I thought that I'd share a tidbit that I'm starting to incorporate into my studies.
As an alternative to reading chlldren's fiction (translations of Harry Potter
and Le Petit Prince
are well-worn recommendations) as the first "real and authentic" text, how about looking at children's non-fiction? One place to start could be a children's encyclopedia (Kinderlexikon
in German and similar books contain "Jugendlexikon" or "Grundschulwissen" in the title). Unlike reading a regular encyclopedia with articles meant for adults, articles in kids' enclyclopedias are shorter and explain concepts in simpler language which could be more enticing to someone wanting to read non-fiction but who's only at high-beginner or intermeidate. Another place to start could be any non-fiction book for kids or teenagers about history, botany, anatomy, chemistry etc. - just about any subject/discipline that interests you. German translations of the illustrated non-fiction books that are published by Dorling-Kindersley are easy to find on Amazon, and with a bit of digging you might find German translations of long-lost non-fiction books that you grew up with.
If you don't want to spend money on a cheap second-hand encyclopedia, then how about reading articles for free on Klexikon
? It's like German Wikipedia for kids but is controlled tightly enough by its editors that all of its 2,800 articles (and counting) cover the main points of a subject in ways that a pre-teen can understand. The editorial discipline also means that there are no stubs and the differences in quality and length between one article and the next aren't as stark as you'd see in Wikipedia which is more of a free-for-all and littered with stubs and redirections, to say nothing of sockpuppets and anonymous contributors.