Our summer time is about to come to an end and we are slowly gathering matching socks and finding pants that aren’t too short.
We are also rotating our bookshelves to include our favourite school related Montessori compatible books. We’ve written about some of our favourites before and you can find them here.
This year we are adding a new favourite.
A beautiful simple story of a day at school. Some look a little worried, others look excited, but no one looks exactly like anyone else and all are welcome.
The illustrations are bright and colourful and leave so much opportunity for child led further discussion.
We love that this book showcases so much diversity and yet doesn’t specifically touch on it because that’s not the point. Children reading this book can see themselves in the pages and point out the things they have in common and that’s the point.
That though we are all slightly different, we are very much the same and that classrooms and schools have the opportunity to bring people closer together and welcome everyone in.
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.”
There are so many beautiful books out there. One’s with an important moral message or peaceful story. One’s for learning new facts and amazing science ones. But the ones Quentin will usually pick for himself are none of those. The ones he picks for himself are most often simple stories about family rhythms.
Fiction books that focus on the real world day to day are often left off recommended book lists. However these are some of the most important books to read with children. They provide a glimpse into another family’s world (albeit a fictional one) and give the child a chance to relate to what is happening in the story.
Reading books about family rhythms can help a child process their own need for order in their day. This builds their trust of the world and aids in their natural development.
The above books are our absolute favourites and are all set with the child at the centre of the story.
- Sounds Around Town follows a toddler and his Mother from morning to night. This was one of Quentin’s first books. I absolutely love the vocabulary it introduces to a young child.
- Alfie Gets in first is the first in the long beloved series by Shirley Hughes. We love every single one. This one begins with Alfie accidentally locking himself in the house with Mom and baby sister stuck outside.
- What Happens on Wednesdays is Quentin’s current favourite. It follows a preschooler through her day beginning when she wakes up and maps her day not in hours but in events such as getting the newspaper with Dad, going to preschool, having a nap and going to the pool.
- Journey Home from Grandpas “The yellow car drives down the long and bumpy road, long and bumpy road…” We read this every single day between 12 months and 2. I couldn’t get the words out of my head if I tried. It is an excellent vocabulary builder but the rhythm at which the story flows and the alliteration will grab young children and keep it a favourite. Quentin still asks for it at least once a week.
- Moving Molly was my favourite as a child. Shirley Hughes has something magically simple about her art. The story of a small girl who moves with her family, and all that she experiences including sleeping in a new room and finding something special at the end of her backyard one day. I’ve ordered it for Quentin. I hope he loves it as much as I did.
Montessori focuses on reality based themes. Reading to children about the daily lives of other kids their age opens up their world, and helps them affirm that many others experience the things that make up their own days.
Anyone who knows me can tell you, Maths are a very big love in our house. So, when there is a beautifully illustrated Montessori friendly book that features not only nature, but the Fibonacci sequence; well I just couldn’t resist.
Swirl by Swirl, Joyce Sidman
Incredibly detailed pictures set with simple text, this book will capture a child’s interest at any age.
The delicate way Math reveals itself in nature is a beautiful one. There is an excellent information section at the back of this book, explaining Fibonacci and many other interesting bits about nature. Quentin at almost 4 enjoys carefully scanning the pages, looking for all of the details. He happily identifies swirls and this book is a great way to add the extension of some nature exploration. On our nature walks he looks for patterns. Perhaps he doesn’t yet find Fibbonaci in a pinecone or a sunflower. But I do. And I can marvel beauty of it with him.
This book touches on the subtleties of it all from ferns unfolding to a chipmunk curled in its den. There is more there than we realize, we just have to stop and look.