AMS Book Club with Erica Moretti

Patricia Jennings with Her BookAMS Book Club with Erica Moretti

The AMS Book Club is designed to bring together members of the Montessori community to read and discuss thought-provoking literature, build connections with other educators, and grow from one another as we evolve in our learning journeys.

Erica Moretti, author of The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights will be hosting live discussions of her book for our Summer 2024 book club.

About the Book

The Best Weapon for Peace: Erica Moretti
The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children's Rights

The Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) is best known for the teaching method that bears her name. She was also a lifelong pacifist, although historians tend to consider her writings on this topic as secondary to her pedagogy. In The Best Weapon for Peace, Erica Moretti reframes Montessori’s pacifism as the foundation for her educational activism, emphasizing her vision of the classroom as a gateway to reshaping society. Montessori education offers a child-centered learning environment that cultivates students’ development as peaceful, curious, and resilient adults opposed to war and invested in societal reform.

Using newly discovered primary sources, Moretti examines Montessori’s lifelong pacifist work, including her ultimately unsuccessful push for the creation of the White Cross, a humanitarian organization for war-affected children. Moretti shows that Montessori’s educational theories and practices would come to define children's rights once adopted by influential international organizations, including the United Nations. She uncovers the significance of Montessori’s evolving philosophy of peace and early childhood education within broader conversations about internationalism and humanitarianism.


Please note: We invite you to join the book club, even if you cannot attend every session or fall behind on the reading. We welcome you to join the conversation.

Part I: Thursday, July 11, 3:00 PM (ET)

  • Chapter 1: Peace from Within
  • Chapter 2: The White Cross: Rehabilitating War-Stricken Children to Prevent War

Part II: Thursday, July 18, 3:00 PM (ET)

  • Chapter 3: Ending Conflict with Education: The 1917 Peace Lectures
  • Chapter 4: Montessori in Fascist Italy

Part III: Thursday, July 25, 3:00 PM (ET)

  • Chapter 5: Montessori’s First Public Lectures on Peace
  • Chapter 6: The Child as Agent of Radical Change: The Years in India
  • Conclusions: The Legacy of Montessori’s Pacifism