Today I am sharing five Montessori-friendly picture books that I recommend for the preschool age group (and maybe a few toddlers); and I am linking to each book to its page on Goodreads: )
I will list them in no particular order (but I do have a favorite, which I will mention LAST in the list). Each book is new, and was found at my local library in the new kids books section, and each has 32 pages.
What is a Montessori-friendly picture book? It is a fiction or non-fiction book (typically for three to six-year-olds) that introduces young children to the real world in all its variations (and not adult-created fantasy). From these realistic variations, children can use their own imagination and creativity.
Everywhere, Wonder by Matthew Swanson, illustrated by Robbi Behr: “Open your eyes and open your window and let your story out into the world. It is a little gift from you to me...” a quote from the book. I love this book because it demonstrates a child's experience with real-world objects and events that then spark his imagination, with the message that the reader can create his or her own stories from their concrete observations.
"Journey into the imagination of a young boy—who explores everything from the pyramids of Egypt to a dusty footprint on the moon—and then back out again to the wonderful world right in front of him. From a lost balloon to an endless road, there are stories to discover, to dream about, and to share.
"Everywhere, Wonder explores the wonder in the world, while encouraging young minds to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, and creatively share their stories with others." ~Goodreads. Learn more about the book here.
Twighlight Chant by Holly Thompson, illustrated by Jen Betton: This is a lovely, poetic picture book with lyrical text and concrete images--like deer and egrets, perfect for bedtime. Make sure you read the backmatter, which gives the names of the creatures in order of appearance, as well as a few paragraphs that define what "twilight" is!
"A lyrical exploration of the transition between day and night and of the animals who thrive during this special time." ~Goodreads
"A lyrical ode to twilight, beautifully illustrated in sunset colors. This is a perfect read-aloud at bedtime book, with a soothing rhythm and repeating phrases like a lullaby. Debut illustrator Betton depicts a soft and furry natural world bathed in the beautiful light of a long summer evening."~Jeanette Bradley Learn more about the book here.
Book or Bell? The story of a boy, a great book, and a loud bell by Chris Barton, illustrated by Ashley Spires: "The first page has Henry hooked. The second page has him captivated. The third page . . . BBBBRRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG . . . will have to wait. That is, unless Henry ignores the bell, stays put, and keeps on reading the most awesome book. By not springing up with the ringing of the bell, Henry sets off a chain reaction unlike anything his school or town has ever seen. Luckily, Mayor Wise, Governor Bright, and Senator Brilliant know exactly what the situation calls for: A louder bell. MUCH louder.
"With this hilarious, high-energy satire from bestselling author Chris Barton and illustrator Ashley Spires, readers will be cheering louder still as one of their own continues to just stay put..."~Goodreads
This book would be ideal for an older child who has experienced being in a classroom in a school that uses a school bell, which might not be your child, but could make a perfect gift to another child who has! It is fun, creative, and to the point: DON'T INTERRUPT ME, I'M READING! LOL!
Learn more about the book here.
I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien: "Maria is from Guatemala, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity.
"Young readers from all backgrounds will appreciate this touching story about the assimilation of three immigrant students in a supportive school community.
"Anne Sibley O'Brien is one of the founders of I'm Your Neighbor, an organization that promotes children's literature featuring 'new arrival' cultures. As the rate of immigration to the United States increases, topics related to immigration are increasingly more important in the classroom and home. I'm New Here demonstrates how our global community can work together and build a home for all."~Goodreads. Learn more about the book here.
This picture book fits in nicely with Montessori's Social Grace and Courtesy, and her Culture cirriculum. Perfect for ages four and up. Make sure you read "The Note from the Author" page at the back of the book, and why she was inspired to write this story!
"It's hard to describe how well-done this is. In simple sentences and visuals, it depicts the experiences of three children who have come from different countries to classrooms in the United States, and struggle to speak English, write English, and participate in a differently-run classroom. If you are an educator or librarian with immigrant children or ESOL children in your life, this is a must-have."~Rebecca
"May not be the most popular book, but it's an important one because of how it explains what it feels like to be new to a country where you don't speak the language. Will hopefully inspire empathy and compassion for new students, especially those where English is not their first language."~Amy
Pet Dad by Elanna Allen: "Plum wants a pet. Plum's dad wants NO pets. But Plum never takes no for an answer. So she gets the only pet she can: a pet dad. He loves playtime, tummy rubs, and scratches behind the ears. But he won't sit or fetch or chase. How will Plum train her perfect pet?
"Hilariously relatable and with ultra-cute art, Pet Dad is perfect for kids who love or want pets--or who already have the perfect parents to make up for it."~Goodreads
What can I say, I loved this book: the humor, the message, the illustrations... a real treat! Perfect for kids with dads and who pine for a pet! Learn more about this book here.
"My Experience: I started reading Pet Dad for my 6 years old son as a bedtime story on 4/16/18 and we finished it that same night. This book has the most dainty illustrations I have ever seen! I love it so much! I like how the action words stretches to various shapes and sizes. I like the pop of color. I like the details of the pet and it’s owner’s matching appearance such as a lady wearing a net hat and her pet wearing a net looking muzzle. I like how active Plum is with her pet, always on the go and ready for action.
"In this book, readers will follow Plum as she drags her dad to a pet shop wanting to buy a dog. Her dad doesn’t want a pet but Plum won’t take no for an answer. She pushes him into the store and then drags him out by his tie and then he becomes her new pet. She takes his tie in her hand using it as a leash to walk him around. She rubs her dad’s tummy and scratches behind his ears. She tells him to roll over but he told her no. She wants him to eat out of a dog bowl but he says no. After many different unsuccessful tactics she puts her pet dad into a time out but it backfires. While she herself in time out, she figures out how to ask her pet dad to do things that will spark a yes from him instead of a no.
"This book is beautifully constructed. I like how Plum’s dad denies Plum’s requests when she asks rudely and rewards her when she asks nicely. I like the fun ways she plays with her dad that could be played with a real pet. My son likes the park scene, with different pets and its owner busy in different fun activities. I like the various ways dogs travel around in public, some ride in the basket of their owner’s bike and some are walking with a leash and wearing a cone. This book is definitely fun to read and I highly recommend this book for everyone!"~Jasmine from How Useful It Is
This book is perfect for ages two and up, and fits nicely into Montessori's Social Grace and Courtesy!
Enjoy your trip to the library!
Top photo from the Coloring Between the Lines blog