Gianni De Conno Poster, Premio Bancarella 2015

My name is Brenda, I am Italian and I am (totally) a Libra. 

I studied Communication & Journalism. I lived in Mantua, Trieste, Florence, Bologna and Milan before moving to London in 2011 and I got my British passport in 2019. I worked in fashion for over a decade, until my first daughter was born in 2014 and my second in 2016.

Motherhood slowed my professional life down a lot, but speeded up everything else.
My priorities and interests have been turned upside down, and luxury fashion quickly ended up at the bottom of the list.
Raising two human beings has been utterly overwhelming, making me the best (and sometimes the worst) possible version of myself.

I implemented the Montessori method from birth with my daughters reading and researching a lot by myself at first, then guided by my daughter's amazing teachers.
I decided that I wanted to go further.
I attended several courses for parents at the Maria Montessori Institute in London, meeting some truly inspiring AMI teachers, then I decided to enrol in their Teaching Assistants Courses (3-6 and 6-12 years).

For me, the journey into Montessori has been a journey to become a mother and also a personal, sort of spiritual journey.

I most definitely feel like a 'less imperfect' mother now, and a slightly better human being.

At home, books have always been at the centre of my parenting approach. I found myself filling the house with a probably excessive number of books and recommending titles to friends.
I enjoyed read aloud so much that I started to write about our bookish adventures.

I am not a collector though, I am annoyingly picky. 

I love books with beautiful, detailed illustrations. I don't like stories with a moral. Unless it's one by Leo Lionni.
I avoid books based on gender stereotypes.
I prefer non-fiction books over classic fairy-tales. Actually, you won't find classic fairy tales here! They are not encouraged in Montessori.
Storytime is many many things for us. It's laughing and winding down, bonding, telling about the world, modelling, finding the courage,  showing possibilities, getting to know and accepting ourselves.

Besides books and education my interests are (in not so random order):
music (not ALL music. The Pink Floyd, The Smiths, David Bowie, the Pixies, Pulp, The Las... you get the idea, I'm kind of stuck in the 90s), walking in nature, indoor gardening, nutrition, cinema, coffee.

I started this blog to honestly share what I have learnt so far about children's books and about what we read, and to share my journey into Montessori education, hoping to inspire others to try something new along the way.

***Note for using this blog***
I only review books that I read in my home. 
We tend to buy many books in Italian because it's the best way to keep our daughters engaged with the language we speak at home and therefore with our culture.
Also, there are amazing books by Italian and foreign authors and illustrators that are published in Italian but sadly not in English.
For the same reason we buy books in English. And in French too sometimes:)
I hope that the bilingual approach will be helpful to Italian parents looking for some reading in Italian and English for their children, and also to publishers in finding new gems. 
Maybe we will eventually fill in the gaps between different markets.

The reading age that I refer to is the minimum age that I feel it's required to approach the book with parental guidance.
This can vary from child to child though, always read a book first before buying it or reading it to your child, so you can be sure that he is ready to process and enjoy what's in it. 
Don't rush it, I know some books are truly amazing and you can't wait to sit down and read them together, but when it comes to young children (under 6) it really is better to keep it simple, and to privilege entirely positive stories.

"Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society."
"Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves."
Maria Montessori

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