Skye Dodson, M.Ed and Montessori trained Infant/Toddler teacher, writes and illustrates board books for infants and toddlers after noticing difficulty in finding well-illustrated and Montessori-aligned resources.
What inspired you to author your first book? I always had a hard time finding a good variety of board books that featured simple, relatable stories and images of real everyday things. I noticed that parents were frequently asking about books online as well, and most featured cartoon people or talking animals. And books featuring practical life skills seemed to be the most in demand. I felt inspired to create a series of books that meet the needs of Montessorians both at home and in the classroom.
What need did you see in the parenting or Montessori community? The need for more Montessori aligned books options for teachers and parents is what inspired me to create this book series. Parents ask about books featuring self care activities, so I am starting with the I Did It! Series. The first book focuses on dressing steps, including socks and shoes. Following a toddler through her morning dressing routine. The second book will feature brushing teeth and brushing hair. And the third is on toilet awareness.
What surprised you most about the process? The process of building a business was new to me, and creating the website. Getting everything together to actually get the shots needed for these books was a lot of work. And directing a toddler for the shots was challenging but I enjoyed that part of the process. Being a single woman business, I have to do everything. Creating, getting it manufactured, marketing and selling the books and shipping is all me! So I am learning a lot fast on my feet. And busy working on the next books.
What is your background and how did you initially learn about Montessori? I am an AMS trained infant toddler teacher with a masters in education. I have also taken the RIE Foundations course and was mentored by an RIE Associate and Pikler Fellow. I was in the classroom for 14 years before focusing on my work with Montessori teacher education programs. I am a positive discipline trainer, university lecturer, and doula. I fell in love with Montessori when I took my oldest daughter in a Montessori toddler program (17 years ago!). When I was able to observe the classroom, I was amazed at what toddlers are really capable of doing when given the opportunity and proper environment.
What other projects would you like people to know about? We are creating a series. After this first book on dressing/shoes and socks, we will release one on toilet awareness and brushing hair/teeth. We are also working on one for toddlers expecting a new sibling. We are excited about all of these projects!
How can people contact you? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
What else would you like to share? I could not have done this without the help of my photographer Sara Coffin and her family. She has been so gracious with her time and home, and believes in the project. She understood just what I was looking for and has made great suggestions. We want to create books with simple stories that toddlers can relate to, that include photos of real people and objects, and help them to learn about their world. These books are designed for concrete thinkers; for children in the unconscious absorbent mind stage of development. Montessori Board Books are created to build language and pre literacy skills. And also promote and inspire independence and self care skills. I included tips for caregivers, so that they are able to prepare the environment for independence and facilitate the tasks of self care.