In the early stages of a child’s development, books play a crucial role in shaping their understanding of the world. Montessori education emphasizes the importance of providing children with rich, engaging, and developmentally appropriate materials. The Montessori philosophy usually has a preference for real images and photographs over illustrations. In this blog post, I will outline the concept of Montessori-friendly books for babies toddlers a d highlight their benefits, before recommending some must-have titles that have real photographs and align with the Montessori philosophy.
Characteristics of Montessori-Friendly Books
Montessori-friendly books are thought to cater to a child’s developmental needs. They have certain characteristics that promote independent exploration and self-directed learning, including true to life images and simple and clear language.
- True to life images. Real photographs help babies and toddlers connect with the world around them. Simple and clear visuals allow them to make meaningful associations, while building their vocabulary and understanding of concepts.
- Simple and clear language. The language in Montessori-friendly books is concise and straightforward, enabling toddlers to grasp essential ideas easily. These books avoid excessive use of slang or colloquial language, ensuring a focus on building a strong foundation in language skills.
Benefits of Montessori-Friendly Books
Introducing Montessori-aligned books with real images to your baby or toddler can offer so many benefits for their language, cognitive development, and concentration.
- Language Development. Through exposure to rich vocabulary and well-crafted language, babies and toddlers develop stronger language skills, expanding their vocabulary, and improving their ability to communicate effectively.
- Cognitive Development. Montessori-friendly books prompt toddlers to think critically, make connections, and problem-solve. They stimulate curiosity, imagination, and logical thinking, fostering cognitive development.
- Independence and Concentration. Montessori-friendly books promote independent exploration and concentration. Toddlers learn to focus their attention, build patience, and develop self-control as they explore the pages at their own pace.
The ultimate list of Montessori-friendly books
1. Calm by Jillian Roberts
Description from bookshop.org: “This soothing board book by child psychologist, professor and author Dr. Jillian Roberts was written to remind us that the little people in our lives need us to be their calm. To recognize their big feelings, teach them how to honor them and let them go. A valuable tool to help young ones learn to co-regulate, Calm is just as much for babies as it is the adults in their lives.”
2. Wild Colors of the West by Elaine Miller Bond
Description from bookshop.org: “Is your favorite color warm and sunny, or is it cool like water? Does it appear with the rain, or does it glow and shine in the sun? In the latest board book from the author of Living Wild, photographs of animals in their natural habitats show young readers the prismatic hues found in nature, from the tangerine of monarch butterflies to the fresh green of new sorrel. Each page names and locates the Western park or city where Bond photographed the featured species.”
3. My First Seasons by DK
Description from bookshop.org: “What’s the best thing about summer? What do farmers harvest in the fall? From finding out which baby animals are born in spring to experiencing all the outdoor fun of a winter wonderland, babies and toddlers will love learning all about the things you can see and do in each season.”
4. Busy Chickens by John Schindel
Description from bookshop.org: “Busy chickens are squawking, perching, leaping, and more! Vivid, full-color photographs will keep toddlers engages as they imitate the many actions the chickens are doing. Join the fun!”
5. Watch Me Grow by Stephanie Meyers
Description from bookshop.org: “From first smiles to first steps, this book captures the joy in each moment. Watch little ones grow from one month to twenty-four months and discover all of the milestones they reach along the way in this delightful board book filled with bright photographs of adorable babies.”
6. My First Colors by DK
Description from bookshop.org: “Red, blue, orange and yellow – There are lots of bright colours to name and count in this pre-school book!. Read it together and help your child develop early speaking, listening, and observation skills.”
7. My First Shapes by DK
Description from bookshop.org: “The bold, beautiful images are labeled clearly, promoting early learning and language skills, and the pages are filled with the distinctive, iconic design of DK’s My First series. Made with toddlers ages 0-2 in mind, the book’s sturdy format is ideal for small hands to hold and carry.”
8. Smile by Roberta Grobel Intrator
Description from bookshop.org: “Share the warmth of a smile with these adorable babies! The perfect snuggletime book and an ideal first read-aloud book, this addition to the popular Baby Faces series has appealing photos of multicultural babies and toddlers and a brief, rhyming text.”
9. Little Kids First Board Book: Wild Animal Sounds by National Geographic
Description from bookshop.org: “Roar, ribbit, squeak, snore! Children will love imitating the noises made by creatures in the wild, from lions to dolphins to frogs and more.”
10. Little Kids First Board Book: Seed, Sprout, Grow by Ruth Musgrave
Description from bookshop.org: “A prize pumpkin grows from a single seed in this charming board book that introduces babies and toddlers to the life cycle of plants. Bursting with vivid photos and featuring super-simple facts, this charming board book explores how plants grow and what they need to live. Little readers follow the journey from seed to sprout to vine to flower to a big, beautiful pumpkin ready to be picked!”
11. Little Kids First Board Book: Trucks by National Geographic
Description from bookshop.org: “Calling all truck fans! From dump trucks to cement trucks to monster trucks, these colorful pages introduce big trucks and their special jobs to the littlest fans.”
12. Little Kids First Board Book: Becoming a Butterfly by Ruth A. Musgrave
Description from bookshop.org: “Follow one of nature’s most fascinating creatures from egg to caterpillar to butterfly in this vibrantly illustrated board book that introduces babies and toddlers to these incredible insects.”
13. Little Kids First Board Book: African Animals by National Geographic
Description from bookshop.org: “Little learners are invited to start counting from 1 to 10 on this fun-packed tour through the savanna and jungles of Africa. Each spread introduces a new number and corresponding images of amazing African animals along with super-simple facts.”
14. Little Kids First Board Book: Birds by Ruth A. Musgraves
Description from bookshop.org: “Bursting with vivid photos, each spread in this sturdy book features a fascinating bird, along with super-simple facts and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and
toddlers–and their grown-ups–engaged.”
15. May We Have Enough To Share by Richard Van Camp
Description from bookshop.org: “The strength of their connections, the nature that provides for them, the love that is endless. Complemented by photos from photographers who celebrate their own gratefulness on the collective blog Tea & Bannock, the simple verse in May We Have Enough to Share is the perfect way to start or end your little one’s days in gratitude.”
16. My First Body by DK
Description from bookshop.org: “Children can learn about their body in My First Body, an informational board book featuring images illustrating parts of the body. The bold, visual images are labeled clearly and promote early learning and language skills.”
17. Making Faces: A First Book of Emotion by Abrams Appleseed
Description from bookshop.org: “Find the happy baby! Find the sad baby! Find the angry baby! Find the silly baby! Explore expressions in this interactive, photographic board book from the creators of Baby Loves and Baby Up, Baby Down.”
18. Let’s Find Momo Outdoors by Andrew Knapp
Description from bookshop.org: “Explore the great outdoors with Momo the adorable border collie and his new puppy companion Boo in this bright, friendly board book!”
19. Let’s Find Momo by Andrew Knapp
Description from bookshop.org: “Beloved border collie Momo is back…if you can find himLook for Momo hiding on a farm, in a bookstore, at a construction site, and in other unlikely locations. In this sturdy board book kids can keep the game going–and learn new words–by searching for objects in each picture.”
20. Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
Description from bookshop.org: “With a combination of unusual foods and a kaleidoscope of colors, this concept book shows that not all foods have to look the same way. A banana can be red, broccoli can be purple, and cherries can be yellow and still taste just as delicious.”
21. Edible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass
Description from bookshop.org: “Juicy apples, plump, ripe pears, twisted mushrooms. Counting your way through the farmer’s market has never been so much fun. This simple concept counting book will leave your mouth watering as you count from one to twelve with a kaleidoscope of tasty produce. Readers will learn about counting, variety, and color through the detailed, crisp photographs of homegrown and farmer’s market fruits and vegetables.”
22. Hands Can by Cheryl Willis Hudson
Description from bookshop.org: “Hands can do all kinds of things! A rhyming text with eye-catching color photos offers just the encouragement young children need to explore their world — hands on.”
23. The Babies and Bunnies Book by John Schindel
Description from bookshop.org: “Jam-packed with colorful photos of cuddly bunnies and sweet babies, this rhyming board book is the perfect Easter gift and springtime read. A companion to The Babies and Doggies Book and The Babies and Kitties Book.“
24. The Babies and Doggies Book by John Schindel
Description from bookshop.org: “When you stop and think about it, babies and doggies do many of the same things. They squirm, sniff, sit, and splash. They play ball and cuddle. Lots of things babies do, doggies do too!”
25. The Babies and Kitties Book by John Schindel
Description from bookshop.org: “Jam-packed with colorful photos of adorable kittens and sweet babies, this rhyming board book celebrates all of the ways kids and cats are alike. A companion to The Babies and Doggies Book.“
26. Global Babies by Global Fund for Children
Description from bookshop.org: “Meet babies from around the world in this best-selling celebration of global heritage! First in the Global Babies series. From Guatemala to Bhutan, seventeen vibrantly colored photographs embrace our global diversity and give glimpses into the daily life, traditions, and clothing of babies from around the world.”
27. Hello Baby Sloth
Description from bookshop.org: “From their wide eyes to their long arms, baby sloths are so cute! Discover more about these adorable animals with your own adorable little one. Filled with fun sound words and sweet photos, (human) babies will reach for Hello Baby Sloth! again and again.”
28. Global Baby Grandparents by Global Fund for Children
Description from bookshop.org: “Babies everywhere love their grandparents! Celebrate this bond with the newest addition to the bestselling Global Babies series. Grandparents all over the world have a special connection with their grandbabies. They play, sing, read, eat, and cuddle together. Most of all, grandparents give lots of kisses and so much love!”
29. Eat: A Board Book About Mealtime by Elizabeth Verdick
Description from bookshop.org: “Every day, in every way, babies eat. From bottles and breasts, trays and bowls. With fingers and with spoons. Join these babies as they explore and enjoy the many foods that help them grow healthy and strong.”
Still looking for more Montessori-friendly books books babies and toddlers?
I have compiled a comprehensive list if you’re looking for even more Montessori-friendly books for babies and toddlers.
Final thoughts about Montessori-friendly books for babies and toddlers
Montessori-friendly books for babies toddlers provide a valuable opportunity for early learning and development. By incorporating real photographs and simple language these books promote language skills, cognitive growth, independence, and concentration. Introduce your baby toddler to the joy of reading with the recommended titles, and watch them embark on a lifelong love for learning!
If you’re looking for some board books for younger babies, check out my list of high contrast board books for babies.
Let me know your favourite book in the comments!
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