Book Club Summer Edition Part 2: More Books and activities a year later

One year later after we wrote part one of this post here we are settling into our summer rhythm once again. And once again we are following the Montessori approach to home learning, which means we “follow the child”. So although there is always an opportunity to foster curiosity we don’t advocate for structured, academic summer home learning.

Books and extension invitations are such a fun way for us to spend quality time together. These are some of our favourites this year.

The Darkest Dark is a favourite Canadian read here. Astronaut Chris Hadfield recounts a story of his childhood of big imaginations, big dreams and being afraid of the dark. We love the illustrations and comical and relatable moments. It’s perfect for kids 3-6.

Max and the Tag Along Moon is by the multi award winning Floyd Cooper. His soft paintings tell a gorgeous story of a small boy’s love for his Grandfather who reminds him that the same moon that shines over them together will shine over them when they are apart. Max watches the moon as it “tags along” all the way back to his own house. Perfect for kids 2+.

We have written about some of our own favourite moon and space nature activities here.

Straw painting is so easily accessible to children beginning around two years old. It requires nothing more than a straw and some coloured water. We have loved making constellations over the years.

We also watch the Perseid Meteor shower every year in August. I have fond memories of curling up with Quentin in the back yard hammock, wrapped in a blanket, watching the streaks of light cross the sky. You can find all the details of that meteor shower here. If you aren’t in a great viewing location for this space event, research what you can see. Summer is the perfect time for star gazing.

Up in the Leaves: The True Story of the Central Park Treehouses was recommended by our friend Fred Ted and Company. I’m so glad they did. It’s our favourite new book on our shelves. A true story of a young boy who lives in New York and dislikes the noise and crowds. He instead decides to seek refuge in Central Park and build tree houses. A book about following your passion despite what people may say, it is an excellent read for children 5 and up.

Westlandia has been on our shelves for over a decade. It was our oldest’s absolute favourite as a young boy. Another story of a boy who doesn’t quite fit in and decides to follow his own path. There’s a reason it has stood the test of times in this house. Well written with extremely rich language and beautifully coloured pages, this story sparks imagination, follows the Montessori Great Lessons and ultimately showcases that it’s not only ok to be different from the masses; it’s essential. It is essential reading material for all children but especially those that feel like outcasts. Ideal for children 7+.

Our own front yard tree house was there long before Quentin came along and gave both the boys so much fun. Anthony especially. He would spend summer nights up there, lantern light glowing through the window, curled up in his sleeping bag reading with a snack. Regrettably it had to come down earlier this year. Quentin was devastated as he was not yet big enough to climb the rope ladder independently. We will have to consider a rebuild when he is older.

We keep all our Montessori compatible outdoor space ideas on our Montessori Outdoor Space Pinterest Board here. There is something for everyone from the beginner looking to bring in a little outdoor play to the advanced builder looking for their next project.

We hope that you are having a relaxing, exciting and memory making Summer.

Sunday Book Club: Red Sky at Night

The weather has changed here. Warmer days are teasing us with thoughts of Summer right around the corner.

And so with our eyes on the skies watching and waiting, I had to snap up this beautiful new book. It’s by one of our very favourite authors Elly MacKay.

A collection of weather sayings it’s absolutely perfect for any Nature Study or for children who love interesting facts.

As with all her books the almost luminescent pictures tell a much deeper story. This one is of a family out for a camping adventure.

We loved the facts that detail each of the sayings found at the back of the book and they would be excellent research topics for the oldest students in my 3-6 classroom.

The book ends on the note that though traveling is amazing, there’s no place like home.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the process Elly uses to make her artwork you can visit this video here. It’s a stunning.

We hope you all are enjoying your weekend and have set aside some time to curl up with a good book.

Sunday Book Club: Giveaway!

We are always on the hunt for books that encourage kids to go beyond simply reading them. So when we were approached to review this book I was intrigued.

I grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventure books and this one is a modern day one that focus on a young boy named Danny. The concept here is that a child has the ultimate super power: the power of choice. Such an important message not just for children but for everyone.

This book allows a child to make the choices of Danny’s behaviour and to find out that one positive choice has the power to change the entire day of not only oneself but of others. It’s a great book for groups, and children have fun making the choices and finding what happens next.

We have enjoyed it so much that we are giving away two copies of the book on our Instagram feed found here. Follow the link to enter. If you have ideas of ways to empower children with the power of choice we would love for you to share them. Leave a comment and we will share some of them in an upcoming post.

Sunday Book Club: Strictly No Elephants

We wanted to start the new year of our Book Club off with a good one and so when The Book Report sent this over we new it would be the one.

The sweet and tear jerking story of a boy and an elephant who are in need of a friend. It’s about putting on your best red scarf to go to the party only to have your friend turned away.

And it’s the story of making those hard decisions when the time comes to be a friend, and stand up for those that are different, alone and excluded.

While some in the Montessori world may raise a fuss at the lack of realism in this book due to the miniature main character, we would like to suggest that the message of Peace Education is far greater than worrying about whether or not a child will be confused by the tiny pachyderm.

This is the message that is so very needed in today’s world. It is a must have book for any classroom and home and the discussions it starts will last through a lifetime.

Sunday Book Club: One last one for 2017

It’s hard to believe I started this little book club two years ago. There have been so many amazing books over the years and 2017 was no different.

One of our very favourites was Here We Are. We are madly in love with Oliver Jeffers children’s books.

The artwork asks the audience to stop and take a closer look, something that’s important to me. So many books miss this critical aspect of a good children’s book.

Then there’s the written message. Does it speak to you and the child who is absorbing the story? This book speaks to us very very much.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this one, go and see it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for joining us on this journey of seeking out well written, gorgeously illustrated, diverse books.

We will be back early in the new year with our latest finds.

Sunday Book Club: A Montessori compatible Christmas Book – A rare and beautiful thing

We have so many favourite Montessori compatible Winter books and were going to post them today, but we have been patiently waiting for someone (anyone really) in the Montessori social media world to post this book as it is one of the very few traditional Christmas themed books that is truly compatible with Montessori.

It’s not that it’s a new book, it’s just I suppose a little less popular than others.

We all have our favourites from our own childhoods or ones with beautiful art, but when we are looking for a truly Montessori compatible book for teaching the traditional message of Christmas, just as we do with all other books we seek for our children what are we looking for? What are we choosing?

Are we choosing books that are reality based or are we choosing books with a very whitewashed version of a humble family of Middle Eastern decent looking for shelter in Bethlehem?

Above all, are the books we choose broadcasting a strong message of inclusivity, love, hope, and peace for everyone?

This one does.

Originally read by Angelou herself at the White House Christmas tree lighting in 2005, it is a stunning book.

Focusing on the traditional message of Christmas, it brings together Christians, Muslim’s, Jews, Atheists and many more by acknowledging that whatever our differences, we can come together.

We can do what Maria Montessori asked of us.

We can build peace not only in ourselves but in the world.

An Autumn book and activities for Thanksgiving Monday

The air was crisp and the skies sunny today. 

We spent it quietly together. 


We spent all Summer growing this sweet pie pumpkin in our garden and it was perfectly ready for harvesting this weekend. 


Scooping out a pumpkin whether for a jack o’ lantern or for a pie is a favourite Practical Life work around here. 


This process is so amazingly rewarding because the child is a part of it right from the beginning months ago. 


There have been many Nature walks in the forest lately but today was about leaf gathering to compliment our newest book on the bookshelf. 


We loved finding many of the leaves found in the gorgeous book Fall Walk

It is a beautiful poem of a family out enjoying an Autumn day and the information regarding so many different leaves is fascinating and easily could be used for many years to come both at home and in the school classroom. 
As we Canadians sit down with our extended families over a meal this holiday weekend we wish all of you much happiness and we are so extremely grateful to have you all following along here and our other media outlets. 

Sunday Book Club: Autumn favourites 

As October ushers itself in today I thought I would share one of our favourite Autumnal books. 


Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn is the perfect story for a 3-6 child of a girl exploring her neighbourhood, taking in all the sights and sounds of the seasons changing. 

Today we chose to pack it into Quentin’s backpack and head out in search of our own changing seasons. 


All of a sudden we find ourselves back in jeans and layers. Walking through the forest on the way down to the Pacific Ocean, the air was cool and we noticed many of the leaves had already started to fall. 

We love taking books with us outdoors! Such an easy way to expand on the story. 

Happy October everyone!

Sunday Book Club: Leaf 

Every once in a while a book comes a long that is so absolutely stunning that it kind of knocks us off our feet. And then of course despite us rarely buying books because of our fantastic small town library network, we fine ourselves on the hunt for this new treasure. 

Leaf by Sandra Diekmann is a gorgeous tale (perfect for a Montessori child in the Second Plane) of a strange and seemingly menacing stranger that finds itself in a wild wood. The other animals are fearful and avoid and distrust him. Until the crows offer a suggestion: maybe he just needs some help. 



Although this book gently but poignantly highlights the plight of polar bears and their rapidly declining habitat it also touches on an all too important topic these days. 

That although there may be “different ones” that have come to our neck of the woods, the right thing to do is to: 

“Share your smile, lend a hand and spread a little peace.” 

Sunday Book Club: The Barefoot Book of Children

“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.” – Maria Montessori

It isn’t often that we stumble upon a book so completely Montessori in its message. A book that shows a gentle look at children from around the world in a multitude of family settings and personal circumstances.
“The Barefoot Book of Children” found here is a masterpiece of Montessori perfection. It has vibrant, realistic images, rich descriptive text and above all, promotes Peace Education. 


What we specifically love about this book is that it’s the telling of a child’s day. Children 0-6 years old identify most with stories that feature children like them. They want to be able to connect with the characters in a real and concrete way. However, regrettably few children’s books offer that to all children. 

It’s also important to offer books to your child that feature a wide range of racial, cultural, and geographical differences to their own. They must see that there are other children who may be slightly different than them for one reason or another, but whatever the differences, we all inhabit this one small planet and when examined, despite our differences, we have many similarities. 


This book touches on so many of those similarities. We all have our own space that is special to us where we seek peacefulness. 


We all have a family. No matter how big or small, close or far away. 


We all seek communication. Look at all the amazing languages featured on this spread! Can’t read them all? Neither could we. Not a problem. Keep reading the answer is coming.


“We all have love to give.” 

This is the most important message of this book. It emphasizes that even the youngest child can show another love and empathy. We love that it showcases simple ways to show love instead of giving material gifts. 

Building empathy and understanding are key features of Montessori Peace Education. The simplest way to do that with children is to show them that despite our differences, we are all the same. We all get up, go about our days and have our families how ever that looks to each of us. 


The best part about this book (aside from the gorgeous artwork) is the reference section. This book is such an excellent starting point to teach Peace Education in the 3-6 year old classroom but it is also excellent for teaching the Fundamental Needs lessons in the 6-9 and 9-12 year old classrooms. Each of the pages of the story are complemented with more details in the reference section. This is where we discover all of the different languages featured in the picture above. Quentin loved learning what languages they are and what the translation is. 


It’s no secret we love Barefoot Books. They are an entire collection of award winning, beautiful, diverse books for every child from birth into early teens. We own many of their books and learning resources, some of which we have featured here and here and here. We were absolutely thrilled when they offered to send us this newest edition for a free and unbiased review. 

If you are looking to add diversity to your child’s bookshelf but aren’t sure where to start head over to Barefoot Books and browse through their easy to follow sectioned catalogue. We are sure you will find something to get you started. You can also follow along with them here on Instagram and here on Facebook. They are just wrapping up an amazing collaboration of planting trees around the globe with every purchase of one of their books.