Literature and Genre Tips


The Flensburg Files has a page devoted to literary and film works profiled and reviewed by the author, offering some recommendations for those wishing to read or watch something that either deals with German culture or something that you will not see in the book stores or in general theaters. These works are not only written by the greats, but also those that are up and coming, bound to become successful in the future. If you have a piece of literature you wish to recommend, please contact Jason D. Smith at the Files for your recommendations and reasons behind them. You can be certain that they will be added as well.

Also note, some works by the author are listed as well and marked with an *. Some of them marked with r 🙂 are higly recommended.  Those marked with @ are from the now defunct Areavoices website in the United States. Those marked with (t) denotes tribute. Guest columns are marked with (g).

The cathedral churches and the statue of George Friedrich Handel at Halle (Saale)'s city center. Photo taken in 2012
The cathedral churches and the statue of George Friedrich Handel at Halle (Saale)’s city center. Photo taken in 2012

Some recommended works you should look into according to the Files’ literature and genre review include:

2015 + Earlier works:

Look, Listen and Learn (TB 2010)

Valentine for Two (TB 2011)

Night of Atlantis

RESPECT by Jason D. Smith

BORNHOLMER STRASSE by Christian Schwochow

DANIELLE by Robert Grant

THE LAST LETTER by Virginia Woolf


IN HONOR OF DIANE by D. Wilmos Paul

MOVING ABROAD by A. Rafael Dos Santos (incl. Interview)

SENDUNG MIT DER MAUS: 8 MAY, 1945 as documented by Armin Maiwald (incl. film of cities in rubble)

THE GAME OF H-O-R-S-E (In honor of Männertag/ Father’s Day) *

A Beautiful Mind and a Tribute to John Nash *

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan (Interview with Minnesota Public Radio)

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by The Grimm Brothers

America is not the greatest nation anymore (Film by the Newsroom)

CAN WE AUTO-CORRECT HUMANITY? (Dub poetry and rap music on this topic; includes gallery)

The Fisherman and his Wife by the Grimm Brothers

The Competitive Foursome by the music group Salut Salon

The Pursuit of the Truth by Jason D. Smith * r 🙂

Downtown by Macklemore

Fack ju Göhte by Bora Dajetkin, et. al.

Skwerl by Karl Eccelson and Brian Fairbairn  including an interview with Fiona Pepper

Home by Unknown (Photo by Corrina Schaffer)

Planet Germany by Eric T. Hansen (Commented by Ann-Marie Ackermann)

Engel zu Fuss by Jakob Schuh (Narrated by Henriette Heinze)

The Drive- A Tribute to my Grandmother  by Jason D. Smith * r 🙂

The Fire Within  by Sophie Scholl

Creativity by Albert Einstein

Harvester’s Cross by Jason D. Smith * r 🙂

Zwerg Nase by Wilhelm Hauff

We Stand United in Peace- Photo and Commentary by Jason D. Smith

Beach of Solitude- Throwback article by Jason D. Smith  * r 🙂

How to Bring Family Home for Christmas by EDEKA

Man on the Moon by John Lewis

I Wish by Jason Smith, based on a work written by his father 25 years ago. * r 🙂

Christmas from Heaven by Tom Brokaw

Thank You for Traveling with Deutsche Bahn by The Wiseguys


The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

The Right to be Heard by Patricia Enger

Dark Falls by Loren Niemi

Speechless by Jason D. Smith * r 🙂

The Body Language and your Interaction. TED Talk by Amy Cuddy

The Song Deutsch by Rammstein

Das Kalte Herz (Heart of Stone) by Wilhelm Hauff

Reunion by Google

To the Teacher with Many Thanks by Jason D. Smith

Never in a Million Years by Laura Branigan

Table for Two by Edu Lopez

For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield

The Arctic by Ludovico Einauldi   * r 🙂

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Sixpence None the Richer & Crowded House (includes activity for English class) *r 🙂

Wir sind die Neuen (We are the New Neighbors) by Ralf Westhoff  *r 🙂

Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) by the band Jennifer Rostock

For Jacob by Jason D. Smith (written in memory of Jacob Wetterling) *r 🙂

The Beauty of What We’ll Never Know by Pico Iyer

Mein Enkel by Sebastian23

Scrappers  A TED Talk Lecture by Regina Hartley

A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote  *r: 🙂

The Man Who Hated Christmas- Envelope Project by Nancy Gavin  *r: 🙂

The Christmas I Remember Best by Eda LeShan  *r: 🙂

Familie Heinz Becker- Alle Jahre Wieder

Dinner for One by Lauri Wiley  *r: 🙂

Christmas with the Hoppenstedt Family by Loriot  including his Biography/Tribute


Last Note of Freedom by Meryl Streep and David Coverdale (two separate pieces covering one topic)

95 These by Martin Luther

Warum der Esel Martin Heisst- Neues von Martin Luther by Uwe Steimle

Break Free by Eugene Merher

Lost in a World Like Me by Steven Cutts and Moby

Jack and Diane by John Mellencamp

Sojourns and Sayings of Martin Luther by Heinz Stade and Susan Kubitz

The Boy and His Puppy (unknown author)

Allentown by Billy Joel

Jesus Freak by DC Talk

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

The Benefits of Failure by J.K. Rowling

Don’t Try This at Home by Paul Reizin

Summer 1995 by Evelyn Dykhouse Halverson

Vadder, Kutter, Sohn by Axel Prahl and Jonas Nay (film by ARD)

America is a Gun by Brian Bilston

So Close by Daryl Hall and John Oates

History of the Teddy Bear by John Moolam

The Flying Robert by Heinrich Hoffmann

Lord Octopus by Stella Mead

Time to Forgive 

Schweddy Balls by Saturday Night Live

Really, Really Big Questions about Faith by Julian Baggini


The Power of the Apple Series


Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna

Martin Luther and the Apple Tree

After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost


Enough is Enough by Steve Bennert

The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

18 and Life by Skid Row

Time to Talk About It- Slam Poetry

The United States of Africa by Jason D. Smith

Living in a World They Never Made by Janet Jackson

Osterfreude by Luise Hensel

Osterhase im Wald: A Collection of Easter Folklore

The Last Get-Together at a Cottage on the Beach by Jason D. Smith

You’re the Best Thing About Me, by U2

Let America be America Again by Langston Hughes

Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

Does the American Dream Exist? An essay by Jason D. Smith

Kiss My A** by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mourner’s Kaddish

The True Definition of a Liberal, by unknown writer *r 🙂

Welcome to 2018 by Unknown Author

The Rocky Principle by Jason D. Smith

Deaths in Despair: The End of the American Dream- A documentary by Angus Deaton, Anne Case and Jason Belini

I Heard Your Voice in the Wind Today- Unknown Author

Cordula Grün by Josh

Santa Goes Shopping- Kaufland Christmas Commercial

Christmas Needs Not Much- Just Love. A Penny Christmas Commercial

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou

Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne

Silent Night by Joseph Mohr and Frances Joseph Xaver

There is No Rose by Unknown

Twas the Night Before Christmas in Pittsburghese by Curt Wooten, based on the original poem by Clement C. Moore

Der Große Schnee (The Big Snow)- Husum News based on the story of the Blizzard of 1978/79


The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen  * r 🙂

Smooth Operator by Sade

The Last Ride by Unknown Author *r 🙂

Opinion Rhapsody by Bri Logic- A Parody of the Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen 

TED Talk: Poverty- Nothing to do with Intelligence but Lack of Cash by Rutger Bregman

The Daffodil Principle by J.A. Edwards

The Crocus by Harriet Beecher Stowe

To a Snowdrop by Peggy Crossley

Ted Talk: The Disarming to Act Now on Climate Change by Greta Thunberg *r 🙂

One of Us by Jacinda Adern  (t) *r 🙂

The America I Grew Up In- a comedy by Jeff Allen  *r 🙂

Transition by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro

The Poem of not Getting Old by Susan Reynolds

Notre Dame by Kerrie O’brien (t)

Prayer for Inclusion 

The Characteristics of a Great Teacher by Jason D. Smith (t)  *r 🙂

The Story of Bauhaus by Francis Ambler (g)

The Beggar’s Greatest Wish by Alyce Bergey

The Creative Use of UP (language)

It’s Time We Stop Bashing and Complaining and Tackle the Real Issues by Jason D. Smith

Das Haus am See (The House on the Lake)  by Peter Fox

I Am A Teacher by Unknown Author (t)  *r 🙂

The 26 Letters that spell Peace by unknown author  *r 🙂

How to be a German by Adam Fletcher   *r 🙂

Books on The Streets of Baghdad

A Garfield Thanksgiving by Jim Davis   includes a quiz on Thanksgiving

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


Genre 1989:

Chippin Away by Crosby, Stills and Nash

Wind of Change by the Scorpions

Heroes by David Bowie (1978)- Remade by the Wallflowers (1998)


The Magic Lantern by Timothy Garton Ash


Christmas 2019:

Advent of Kindness (Christmas Calendar created by Unknown)

Reconnection after Many Years: The E.T. Story by Universal Pictures and Xfinity  *r 🙂

Christmas Lights by Keith Darnay

Home Alone: 30 Years Later by Google

Christmas in Germany: A Painting by Hans Baluschek

The Green Book- Film (includes classroom activities)  *r 🙂

The Twelve Days of Christmas (song with many versions)


The People by Käthe Kollwitz

Tribute to Kobe Bryant- Poem by Jason D. Smith

Book Thief

Surely, You’re Joking, Mr. Feyman

Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut- Based on the Bombings of Dresden

Wines of Germany by Anne Kriebiehl

Art Forms in Nature- a series by Karl Blossfeld

Our Home, Our World by Jason D. Smith

Don’t Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester

The Pursuit of Kindness by unknown author  * r 🙂

As I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Woodsworth

A Natural Substitute by Patricia Enger

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting by Julio Vincent Gambuto

Vote Him Away (song) by Roy Zimmermann * r 🙂

Spoonful of Clorox by Randy Rainbow* r 🙂

A Tribute to Swing

The Refusal to Concede: TED Talk by Van Jones *r 🙂 

Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy by Derek Black (g)

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (g)

Quotes by Ruth Bader Ginsburg (g)

Lovely Day by Bill Withers, SOUL Asylum and LunchMoney Lewis

Underdog by Alicia Keys

The Last Throw by Jason D. Smith

Welcome to Winona by Winona Ryder

The Great Divide by Travis Bahmer

Special Christmas Story of Herr Schmidt (Edeka)

Wish and Dedication (Coca Cola)

The Snowman by Robert Reinick

Oh Magnum Mysterium

Jolly Old St. Nicholas by Emily Huntington Miller

Saint Nicholas from the Diary of Anne Frank

The John Rutter Christmas Album

Lux Aeterna by John Rutter

Psalm 150 in various forms

Minneapolis 2020- A Rtibute by Yam Haus and Jay Byrd Christensen  *r  🙂

Imagine if Everyone would do This (Penny Supermarket)


Auschwitz 75th Anniversary:

A Number or A Man? by Wendy Skorupski

Life Became Him by Paul Vincent Cannon

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

The Volunteer by DC Gilbert

The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Never Ever Again- Caramel

Telling About Auschwitz Before It’s Too Late by Sari Bottom



2021: The Year of Adaptation by Jason D. Smith

Democracy Wins over Insurrection by Arnold Schwarzenegger  (f)

The Last of Summer by Kate O’brien (g)

The Lost Berlin Tapes by Ella Fitzgerald (g)




Attitude in Life by Charles Swindoll

The F.A.I.L. Approach

Finding Yourself by Emily McDowell

A Desert Rose by Cheryl Batavia

The Last of the Saddletramps by Emily Burnham

Dead Ringer for Love by Meat Loaf and Cher (Tribute to Meat Loaf)

Need for People not Experts by David Orr

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (Tribute to Sidney Portier)

2022 The Year of the We

It Takes Two by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston- Newer version by Rob Stewart and Tina Turner



War and Peace/ Ukrainian Literature

Swallowtail by Svetlana Lavochkina

Cantankerous Hen by Svetlana Lavochkina

The Eastern Winds by willowdot21

War and Peace- The Pool of Thoughts

Senseless or Relentless- an Oseh Shalom Poem

Neither Politics nor Religion

We’ll all go together when we go by Tom Lehrer

Half a Liter Down by Dave Shofner

Where Do I Go? by Smitha V

War is Never a Solution by Timo Schmitz

Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon


And by Billy Joel:



Good-Bye, Saigon

We Didn’t Start the Fire


Queen Elizabeth II

Famous Quotes (g)

Queen and Her Humor

Queen by Joanne Boyle

The World’s Loss (g)

My Letter to Queen Elizabeth II (g)

Balmoral Castle (g) 

God Bless Our Queen (g)


Christmas 2022:  To see the entire series, click here.

Wake Awake for the Night is Flying by F. Melius Christiansen

A Mother’s Wish by Olivia Newton-John  *r 🙂

Merry Christmas by Elton John and Ed Sheeran

A Christmas Love Story- Just Imagine

The Three Kings by Laurence Houseman and Healey Willan

Carol of the Bells by Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky

A New Song by Ernest Rhys

Mother’s Christmas Cookies Story by Jason D. Smith.  *r 🙂




Picnic on the Old Iron Bridge by Jason D. Smith (from The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles)

A Loss of Decency by Jill Dennison and Robert Reich (g)

The System by Robert Reich (g)

Keep Being Yourself by Rachel Martin

Be the Change by Audrey Loves Poetry

Ring of Steel: Austria and Germany in WWI by Alexander Watson (g)

Stay Away from Negative People by Albert Einstein

Self Love by Josef Olivieri






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