From a Montessori perspective, young children are fascinated by the things they see around them: people, animals, plants, vehicles, household objects. They desire to know more about them and are excited to recognize the familiar.

Furthermore, young children are processing so much new information on a regular basis, we want to make sure the information that is given makes sense and is not confusing. By sticking with factual information, it helps gain appreciation for all the amazing things that happen in everyday life.

What makes a book Montessori inspired?

  • Realistic, un-busy photos or pictures
  • Straightforward, real life information and vocabulary
  • Relatable, everyday activities

Included are some books that might not fall under these criteria, but are still quality literature. Having books with elements of fantasy can be a valued part of a very young child’s book collection. In these cases, I might point it out to child (“Bears don’t wear clothes! How silly!”) and keep those books limited in number. If a book listed does contain some unrealistic elements, I included an explanation with the book.

An additional criteria that I look for is diversity in terms of gender, family makeup, race, culture, language, and ability.

This list of books is broken down into these categories: animals, people, transportation, nature/household objects, songs, interactive, and winter. These categories are further divided as needed.

I am constantly updating this list so feel free to check back as needed! Enjoy!

ANIMALS

General

  • Animals by Roger Priddy
  • Animal Talk: Mexican Folk Art Animal Sounds in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill
  • Baby Animal Families by Gyo Fujikawa
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle (some of the animals come on unrealistic colors, but the sequencing in the book is enjoyed)
  • Country Animals by Lucy Cousins
  • Daytime Nighttime by William Low
  • Desert Dwellers by Holly Karapetkova
  • How Do Animals Use? by Luana Mitten
  • I am a Bunny by Ole Risom (the bunny wears clothes, but engages in activities bunnies might do; the illustrations and their details seem to fascinate babies)
  • Me Gustan Los Animales I Like Animals by Rourke Board Books
  • Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • My Animals Mis Animales by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Big Animal Book by Roger Priddy
  • Peekaboo by Giuliano Ferri
  • Que Veo En El Mar? What Do You See in the Sea? by Luana Mitten
  • The Animals of the Chinese New Year by Jen Sookfong Lee
  • The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • What Do You Say? by Holly Karapetkova
  • Who’s Listening? by Cindy Rodriguez
  • Who’s That Eating? by Kingfisher
  • Who’s That Jumping? by Kingfisher
  • Who’s That Roaring? by Kingfisher

Birds

  • A Nest In Springtime by Belle Yang (Bilingual/Chinese)
  • Black Bird Yellow Sun by Steve Light
  • Flamingo Grows Up by Smithsonian Institution
  • Little Chick by Lauren Thompson
  • Mommy! Mommy! by Taro Gomi
  • No Two Alike by Keith Baker
  • Peck Peck Peck by Molly Carroll

Cats

  • Kittens by Bright Baby
  • Up Cat by Hazel Hutchins

Dogs

  • Busy Doggies by John Schindel
  • Doggies by Sandra Boynton
  • Heads and Tails by Carli Davidson
  • Let’s Find Momo by Andrew Knapp (great introductory I spy book)
  • Shake Wiggle and Roll by Carli Davidson
  • The Babies and Doggies Book by John Shindel

Farm

  • Baby Touch and Feel Farm by DK
  • Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming
  • Let’s Go Visiting by Sue Williams

Insects

  • 123 Little Bugs by Puck
  • Bugs by Eva Steele-Saccio
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (the caterpillar eats some unrealistic food, but children enjoy the sequencing and holes in the book; also I correct cocoon to chrysalis)

Wild

  • Animal Babies on Mountains by Jennifer Schofield
  • Big Cats by National Geographic
  • Busy Gorillas by John Schindel
  • Lion Cubs by Planet Earth
  • On My Own by Miela Ford
  • What Is Baby Gorilla Doing? by Christena Nippert-Eng, John Dominski, and Miguel Martinez

PEOPLE

  • Asi Me Siento That’s How I Feel by Rourke Books
  • Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
  • Baby Touch Your Nose! by DK
  • Babies Around the World by Lemay Puck
  • Bath! Bath! Bath! by Douglas Florian
  • Besos for Baby by Jen Arena
  • Blast Off Baby Bundt by Jamie Harper
  • Carry Me by Rena D. Grossman
  • Cradle Me by Debby Slier
  • Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman
  • Where is My Belly Button?/Donde Esta El Ombliguito? by Karen Katz
  • Dos Anos by Anastasia Suen
  • Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
  • Global Babies series
  • I Am So Brave! by Stephen Krensky
  • I Can, Can You? by Marjorie W. Pitzer
  • Making Faces by Abrams Appleseed
  • Mommy, Momma, and Me by Leslea Newman
  • My Face Book (comes in many different languages)
  • My Up and Down and All Around Book by Marjorie W. Pitzer
  • Peekaboo Baby by Margaret Miller
  • Play Baby Play by Marilyn Janovitz
  • Read Read Baby by Anna Bardaus
  • The Babies and Doggies Book by John Shindel
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Smile! by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Splash by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Watch Me Grow! by Flowerpot Press
  • What Can I Do in the Sun? by Anna Grossnickle Hines
  • Where’s The Baby? Donde Esta el Bebe? by Cheryl Christian
  • Will You Wear a Blue Hat? by Ken Karp

TRANSPORTATION

Airplanes

  • Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton
  • Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering by Ruth Spiro
  • Planes by Byron Barton
  • Planes Go by Steve Light

Boats/Water Transport

  • Boats! Boats! Boats! by Joann Cleland
  • Super Submarines by Tony Mitton

Fire Trucks

  • Fire Engine No 9 by Mike Austin
  • Touch and Feel Fire Engine by DK

Machines/Cars/Trucks

  • B is for Bulldozer: a Construction ABC by June Sobel
  • Car Car Truck Jeep by Katrina Charman
  • Cars and Trucks by Peter Curry
  • Counting Machines by Rookie Toddler
  • Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo
  • Dig It by Kate Riggs
  • Dig It Dump It Push It! by Holly Karapetkova
  • First 100 Machines by Bright Baby
  • Machines at Work by Byron Barton
  • My Big Truck Book by Roger Priddy
  • My Car by Byron Barton
  • Ride the Big Machines in Winter by Carmen Mok
  • Things That Go by Priddy Books
  • Trucks by Byron Barton
  • Trucks by Meg Greve
  • Trucks Go by Steve Light

Rockets

  • Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton
  • Rocket Science for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Trains

  • Choo Choo by Peter Horacek
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • My Big Train Book by Roger Priddy
  • Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton
  • That’s Not My Train by Fiona Watt
  • Trains Go by Steve Light
  • Whoo Whoo Here Comes the Trains by Molly Carroll

NATURE/HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS

  • Air by Kyla Ryman
  • Baby’s Big Busy Book by Karen Katz
  • Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  • I Like Berries, Do You? by Marjorie W. Pitzer
  • I Like Fruit by Lorena Siminovich
  • First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
  • I Like Vegetables by Lorena Siminovich
  • My First Signs by Two Little Hands Productions
  • My Clothes Mi Ropa by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Colors Mis Colores by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Food Mi Comida by Rebeccca Emberley
  • My Garden Mi Jardin by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Little Word Book: Mi Libro Pequeno de Palabras by Roger Priddy
  • My Room Mi Cuarto by Rebecca Emberley
  • My School Mi Escuela by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Toys Mis Juguetes by Rebecca Emberley
  • My Turn to Learn Opposites by Natalie Marshall
  • Searching for Circles by Joann Cleland
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Hounds of Baskerville by Jennifer Adams
  • Sizes by Luana Mitten
  • Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli

SONGS

  • Five Little Ducks by Raffi
  • Head Shoulders Knees and Toes Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies by Annie Kubler
  • Row Row Row Your Boat by Annie Kubler
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Caroline Church

INTERACTIVE

  • Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates
  • Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

WINTER

  • Baby Loves Winter! by Karen Katz
  • No Two Alike by Keith Baker
  • Ride the Big Machines in Winter by Carmen Mok
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz
  • The Animals of the Chinese New Year by Jen Sookfong Lee
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Winter by Bright Baby