Note: A while ago, I was wondering: Why aren’t there books for children about Maria Montessori’s life and work? So, I began to do some research. It turns out that there are quite a variety of books from which to choose. There are paperbacks, hard covers, cartoon-ish, realistic, factual, factual-ish, etc. I am going to review four of them and you will probably be able to find even more.
Each of these books has its own value for children. Some contain more accurate information than others; some have more of a story than others; and some are illustrated more realistically. All books about Maria Montessori will help children to understand what she did to change the way children are educated. By providing more information about Montessori, readers gain a better understanding of why the Method works so well for so many children and how the core value of respect leads to a more peaceful world.
Maria Montessori: A Biography for and by Children
Written by Ney, Seeley, Sesto, & Children’s House students from Stoneridge Children’s Montessori School
This is a paperback book. The teachers/guides wrote the content, and the children illustrated the pages. It seems like it was a wonderful project for the Stoneridge school. This little paperback is full of information about Maria Montessori’s life and work. It includes a timeline and a couple of activities for children. It was published ten years ago so, unfortunately, the website that is mentioned is no longer available.
The Life of Maria Montessori
Written by Jane Kent
Illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
This is a hardcover version of Montessori’s life with quite realistic illustrations. This book is written in the first person as an autobiography. The content brings out Montessori’s determination, intelligence, and forward thinking more than other books. This book is a much more thorough account of all that she achieved during her lifetime. At the end of the book there is a four-page timeline for children to review and some questions to help children remember some of the details of the story.
Maria Montessori and Her Quiet Revolution
Written by Nancy Bach
Illustrated by Leo Lätti
This is also a paperback edition. I like the style of the illustrations regarding how the characters look in modern times (2013) and during Montessori’s time. I also appreciate how the modern Montessori classroom teacher is sharing the story of Maria Montessori’s life. However, I do question some of the information in this book. I also noticed that the classroom looks more like a traditional classroom. I did not see any Montessori materials and the children were sitting one in front of the other rather than in a circle or other shape as is usual for a Montessori school. The book does include some additional information about Maria Montessori’s life and a short quiz.
Little People, BIG DREAMS™ Maria Montessori
Written by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by Raquel Martín
This one is a hardcover edition with quite accurate text and illustrations that used soft colors and characteristic images of the times in which Montessori lived and worked. The book includes a brief history and timeline with actual photographs of Maria Montessori.