one of those midnight feasts? Didn’t every kid solve mysteries?). Although the books were set in WWII time, the war is never mentioned.
Hanni and Nanni Move to Germany
In 1965 the Franz Schneider Verlag changed Pat and Isabel into Hanni and Nanni, put ponytails in their hair, and sent them off to Linderhof Internat (Boarding School) near Munich. The books quickly became the best selling girl’s series in Germany! (At the peak, they were selling 30,000 to 50,000 copies per year … I am proud to say I’m responsible for some of those!)
Not only the names changed, the series moved with the times.
Because the original series was set in the 1940s, some “upgrades” were made to technology. The girls no longer listened to Jazz music on the common room gramophone, now they heard pop hits on the record player. And instead of just using the mail, they actually use a telephone…
Also, while Lacrosse was a popular “girls” sport in England, it wasn’t so well known in Germany, so the girls switched to Handball.
After the while the stories switched from just Boarding School stories to other adventures, but Hanni and Nanni were still our favorite twins!
Which Hanni and Nanni Books are Original?
Enid Blyton wrote the original 6 books to follow the girls through the 5 years of school (1- 5 Form) before going on to High School. These six were translated, updated, (and oddly, a few chapters were left off), and released in Germany as books 1-4, then 11 and 13. The other books were only released in Germany.
(note- I’ve linked as many titles as possible for sale… in case you need to fill a few holes in your collection…just click the title)
Books Released in England and Germany-
These were written BY Enid Blyton.
#1 Hanni und Nanni Sind Immer Dagegen (Originally- The Twin’s at St Clare’s)
#2 Hanni und Nanni Schmieden neue Pläne (Originally- The O’Sullivan Twins)
#3 Hanni und Nanni in Neue Abentuerern (Originally- Summer Term at St Clare’s)
#4 Kein Spaß ohne Hanni und Nanni (Originally- The Second Term at St Clare’s)
#11 Lustige Streiche mit Hanni und Nanni (Originally- Claudine at St Clare’s)
#13 Fröhliche Tage für Hanni und Nanni (Originally- Fifth Former’s at St Clare’s)
Books Only Released in Germany-
#5 Hanni und Nanni Geben Nicht Auf
#6 Hanni und Nanni im Geisterschloß
#7 Hanni und Nanni Suchen Gespenster
#8 Hanni und Nanni in Tausend Nöten
#9 Hanni und Nanni groß in Form
#10 Hanni und Nanni geben ein Fest
#12 Hanni und Nanni und Ihre Gäste
#14 Hanni und Nanni grunden einen Klub
# 15 Hanni und Nanni im Landschulheim
Just to add to the confusion…. Pamela Cox wrote 3 more books about Isabel and Patricia at St Clare’s to fill in gaps. Two were Translated. (the third book Kitty at St Clare’s has not yet been translated.)
#20 Gute Zeiten mit Hanni und Nanni (Originally– Third Form at St Clare’s (2000)
#21 Hanni und Nanni kommmen groß Raus –(Originally- Sixth Form at St Clare’s (2000)
More Books Only Released in Germany
#22 Gefährliches Spiel für Hanni und Nanni
#23 Hanni und Nanni Lindenhof in Gefär
#24 Hanni und Nanni Das Rätsel um die Neue
#25 Hanni und Nanni Die Ausreißerin
#26 Hanni und Nanni Zirkusabenteuer
#27 Hanni und Nanni Klassenfahrt ins Abenteuer
Collections of the Early Books called a Sammelband were also produced. You would get 3 books in one!
50 Years of Hanni and Nanni!!
For the 50th Anniversary in 2015, (can you believe the girls turned 50 in Germany… and the original stories are close to 80 years old!!!) all of the Hanni and Nanni books were given a make-over. Language was updated, as was the layout and artwork.
8 new Books were added to the series for the Anniversary!
#28 Hanni und Nanni im Schauspielhaus
#29 Geisterbeschworung mit Hanni und Nanni
#30 Hanni und Nanni Wittern eine Tragödie
#31 Alarm bei Hanni und Nanni
#32 Hanni und Nanni Lösen alle Probleme
#33 Hanni und Nanni Gefangen im Eis
#34 Hanni und Nanni auf der Flucht
#35 Hanni und Nanni Allein in Lindenhof
Since then Four Additional Books have been added to the Series, with no sign of letting up!
#36 Hanni und Nanni Feiern Geburtstag
#37 Hanni und Nanni in New York
#38 Hanni und Nanni und die Pony Zwillinge
#39 Hanni und Nanni Weihnachten im Schnee
Not Only BOOKS!
The popularity of the girls went beyond books. There were record albums and audio cassettes of the stories… and now there are CDs and Audio Downloads! ( I loved my old cassette stories… and they are great for language learners!)
In 1991, the Tokyo Movie company released a 26 part Anime series based on Hanni und Nanni in Japan. In 1997 it was finally brought to German Television. It’s an interesting combination of the original and the German version. They are called Hanni and Nanni…. but the school is St Clare’s…
See the preview here–>
In 2010, the Twins finally arrived on the Big Screen in the Movie Hanni und Nanni, followed in 2012 by Hanni and Nanni 2. The third film, a reboot titled Hanni und Nanni Mehr als beste Freunde (with different actresses) was released in 2017.
BE AWARE! These DVDs are in German Format… which means they won’t play on regular American DVD players (unless you have a multi-format DVD player)
Hanni and Nanni Live ON!
I’m delighted that the Twins live on for another Generation! My cousin’s daughter is a fan, and I love seeing the books on her shelves… it takes me back to the days when my cousin and I would laze away a rainy summer afternoon with our Hanni and Nanni books and bottle of orange Fanta.
Missing a Few Books For Your Collection?
Hanni und Nanni, Band 06Hanni und Nanni gründen einen Klub.Hanni und Nanni Sonderausgabe. Ihre besten Streiche. ( Ab 10 J.).Hanni und Nanni, Bd.22, Gefährliches Spiel für Hanni und NanniHanni und Nanni, Bd.20, Gute Zeiten mit Hanni und Nanni
Hanni und Nanni Collections
Hanni und Nanni Sammelband 1. (Ab 10 J.).Hanni und Nanni Sammelband 6. (Ab 10 J.).Hanni und Nanni Sammelband 3. Hanni und Nanni suchen Gespenster, Hanni und Nanni in tausend Nöten, Hanni und Nanni groß in FormHanni und Nanni Sammelband 2. (Ab 10 J.)Hanni und Nanni Sonderausgabe. Ihre besten Streiche. ( Ab 10 J.).