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Montessori-Friendly Living Books Library


If you read Maria Montessori’s books about reading in general, you will find out that she discouraged the reading of fiction at younger ages. Fiction is saved for older children.

According to Maria Montessori and many of her followers (and I am paraphrasing), she preferred that young children are exposed to nonfiction books and some realistic fiction.

In the book Montessori from the Start, we read “Have books for the child under six years old that are based on reality, rather than fantasy. The young child needs to explore the real world before he can appreciate a fantasy world created by adults…” What does this mean?

Nonfiction books are based solely on reality where facts are based on our real world. For example, images in the books should only use real photography, no drawings or digitally-created graphics.

Animals do not speak or wear human clothes nor do they walk on their 2 hind feet instead of all four. Please remember to visit our resources hub for Montessori Curriculum 3-6 activities and lessons!

And don’t forget to see our book list hub! It is full of lists of books on all kinds of topics on all subjects! You will love it and find it very helpful!

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In a sense, I can see why she encourages this type of practice because of the particular group of children she was working with during her research. Having said that, depending on how much instructors adhere to her teachings, there might be more or less fiction books in the picture and you know what? That is ok.

I personally share both fiction and nonfiction with my children. The requirement I have for the books we read and enjoy regularly are called “living books.” Living books are wonderful. They are more than just some silly story.


Living books tend to also be called “twaddle free.” Twaddle means, according to the online dictionary, “trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense.”

In my opinion, there can be some great books that are considered living books and that could be Montessori-friendly, even though their images are not photographs. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.

Montessori-Friendly Living Books Library

To make it easier, I have divided the list by subjects. These are Montessori-friendly living books that we own and love using regularly.

History and Culture


We have used our books in many, many lessons for our geography, history and cultural posts. You can find one of our favorites HERE.

When it comes to history, we have loved one where we delved into our family tree. But our favorite lessons are always the geography ones.

The Illustrated History of the World and History Encyclopedia as well as the Encyclopedia of World History are our go-to books lately. They are all amazing and complement each other in a unique and fantastic way. It would be hard to pick one over the other! I recommend them all.

For our geography lessons, we always use our Essential World Atlas and enjoy completing lessons using our Flags of the World book. The books Children Just Like Me and Colors of China (Mexico, Israel, France, Australia, Japan, Kenya, Germany, etc) are perfect for cultural studies as well as history and geography.

Fine Arts

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Whether you feel that you have a gift for the arts or have knack for music or not at all, it is ok. You can most definitely teach it to your children and even instill a sense of love for both fine arts.

You can use resources like this post or this post on art and this post and this post for music.

Our two most used books for art are Artists and Famous Paintings. We learn about artists, their art, their techniques and we even link them to history (time period in which they lived and even historical events that might have influenced their art).

The Story of the Orchestra is super fun. Listen to the CD that is included while reading this book. It is super fun. We listen to baroque or classical music every single day in our homeschool.

Music does good to our bodies and souls. We also go a step further… we study composers (famous and a bit obscure) like The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives: The True Story of a Famous American Composer. It is full of historical facts, too! Love it!



When it comes to astronomy, zoology, botany or anatomy, we love books! Honestly, though, we love books in general. Take a look at our favorites. Look at this Internet-linked Astronomy book. Wow.

And this is our favorite: Mini Encyclopedia Set (space, body, animals, birds, insects, oceans). You have got to check this one out!

The book Footprints in the Snow and the collection for each season Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic (Summer, Autumn, Winter) are excellent read alouds! Be sure to check them out.

Practical Life


Practical Life is such a fun subject! Some of the skills we practice daily and help us survive and keep our environment beautiful.

This includes flower arranging, folding clothes, food preparation and hygiene and cleanliness.

Check out our posts here. We also use books for this.

Look at these books that connect to practical life: The Busy Body Book and Good Enough to Eat for nutrition and exercise. The Snowy Day and The Carrot Seed are great for daily occurrences and fun adventures in other children’s lives.



Let’s talk about poetry. How often do you read poetry with or to your children? Do they like it? I know that poetry is much more than rhyming, but rhyming is also a big part of it and children are drawn to the singy-songy tempo of the written word that rhymes.

For this, there is a fantabulous solution. Read to them a lot. I know that the first name that comes to mind is Dr. Seuss (and who doesn’t love The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham?), but why not read some books like the Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems or the Favorite Poems Old and New before bed?

Why not memorize a poem together out of Poetry for Children or make some memories talking and acting out some from the Favorite Poems of Childhood? Isn’t it intriguing and wonderful to see which poems your little ones are drawn to?

Some more Fun

shine finalHave you heard about the Shine-a-light books? They have different topics like apple tree, rainforest, on the train, seashore, construction site, winter animals and others.

They are super cool because there is a hidden creature on every page and you can only see it when you shine a flashlight or lamp behind it.

You can see a couple of activities we did here (with a free craft tutorial) and here (with a free printable). We will show you more of these awesome books soon. Stay tuned! We love them all!

And speaking of free printables, have you taken a look at all of our free printables on this blog? I think you would love looking through and getting all kinds of free goodies! Enjoy!

Montessori at Home -Friendly Living Books Library

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I hope this post encourages you to try some living books with your children. You might also like: History about Past and Present the Montessori Way {Free Printables}

Chore Charts for Multiple Children {Free Printable Charts & Cards}

Edible Science Experiments for Kids {Printables}

Ancient Native America & Ancient Maya Civilization Art & Architecture {Freebies}

Montessori Curriculum: Holidays & Observances during the Calendar Year {Free Printables}

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Take a look at some more awesome book lists for your family!

The Best Montessori Friendly Books: Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers, Elementary | Natural Beach Living

Montessori-Friendly Living Books Library | The Natural Homeschool

Favorite Montessori-Friendly Books for a 2 Year Old | Living Montessori Now

10 Ways To Make Your Kids Crazy About Reading | Planting Peas

Montessori Friendly Books — Birth to Six | The Kavanaugh Report

Engaging Books for Preschoolers | Mama’s Happy Hive

Montessori & Fiction: Balancing the Bookshelf | Sugar, Spice & Glitter

Montessori Books for Older Children:  The Universe Story Trilogy | The Pinay Homeschooler

Children’s Books About Birds | Every Star is Different

Favorite Montessori Resources | Grace and Green Pastures

Our Favorite Montessori Inspired Books for Babies to Preschoolers | Christian Montessori Network

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Interested in great educational printables for your kids? Look here!
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  1. What a great post! I’m very intrigued by your featured history book. I’m guessing Dinomite would LOVE it. (He’s my history fan.)

  2. I’m progressive like you too — we don’t enjoy only non-fiction books, we enjoy all kinds of fiction, but especially those that are true (or as true as possible) to reality.

  3. I’m not purist and I embrace all kinds of philosophies in education, so I’m with mixing fiction and non fiction as well. I’ve read fiction books with Mavi and it didn’t affect his education and learnings at all. But I guess it really depends on the kind of environment and children you are working on. Anyhoo… we love to read and that’s what matters! Love this post!

    • I agree. We need to check with every child individually and not throw blanket rules on everyone indiscriminately. 🙂

  4. Thank you for explaining living books and what is considered Montessori books. I’m excited to check out the poetry books. I need to explore this more with Little Bee.

  5. Great Info! I love the Science books you shared, I’m going to have to check those out. We have The Kingfisher Dictionary it’s been great for my older boys.


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