Phil and Sophie’s Little Book of Big Questions
Kleine und große Fragen an die Welt mit Phil und Sophie

schmidt cover
Carlsen Verlag
April 2017 / 96pp
Children’s & Young Adults’

This book is outside of the five-year window for guaranteed assistance with English language translation. We suggest getting in touch with the relevant funding body for an informal conversation about the possibility of support. Please refer to to our  recommendations page for books that are currently covered by our funding guarantee.


This is a quirky and memorable work of children’s philosophy, in which the two protagonists – Phil and Sophie – explore ideas about how the world works in a set of thirteen themed investigations. It is an enjoyable, clearly-written book with engaging illustrations, which stands out for its commitment to making philosophy relevant to children’s day-to-day lives.

Best friends Phil and Sophie like to spend time together by a little stream near their houses, and they go there whenever they have anything important to discuss. The questions they ask one another include: ‘Why does anything at all exist?’, ‘How do we recognise beauty?’, ‘What do feelings do to us?’, ‘How do I know that you’re my friend?’, ‘Who will I be when I grow up?’, ‘What is right?’ and ‘What might it be like to be dead?’. Each section opens with a brief introductory consideration of the particular issue, followed by a short account of Sophie and Phil’s conversation. At the end of the book the author provides a context for each of the questions posed in the text, citing famous philosophers where appropriate and offering practical encouragement to children to continue with their thinking.

This is a perfect book for inquisitive children of all ages and those who look after them.

press quotes

Un libro maravilloso que te lleva a reflexionar y a buscar respuestas por cuenta propia.

– Nordbayerischer Kurier

A wonderful book that moves you to reflect and to seek answers yourself.

– Nordbayerischer Kurier

about the author

Ina Schmidt was born in 1973 in Flensburg and studied cultural studies in Lüneburg. While working on a doctorate in philosophy she realised that her principal interest lies in the relationship between philosophy and our everyday life. In 2005 she founded denkraeume, an organisation dedicated to bringing philosophical thought into real life. She writes articles and books, and gives regular talks and presentations. Schmidt lives in Reinbek with her husband, three children and two cats.

rights information

Carlsen Verlag (Germany)

Contact: Daniela Steiner

Tel: +49 403 980 4269



Carlsen Verlag was founded in 1953 as a subsidiary of the Danish company Carlsen, Copenhagen, so that its series for younger children could be published in German translation. Carlsen Verlag Hamburg has been publishing its own titles since 1964, ranging from picture books for younger children to novels for young adults. Educational series include both fiction and non-fiction for kindergarten and primary school levels. Carlsen Comics were the first to introduce comic books to the German market.

translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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All recommendations from Autumn 2017