Skip to main content

Top Books

My recommendations for top Montessori and homeschool books has moved here!
























1. My TOP FIVE Recommendations for Infant-Related Books

The First Twelve Months of Life: Your Baby's Growth Month by Month by Frank Caplan ($)

"For over twenty years this has helped parents understand their new babies: enjoy an updated classic which has been newly revised with the latest research for new parents, documenting a baby's first 12 months of changes and including monthly growth charts, answers to common concerns, and overviews of what to anticipate in a baby's life." -- Midwest Book Review

The Mommy Manual: Planting Roots That Give Your Children Wings by Barbara Curtis, a Montessori teacher and homeschool mom! ($)

"I can't recommend this book enough to all new moms (and older ones too). It is truly one of the best books, if not THE best, out there to help moms ENJOY those early years of mothering. "My advice? Buy at least 5 copies. One for yourself and four more to give out at Baby Showers." (Amazon.com customer review.)

"I loved this book! If I had the money I would buy one for every mom I know! The author had so many great ideas about being a parent and how to raise your children in a way that will encourage them to be all that God has for them. I felt very inspired after reading this to try to be more patient and enjoy every minute with my daughter, even when she insists on doing things her way :). I have started modifying things around the house so she can do things more independently and she really does beam when she accomplishes a new task. I encourage you to get a copy of this book and start trying some of the suggestions! I'm already looking forward to rereading this again." (Amazon.com customer review.)

The Second Twelve Months of Life: Your Baby's Growth Month By Month ($) by Frank Caplan

"This book, along with the authors' book The First Twelve Months of Life, are my two favorite books on infant development. It explains how babies perceive the world and how they progress in their development, month by month. These books helped me when my own kids were babies and they're the books that I give as gifts to new parents."--Amazon.com reviewer

Active Learning for Infants ($$$)

"Provides a winning combination of information and activities that help children develop their minds and bodies in a safe and healthy environment. Incorporate "active" learning into the curriculum with ease using the complete planning guide with a clean format describing activities and appropriate materials, and a resource and skills checklist. Plus icons identifying developmental stages and suggestions for language development and interaction help teachers direct student progress. Use the series to update programs, train new staff, or develop teaching units." --Amazon.com

"Brilliant book. We had a physio check up just to be sure all was OK and she loved the book too so we will be buying the next in the series. Great ideas and easy to understand and use without buying anything." --Amazon.com reviewer

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less (Reprint Edition) ($)

"In Einstein Never Used Flashcards highly credentialed child psychologists, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D., offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: Letting tots learn through play is not only okay-it's better than drilling academics!

"Drawing on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts, and addressing the key areas of development-math, reading, verbal communication, science, self-awareness, and social skills-the authors explain the process of learning from a child's point of view. They then offer parents 40 age-appropriate games for creative play. These simple, fun--yet powerful exercises work as well or better than expensive high-tech gadgets to teach a child what his ever-active, playful mind is craving to learn." --Amazon.com

"I love this book. It takes a lot of the pressure off parents to "create" an intelligent child -- love your baby and play with him or her. Learning should be fun, not rote memorization.I like that the authors explain in plain English the science behind their theories and provide real-life examples. They also provide practical exercises to put their approach to work. Definitely worth a read. I plan to wear my copy out as I'll refer back to it while my little girl grows up." --Amazon Reviewer

2. My TOP Recommended Montessori and Non-Montessori Toddler

Hands are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi, Ph.D

"This is such a great book and perfect to reinforce to your child what hands are for. It walks you through all the ways hand are used for i.e. hugging, holding mommy's hand, helping clean, building, etc., while gently reinforcing that hands are not for hitting. The back of the book gives parents ideas on phrases to say to your child when he/she hits. Super cute. This is addition to time out has made a huge difference in my toddler's behavior!"--Amazon review.

Ready, Set, Sleep (Kindle) by Malia Jacobson

"Malia has written the MOST AMAZING sleep guide. It is a quick read (and I am no avid reader), is logical, empathetic, and most of all... SUPER effective! After changing only three things in my 11-month-old's nighttime routine, I was able to get my son to sleep for TEN hours straight! He had previously been waking up every hour to two hours all night, every night. I never realized that the lack of sleep could be caused by my son being overtired and not getting enough sleep. Low and behold... that was the trick! Not only does Malia explain what to do about sleep problems, but she explains WHY to do them, making them make perfect sense. I believe this can work with any age child, and WILL WORK for any mommy or daddy who is sleep deprived, exhausted, and out of options. No need to cry it out, be the mean parent, or deal with exhaustion. This is HANDS DOWN the BEST $10.00 I've spent as a parent! Thanks Malia for an amazing resource!"--Amazon review.

First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Renee F. Ramsey, Dana Bowman, Katheryn Davis  Read MY review here  (of the used 2002 edition).

"I love this book. I checked book after book of toddler crafts and toddler play out of the library, but most of them made me think, "hmm, anyone could have thought of that." This is not one of those books. "I know this sounds ridiculous, but this book is helping me be a better parent. There is nothing like the total absorption of an art project to help me be fully present with my daughter. Other times I might physically be with her, but my mind is at least partly elsewhere, thinking adult thoughts, worrying mostly, I suppose, but while doing these art projects, I truly am with her in the moment, and smiling and laughing more than I have in ages." (Amazon.com customer review.)

Small Beginnings : First Steps to Prepare Your Toddler for Lifelong Learning [Montessori and Christian Parenting] by Barbara Curtis

"While playing, doodling, and just being a kid, your children can also be practicing muscle control, concentration, orderliness, and other basics that will help them later on. Barbara's insights will inspire you. And her time - saving techniques will convince you that even marathon moms have time to make the most of their toddler's natural energy and potential for success."--Forward by Dr. William Sears "This is a book I've turned to over and over again, to help me regain my perspective on my two children (born 14 months apart), or to glean some comfort, inspiration, advice, or encouragement. I've loaned it out more than 10 times, and have given it as a gift at countless baby showers. I've never met a person who writes so compassionately, affectionately and respectfully to parents and about toddlers, and her insights cast the Terrible Two's in an entirely different light. I don't consider myself deeply religious, but Mrs. Curtis' tone was not the least bit offensive, and she radiates love and common-sense wisdom." (Amazon.com customer review.)

The Toddler's Busy Book "Most popular!" by Trish Kuffner

"This book contains 365 activities (one for each day of the year) for one-and-a-half to three-year-olds using things found around the home. It shows parents and day-care providers how to: "Prevent boredom during the longest stretches of indoor weather with ideas for indoor play, kitchen activities, and arts and crafts projects.

Stimulate a child's natural curiosity with entertaining math, language, and motor-skills activities. Encourage a child's physical, mental, and emotional growth with ideas for fun music, food, water, and outdoor activities. Keep toddlers occupied during long car trips or cross-town errands.
"The Toddler's Busy Book is written with warmth and sprinkled with humor and insight. It should be required reading for anyone raising or teaching toddlers."--Product Description

3. TOP FIVE Recommended Homeschool and Montessori Books for Parents and Teachers

What Your First Grader Needs to Know : Fundamentals of a Good First Grade Education  "Most popular!" by E. D. Hirsch (Editor)

Book Description: "What will your child be expected to learn in the first grade? How can you help him or her at home? How can teachers foster active, successful learning in the classroom? This book answers these all-important questions and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that hundreds of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American first graders." (Amazon.com editorial review.) "You just can't beat this book. Not only does it tell you what your child should be learning, it's right there for you. This isn't just a list of topics - it has the actual stories, biographies, math games, etc. right there for you. One of my favorite parts is the literature section. It has the basic stories, poems, fables, and sayings every well-rounded child should now. And the science and history sections have great introductions/overviews of topice - great for unit studies." (Amazon.com customer spotlight review.)

Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain: Early Learning Activities for 2-6 Year Old Children by John Bowman

"These activities help young children develop powerful brain architecture, a positive, confident self-image, and early reading, writing, math, and science skills - a great preparation for success in school. Most activities use common items parents may already have or which can be easily and inexpensively obtained."

"John Bowman's most rewarding work was being a Montessori primary teacher and center director. He opened three new Montessori preschool programs and was the first Director of the Garfield Montessori School in Denver, Colorado. His goals now are to encourage parents to do early learning activities with their children and to show them how."

Child-Sized Masterpieces for steps 1,2,3 of Mommy It's a Renoir (various levels) by Aline D. Wolf 
"This is an excellent set of books. I went ahead and got all of them. Basically [they are] postcards of famous paintings. You cut them out and use them to help teach your younger children about art and artists and styles of art. You do this through a series of continually more challenging games.... Well worth the money." --Amazon.com customer review

How to Use Child-Sized Masterpieces : A Parent and Teacher Handbook for Matching, Pairing, Sorting, and Sequencing Postcard-size reproductions
"In the art history manual, [How to Use] Child-size Masterpieces, directions are given for organizing and presenting art postcards to children, from the simple stages of matching identical pictures, to laying out timelines of the schools of art through history. Each art postcard book contains 36 postcards, lableled and color coded on the back, ready to be cut out and placed in the correct folder.... For ages 2-12." --Child of the World, 2002-2003 edition, a Michael Olaf company

Montessori Read & Write  by L. Lawrence
"In Montessori Read & Write, Lynne Lawrence, a leading Montessori practitioner, shows you how you can teach your children to read and write using the famous Montessori system. The book is packed with ideas and age-specific activities and games that make learning easy and fun. It puts children on the straightest possible road to literacy, from those first steps in recognizing letters, sounds, and shapes through vocabulary-building and spelling competence to full reading fluency and creative writing skills. As a valuable bonus, Montessori Read & Write includes a list of special books that you and your child can enjoy reading together." --Amazon.com editorial review Synopsis

"Making the world-renowned Montessori method available to all, this book will be welcomed by parents who wish to give their children a solid foundation in a set of basic skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. 80 color illustrations." --Amazon.com editorial review

"The development of languge begins long before birth and continues to unfold intensely until he age of six. A sound beginning at this age will help for the rest of one's life. This book, by a leading Montessori practitioner, shows how to support language development, and to teach reading and writing the Montessori approach. It is useful for home and school." --Child of the World, 2002-2003 edition, a Michael Olaf company.

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-school Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock
"I have two small children and I also want them to be exposed to the Montessori method, however, I want to homeschool them as well. This seemed a formidable task until I found this book... which gives me the guidelines and instruction I need to successfully utilize the Montessori method in my own home. I highly recommend this book to all parents, whether homeschooling or not." --Amazon.com customer review

"Hainstock's easy to understand format will be helpful to the parent who knows little or nothing about how to use the Montessori method. The instructions and presentation of each of the learning activities mentioned in this book, in my humble opinion, are excellent. Parents today are busy and they don't have time to wade through books with complicated, confusing information. Their time is valuable, and Hainstock is sensitive to this fact. She is also sensitive to the child and his or her needs. Her lessons truly represent Montessori in every way" --Amazon.com customer review.

4. My TOP FOUR Recommended Reading and Phonics

Montessori Read & Write by L. Lawrence

Book Description: "In Montessori Read & Write, Lynne Lawrence, a leading Montessori practitioner, shows you how you can teach your children to read and write using the famous Montessori system. The book is packed with ideas and age-specific activities and games that make learning easy and fun. It puts children on the straightest possible road to literacy, from those first steps in recognizing letters, sounds, and shapes through vocabulary-building and spelling competence to full reading fluency and creative writing skills. As a valuable bonus, Montessori Read & Write includes a list of special books that you and your child can enjoy reading together." --Amazon.com editorial review Synopsis

"Making the world-renowned Montessori method available to all, this book will be welcomed by parents who wish to give their children a solid foundation in a set of basic skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. 80 color illustrations." --Amazon.com editorial review

"The development of languge begins long before birth and continues to unfold intensely until he age of six. A sound beginning at this age will help for the rest of one's life. This book, by a leading Montessori practitioner, shows how to support language development, and to teach reading and writing the Montessori approach. It is useful for home and school." --Child of the World, 2002-2003 edition, a Michael Olaf company.

Bob Books Beginning Readers by Bobby Lynn Maslen "I highly recommended this Bob Books series! 


"We have used these books in our classroom for years, they are truly the best to teach phonetic reading!" --Lisa Nolan Montessori "When you notice that a child is starting to sound out words on her own and has learned many of the letter sounds (not the names), it is time to introduce these wonderful books. They were drawn and written by a teacher for the students to fill a gap in the beginning reading books. The first set of twelve books contains simple, short, mostly phonetic words, and the next two sets of eight books progress to include more words per page and a few non-phonetic words. The stories are about non-sensical imaginary figures who interact in delightful ways. The progression is arranged to provide success for the child, and the satisfaction of finishing a whole book! The drawings are simple figures, funny enough to interest an older beginning reader." (Child of the World, 2002-2003 edition, a Michael Olaf company.)

Book Description: "With their engaging stories and clever illustrations, the Bob Books have ushered millions of kids into the world of reading. This relaunch of the popular series features a handy new chart on the back of each box that enables parents and educators to easily identify which set is best suited for their child's reading capabilities. Each set is color coded to indicate reading level and each story is carefully crafted to help children at different learning stages master essential reading skills." (Amazon.com editorial review.)

"My Four Year Old is Reading! As a former educator, I tend to stress educational development with my four year old. I recently began teaching him the sounds of his letters. A co-worker told me about the Bob Books. My son was able to read the first two books within 1 week. I was truly impressed with the books. They are excellent for beginning readers. My son is now confident in his ability to learn. The books made it easy for him to learn how to put sounds together to form words."--Jeanese Carriere (Amazon.com customer review.)

'"I Can Read, Mommy!"' This was my 4yo son's reaction to Bob Books. Within his first week of reading instruction (using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons), my son was able to read all the way through his first Bob Book without assistance. Now, less than a month later, he literally BEGS me to let him read these books. Yesterday he sat down and read through 6 of them in a row! He would have kept going had I not put lunch on the table. These books are much easier to read than other books geared at beginning readers, and as a result loose children's confidence and encourage them to keep practicing. While these books do not have the same dramatic appeal as Peter Rabbit, etc, they do have silly little stories that inevitably bring laughter into the often frustrating &/or boring process of learning to read, without necessitating long or complex words that tend to discourage the earliest beginning readers. When it comes to reading all alone, my son prefers Bob Books to any other early readers (Little Bear, etc) we have in the house. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."--(Amazon.com Spotlight Review.)

Bob Books First! Level A, Set 1 (Most popular set!)

Primary Phonics: Workbooks and Readers "I highly recommended this Primary Phonics series!"

"We have been using Primary Phonics workbooks and reading books at our Montessori school for nearly twenty years. There is nothing better for teaching phonics (preschool and up)! We start with the green consonant workbook, followed by the red phonics workbook 1 (and the Bob Books for reading). Next we give the Primary Phonics reading books (there is also a teacher's manual-guide you can order). See below for more information!"--Lisa Nolan Montessori

"Primary Phonics programs and lesson plans facilitate teaching phonics for kids from preschool to kindergarten and up. Learn how to teach phonics with the teacher instruction books in these children's phonics sets. Recommended for classroom or home school instruction.

"Primary Phonics is a program of storybooks and coordinated workbooks that teaches reading to students in kindergarten through second grade. This program uses a carefully structured phonetic approach to establish a solid base in phonics that enables students to read, write and spell simple words. As students complete the workbook exercises, they practice, apply, and master new skills with the phonetically controlled stories.

Key Benefits:
* Develops phonological awareness
* Builds reading speed and fluency
* Facilitates specialized and individual instruction
* Promotes confident and eager readers"

Set Of 10 Storybooks - Primary Phonics 1 (Most popular!):
"Primary Phonics Storybooks contain short stories that children can read easily. Students feel a sense of accomplishment upon reading a whole book independently. Storybooks correspond with workbook exercises.

Storybook Features:
* 10 storybooks in each set correspond with workbook exercises
* Each storybook is about 20 to 30 pages
* Phonetically controlled texts
* Sounds and spellings recently learned
* Review of sounds and spellings already mastered
* Familiar, high-interest themes"

Primary Phonics Consonant Work Book (Most popular!):
"The 32 page Primary Phonics Consonant Book teaches one new consonant sound every two pages, while also reviewing previously taught consonant sounds. For each consonant, there are 16 illustrations presented with the one-word name shown next to each illustration but missing one letters."

"I have taught first grade students for over 20 years and I could not have done it without Primary Phonics. All of my first graders learn to become independent learners and feel great success in both workbooks and reading. They love these workbooks and cannot wait to move through all of the workbooks and readers!"--Patsy King, Teacher, Greybull, Wyoming

Primary Phonics Workbook 1 (Most popular!):

"Primary Phonics Workbook 1 provides practice exercises for building phonics skills at the kindergarten level. Workbook exercises correspond with stories in the 10 storybooks. As students complete the workbook exercises, they practice, apply, and master new skills with the phonetically controlled stories.

"The Primary Phonics workbooks assume knowledge of the consonants. Workbook 1 reviews the consonants and introduces the short vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, and the sight words is, a, the, on, in, yes, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and black. All workbooks include a list of phonetic elements on the inside back cover. The outside back cover of each workbook features a chart showing when to introduce each storybook along with the corresponding workbook page number.

Workbook Features: A carefully planned phonetic sequence. A range of identification, reading, and writing exercises. A chart of featured phonetic elements and accompanying storybooks"

Didax Tactile Sandpaper Lowercase Letters
 "My son uses these at home for writing practice. They are easy for him to manage, and show where to start, as well as a black line for letters that go above and below the line AND they have a white dot for right side up so letters are not upside down. Also, we have had no issues with sand coming off."



Most Popular This Week:

Montessori Printables & PDFs

Montessori & the benefits of the geoboard!

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Simone Davies of Jacaranda Tree Montessori

A Montessori Teacher's Thoughts on Waldorf Education

Montessori Language & Outline for Ages 3 to 9 (Small fee to access.)

Subscribe for free PDF