Inquisitive children are insatiable and want to understand everything exactly. TESSLOFF has been answering competently and comprehensively for more than 50 years in an easy to understand manner. Our products inspire to read on and spark interest in other exciting subjects as well.

Inspiring for what’s meaningful

TESSLOFF products encourage to explore further. Yet we never lose track of what’s essential: fascinating young people for things that make sense.

Our programme

TESSLOFF is one of Germany's leading children’s non-fiction publisher.

Books with a playful approach in knowledge transfer which are especially developed for babies and infants.


Exercise books for children in kindergarten, pre-school and primary school that were developed by expert pedagogues following to the motto “Thus learning can be fun”.

The most famous TESSLOFF product is WAS IST WAS – the leading international non-fiction children book series for children aged 8+. TESSLOFF is publishing the book series since 1961 and it became a synonym for youth fact books. Today the product world of WAS IST WAS comprises book series for very young children aged 3-5 (WAS IST WAS mini), for young readers aged 5-7 (WAS IST WAS Junior) and the top selling series for curious readers aged 8+. WAS IST WAS presents topics that are prepared to be both age-based and exciting.

To match today's children's ways of enjoying knowledge transfer, that is to accommodate the different media use behaviour of our target group. Beside books the WAS IST WAS product world includes a wide variety of products: a TV and DVD, audio plays, e-books and apps as well as games and a magazine.

WAS IST WAS is available in more than 75 countries. Worldwide more than 77 million WAS IST WAS books have been sold.

Our History

In 1956, Ragnar Tessloff founded the NEUEN TESSLOFF VERLAG in Hamburg after having gained a lot of experience in his father’s ERNST-TESSLOFF VERLAG. His first published product was the magazine TOM & JERRY, originally from the USA, which he marketed successfully in Germany. Other popular comics such as LASSIE, FURY or the TEXAS RANGERS were soon added. In the early sixties, the NEUE TESSLOFF VERLAG was Germany’s comic publisher with highest sales.

Ragnar Tessloff frequently visited the United States to purchase licences for comics. While there, he often visited bookshops taking special notice of the well-assorted specialised non-fiction book series for children and young people. This type of books was unknown in Germany. Ragnar Tessloff was enthusiastic – these books presented complex subjects to young readers in a concise, competent and comprehensible way. Having identified this market niche, he acquired the licence for the HOW & WHY fact book series.

The direct translation of the title was copyrighted in Germany so he decided to call the series WAS IST WAS. In autumn of 1961, the first WAS IST WAS issue was published – at first in form of a monthly magazine sold through newsstands. It was such a success that by 1963 it was published in form of a book.

WAS IST WAS became a synonym for youth fact books. After the original American series was discontinued in the seventies, German authors wrote the volumes within the scope of the regular updating, and the TESSLOFF VERLAG took over the series’ global rights.

The TESSLOFF VERLAG became the leading German publisher for children and youth fact books.