Looking for Montessori-aligned books to read to your baby or toddler? For those of us trying to avoid too much screen time, reading books is one of the most enriching activities you can do instead.
Here are over 50 books that follow Montessori principles, ideal for ages 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4.
What Makes a Book ‘Montessori?’
Most baby and children’s books are illustrated, and hardly any are based on practical life struggles or experiences.
Traditional Montessori philosophy says that before age 3, kids aren’t ready for fantasy.
At this early stage, they’re “concrete learners,” which means everything they see feels like reality. That’s why the concept of monsters hiding under the bed feels so real and scary for toddlers.
The best Montessori books for toddlers and babies will teach things about the real world around us.
Most of these books feature real pictures instead of illustrations, and the storylines follow everyday experiences, like going potty for the first time or experiencing anger or sadness.
The following list of Montessori books will be sorted by age – I think these are the very best Montessori books for babies and toddlers.
Please add any suggestions in the comments at the end!
Best Montessori Books for Babies
Montessori board books are perfect for ages 0-1.
They are simpler in nature and focus on contrasting images and simple concepts like parts of the human body, animals, and some introductory baby sign language. These are so good for child development!
1. Black & White Board Book
The Black & White Board Book is a board book written and illustrated by Tana Hoban. The contrasting images are perfect for newborns, and these images will be captivating for many months to come.
This book is also ideal to prop up during tummy time, which you’ll be doing a lot around 3-6 months.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a cute story from The World of Eric Carle. The illustrations are vibrant and simple, so they capture attention and also introduce young minds to a variety of colors and shapes.
The large, sturdy pages are perfect for babies as young as a few months old because they are easy for tiny hands to explore independently.
As your baby grows, you can use this book to explore the concepts of counting, days of the week, and the transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.
3. The Looker Play Kit Book Bundle
Lovevery offers new books, which come in bundles, and all of them are Montessori-aligned.
The first book bundle for ages 0-12 weeks is full of high-contrast images. You even get some wall decals to hold your baby’s attention during diaper changes.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can purchase the book bundles without being a play kit subscriber, but if it’s in your budget, it will be some of the best money you’ll spend on your baby.
4. High Contrast Cloth Book
Cloth books are also wonderful for babies as they can explore their senses, including auditory, tactile, and vision. This book with abstract concepts is another one that can be introduced between 0-3 months.
It’s also really helpful during tummy time as it gives baby something to focus on and explore.
5. Baby Faces
The board book Baby Faces is full of real-life photography of baby faces.
Babies are naturally wired to look for faces, so these types of books are especially captivating. This is perfect to introduce around 5-6 months of age.
You can start using lots of language about body parts while making it interactive (“THIS is your nose!”).
6. The Charmer Play Kit Book Bundle
The Charmer book bundle from Lovevery includes two books – one wooden book with animal images and a second board book with beautiful photography.
I love the wooden book as my baby loves to chew on it, and I know it won’t warp the pages or break down in his mouth.
And we love books with real photos in them. They seriously capture a baby’s attention!
7. Fish Soft Cloth Book
Books can be a sensory experience, especially before age 1, when everything goes right into the mouth.
I love a cloth book, especially when there are sensory components to it. This fish-themed one is perfect!
8. Baby Signs
Teaching baby sign language is a great way to assist with communication before babies can speak. Books like Baby Signs: A Baby-Sized Introduction to Speaking with Sign Language by Joy Allen can help you get started. It’s also only $5!
While this baby board book doesn’t use real photos, it still includes baby sign language concepts.
9. The Senser Play Kit Book Bundle
The Senser books are some of my favorites for ages 0-1. The silicone book with sensory bits inside is absolutely amazing for car rides and independent play.
The close-up images of baby faces in Hi, Baby are mesmerizing.
I still can’t believe just how focused my baby gets when he sees images of real people (as opposed to the more common illustrated books).
9. My First Touch and Feel Picture Cards: First Words
The My First Touch and Feel Picture Cards may not technically be a book, but the picture cards are great for introducing touch and feel elements.
I love these particular cards because they include real photography.
These help you familiarize your baby with new words and reinforce learning.
10. Making Faces
Babies love to look at faces, which makes this book, Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions an instant hit.
The book also introduces emotional literacy, which will come in handy down the road!
11. First 100 Animals
The First 100 Animals board book features images of real animals, not illustrations. Seeing what animals actually look like is so helpful for developing brains! It’s also very in line with Montessori beliefs.
12. The Inspector Play Kit Book Bundle
The two books in The Inspector bundle are diverse, feature photos of real babies, and include some unique features, like lifting a cloth for peek-a-boo fun.
The lift-the-flap book introduces the concept of object permanence, which is always such a blast. Get ready for baby giggles!
13. Global Babies
Expose your little one to diversity with the book Global Babies. I love the images of real babies in this book – that always captures my kids’ attention!
If you want to raise a Montessori baby, this book is a must-have!
Plus, part of the proceeds from this book’s sales will be donated to the Global Fund for Children to support innovative community-based organizations that serve the world’s most vulnerable children and youth.
14. The Explorer Play Kit Book Bundle
The cloth book in The Explorer Play Kit Book Bundle is a must-have!! The features inside are so unique, and they’re not only great for 9-10 months – even my 4-year-old has fun sitting down with it. It’s such a fun book.
The tiny Squish! book is just a bonus.
The photographs in the book Eat! capture the many endearing expressions kids make when learning to eat. The book also introduces the different colors and textures of food to your little one.
There are several other lovely books in this series, including:
16. The Cookie Book of Colors
The Cookie Book of Colors is mesmerizing! You identify the colors on each page, but you also get to see these amazing royal-icing cookie designs from Holly Fox, a popular Instagrammer.
It’s a really quick read, but it’s a fun way to talk about colors with your toddler, especially as you approach age 1.
17. Red, Blue, Yellow Shoe
Red, Blue, Yellow Shoe is another wonderful color recognition book, just in a different presentation than the previous cookie-themed book.
Tana Hoban has some really wonderful books, so be sure to check out what else she has to offer!
18. The Thinker Play Kit Book Bundle
As your baby gets ready to turn 1, they’re ready to explore first woods and even some math concepts. I love these two books from Lovevery, designed for 11-12 months.
Baby Math takes the cake as one of the smartest, most unique board books I’ve ever come across.
Best Montessori Books for 1-Year-Olds
These Montessori books for 1-year-olds are all about routines, exploring and curiosity, and preparing for real-life situations.
So many different experiences, like going to the doctor for the first time, can be scary for a child. Walking through that experience with a book can be a game-changer!
19. Hands Can
The photography in Hands Can, alongside the rhyming text, makes this a toddler favorite.
Explore all the things your hands can do!
20. The Babies and Doggies Book
Babies and dogs do a lot of the same things – squirm, sniff, sit, splash, cuddle… the list goes on! Explore these similarities with The Babies and Doggies Book, which features full-color photography of different dog breeds and a diverse cast of babies.
We also love the companion to this one, The Babies and Kitties Book.
21. The Babbler Play Kit Book Bundle
The Babbler bundle from Lovevery includes a book about colorful foods and a hide-and-seek style book.
Talking about different foods is great to help avoid picky eating when age 2 rolls around. And Where is Crew’s Shoe? helps your toddler predict outcomes while using fine motor skills.
22. I Can
I Can is a book with simple yet powerful phrases like “I can jump” and “I can run,” which is perfect for sparking language development and encouraging interactive play.
You can have your kids get up and act out each page together as you read along.
23. Off to the Park!
The exploratory storyline of Off to the Park! is great for encouraging curiosity and teaching toddlers about the natural world around us. Which way should we go? What should we do? What will we find? I just love this book!
It also has some unique features, including Braille-style numbering, play elements, and high-contrast images.
24. The Adventurer Play Kit Book Bundle
Little hands love mini books, and this Lovevery bundle comes with four mini board books and one board book!
The concepts in them are great for ages 1-2, and the board book Opposites is always a fun, quick read.
25. Baby University Board Book Set
Start teaching scientific concepts early with the bestselling Baby University book sets!
This science set features colorful, simple introductions to scientific principles for babies. Its approach to early learning is beloved by kids and grownups!
26. Leo Gets a Checkup
Going to the doctor is a pretty common routine for young kids, and by a certain age, they understand what’s involved and where they’re going.
Leo Gets a Checkup can help you talk through the experience of going to the doctor. You can even bring it with you to the appointment and find what’s currently happening in the book.
27. The Realist Play Kit Book Bundle
The Realist Play Kit book bundle is all about potty learning. I actually think it’s a little early to introduce this to a 1-year-old, so I have a non-Lovevery suggestion in the next section.
But Lovevery has this book bundle about learning to go pee and poop for months 19, 20, and 21. And be forewarned: the Ready to Go: Poop book has images of actual poop.
28. My First Padded Book of Opposites
Around 16 months of age, kids are ready to explore more complex topics, like opposites. I love that this picture book includes real photos of objects as opposed to illustrated ones.
The book is also quite durable since it’s padded.
29. Happy Birthday, Little Pookie
Birthdays are another fun milestone for toddlers as they start to understand what’s happening. While I really love the Lovevery book Graham Turns Two, it’s part of The Companion Play Kit, and you can’t purchase it separately.
A good alternative on Amazon is Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton.
I’m a sucker for Sandra Boynton books! My kids also adore the rhymes.
Want more rhyming books? Check out 30 Best Rhyming Books for 2-Year-Olds
30. The Companion Play Kit Book Bundle
One of my favorite Lovevery books is Leo and Melody at the Farm. It used to be a part of one of the play kits, but now it’s included in this book bundle, which is cool!
It even has a page where you can scratch and sniff a lavender field.
31. Montessori: Number Work
I love these Montessori books with sandpaper tracing. You’re very likely to see these books in a Montessori classroom.
Dr. Maria Montessori said in one of her teaching handbooks, “The child finds great pleasure in touching the sandpaper letters. […] Whilst the child touches a letter, the teacher pronounces its sound […].”
From there, Dr. Montessori explains that your child can continue touching letters while you pronounce their sounds. After practicing this, you can ask your child to trace a specific letter, and they’ll be able to find it and trace it.
It’s a really beautiful pre-writing exercise that you can start from a very early age.
These are fantastic to help with prewriting practice!
A good companion to these sandpaper tracing books is The Red Letter Alphabet Book from Montessori Services.
This book uses greeting card felt (flocking) to make velvety, touch-sensitive letters, which invite children to touch and trace the shapes of the letters.
Montessori Services also has some great sensorial books, as long as you’re trying to hit the shipping minimum!
Best Montessori Books for 2-Year-Olds
These Montessori books for 2-year-olds introduce feelings, following directions, gratitude, sharing, and helping around the house.
Kids are more capable at age two than many give them credit for, especially if you follow the Montessori approach.
32. Little Monkey Calms Down
I’ll talk a lot more about emotional literacy in the age 3-4 section, but it’s never too early to start talking about feelings.
This board book, Little Monkey Calms Down, is a very simple and engaging introduction to this topic.
My 2.5-year-old son loves this story and can really relate to it.
33. Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book
Whenever it makes sense, I love involving my toddlers in the kitchen using their platform (also called kitchen helper, toddler tower, or learning tower).
Following simple recipes and being a part of doing certain steps (cracking eggs are a favorite around here) is so great for development. It also allows your child to take part in daily tasks, which fosters independence and a sense of community.
I love this book Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book as it goes through each step in a recipe. The book also has fun features like pull-tabs, wheels, and a punch-out piece, which allows them to really get involved with the story.
There are other books in this series as well:
- Pizza!: An Interactive Recipe Book (Cook In A Book)
- Cookies!: An Interactive Recipe Book (Cook In A Book)
- Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book (Cook In A Book)
34. The Helper Play Kit Book Bundle
The Helper book bundle includes More Opposites and Olivia Goes to the Dentist. As always, these Lovevery books have images of real children instead of illustrations, which is very in line with Montessori philosophy.
I also find it really helpful to talk through big events, like following the story of the little girl going to the dentist for the first time. If you don’t want this book bundle, I have a non-Lovevery book that’s similar next.
35. Going to the Dentist
A lot of parents – and toddlers – dread going to the dentist. Introduce the experience early with the help of this great book, Going to the Dentist.
It includes real-life photography, which I love, and it walks a child through the entire process beforehand.
There are several more books in this Toddler Prep series that you may want to look at as well:
36. May We Have Enough to Share
The book May We Have Enough to Share by Richard Van Camp features photography and is all about nature and gratitude.
I absolutely love the sweet message behind this book. It’s the perfect way to start or end the day.
37. The Enthusiast Play Kit Book Bundle
The Enthusiast bundle has an adorable lift-the-flap book called When You Love a Living Thing. If your child is an animal lover, they’ll beg to read this one!
The second book in this bundle, A Visit With Captain Shelby, introduces your little reader to a firefighter.
38. That’s Not Mine
The concept of sharing is very difficult for toddlers, especially between the ages of 2 and 3.
Beyond introducing concepts like taking turns, reading a book is a great way to talk about sharing and the difficult emotions associated with it.
That’s Not Mine is a really cute book, and while it’s not full of photography like other Montessori-aligned books, I love the emotional literacy concepts.
39. The Investigator Play Kit Book Bundle
I’m an English major, so I have a special appreciation for This Is Not Your First Book, which is part of The Investigator bundle from Lovevery. It’s very meta.
The other book, How Can I Help?, weaves in the concept of being part of the family and helping out – not just letting mom and dad take care of everything for you.
Feeling like part of the family is very Montessori-aligned, which is why you often see activities like polishing silver, helping mix pancake batter, or loading the laundry machine in Montessori settings.
40. Clean-Up Time
One important part of Montessori teaching is that a child’s play space is clean and functional. Too many toys and clutter can be overwhelming for kids and prevents optimal learning.
But cleaning up after your kids all the time is exhausting! Help your toddlers take part in clean-up time by reinforcing the concept during reading time.
Clean-Up Time is a lovely book that drives home the message.
41. Going to the Potty
Potty training or potty learning timelines are different for a lot of people, but in our house, we start between ages 2-3 (closer to 3).
If you’re planning on tackling this sooner, definitely consider getting some books like this one to help!
Going to the Potty by Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is a fantastic book with real images of children learning how to use the potty. The book takes a very positive approach to the subject, which is perfect.
42. The Free Spirit Play Kit Book Bundle
The Free Spirit Play Kit Book Bundle, for months 34, 35, and 36, introduces the first hardcover book in the Lovevery book bundle series, A Day at the Beach.
This book introduces empathy, which does not come naturally.
The other board book has lift-the-flap features and a morning routine, all fun things for a 2-year-old.
Best Montessori Books for 3-Year-Olds
A lot of the Montessori books for preschoolers (ages 3-4) I’ve chosen are centered on emotional literacy.
Emotional literacy involves having self-awareness and recognizing your own feelings.
Most importantly, it’s about knowing how to manage them, such as staying calm when you’re angry or reassuring yourself when in doubt. I personally feel like the current generation of parents is breaking generational cycles in this area.
It can be “easy” for a parent to isolate a child when they’re having big feelings (think: go to your room for a time-out), but that’s the kind of behavior that’ll land a child in therapy when they’re an adult.
Identifying feelings (you seem frustrated), introducing ways to deal with them (let’s take a deep breath together), and talking about it with your child via books (that child looks angry) is a fantastic thing!
One more thing on this subject: all feelings are valid. Your reaction to those feelings is what counts, and that’s where reading can be a huge aid to our children.
43. The Color Monster
As I mentioned above, emotional literacy is a big deal around age 3. Books are a key part of talking about emotions and helping your toddler identify them.
This book, The Color Monster, is one of my all-time FAVORITE books. I absolutely love it, and my daughter requests it over and over again.
Your child will start naming the emotions on the page, and the visualization of those emotions is spot on.
44. In My Heart
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings is another fantastic book for talking about feelings.
The heart cut-out feature draws the attention of toddlers, and the book explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically.
45. The Observer Play Kit Book Bundle
This book bundle from Lovevery features two hardcovers, Alora Makes a New Friend and A Haircut for Lunar New Year.
The former talks about making boundaries and the latter is about a new experience and how it can be overwhelming and yet not so bad after all.
46. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings
For any kiddos with anxiety, extreme emotions, children identified as a Highly Sensitive Person, or a child on the autism spectrum, The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is very relatable.
The boy in this book has huge feelings. When he hears a joke, he bursts with joy. But when a loud truck drives by, he cries.
The story of this book introduces the struggles of the boy in many ways and has a very sweet ending message.
47. The Storyteller Play Kit Book Bundle
The Storyteller bundle includes a book about deployment and a book about a Simchat Bat.
These two books might introduce differences to your little one while also featuring photos of real families.
48. My First Cookbook
Toddlers might be messy in the kitchen, but they are eager to learn! My toddlers drag their kitchen helper into the kitchen the second they see me measuring flour.
A cookbook with large images and simple instructions is ideal for this age range.
I’m a huge fan of My First Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Their recipes are delicious, and the format of this book is perfect for ages 3+.
Even my 2-year-old can follow along. And honestly, if you go through this book as an adult, I think it’s a great read. I learned quite a bit from it
49. The Problem Solver Play Kit Book Bundle
Conflict resolution, compromising, and choices are the messages in this book bundle from Lovevery.
As usual, these Lovevery books have photographs of real children, which is mesmerizing for kids.
50. Hello Autumn!
Hello Autumn! has simple text and vivid photographs that show children the changes in animals, plants, and landscapes that occur during fall.
I love the concepts in this book as well as the photographs of diverse children.
There are heaps of books out there, so please share your favorites in the comment section below! I’ll continue adding to this Montessori list of books as we find more we love.
Now that you’re stocked up with books to read, check out this 15 Best Montessori Shelves article for ways to display them in your playroom!
Montessori Books Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best Montessori board books?
The best Montessori board books are the ones that grab your kids’ attention with real pictures, easy stories, and pages that can survive a little toddler roughhousing. Check out the full list of what I think are the best Montessori board books for each age group.
What does “Montessori-friendly book” mean?
A Montessori-friendly book aligns with the principles of the Montessori method, emphasizing simple, reality-based themes. Most of these books feature real pictures instead of illustrations, and the storylines follow everyday experiences.
What are Montessori books?
Montessori books are aimed at teaching little ones about the world around us, encouraging exploration, and nurturing a deep love for learning. They feature real-world narratives, and many include real pictures to engage young children.
What are the best Montessori quiet books?
The best Montessori quiet books encourage independent, quiet play with engaging activities that stimulate cognitive development, encourage creative storytelling, and refine fine motor skills. They are a great hands-on, tactile approach to learning and play. We love this Montessori quiet book because it’s perfect for travel and has a zipper all the way around it.
What are the best Montessori activity books?
The best Montessori activity books for younger children are thoughtfully designed to inspire hands-on learning and exploration.
This Montessori activity board is a great option. I love that it has a sturdy box design with a zipper all the way around it.
What are the best Montessori books for parents?
The best Montessori books for parents are gems like The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being by Simone Davies (Author) and Hiyoko Imai (Illustrator), The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori, and How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. If you want to be a Montessori parent, you really can’t go wrong with these!
Also, just FYI: In 2006, Montessori Pierson Publishing Company took over the CLIO Montessori Series from ABC-Clio. The Montessori Series features the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori with titles like Education for Human Development and Maria Montessori speaks to Parents. You can check out many of these books here.
What’s the best Montessori potty training book?
The best Montessori potty training books are the “Ready to Go” Book Bundle from Lovevery. You could also purchase The Potty Learning Course Pack and add these books to it for a full potty training plan. For a non-Lovevery version, Going to the Potty by Mr. Rogers is a good one as well.