Momentum is a captivating historical fiction novel offering a glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman, Dr. Maria Montessori, who was born in Chiaravalle, Italy, and grew up in a time when girls went uneducated. From an early age, Maria defied societal norms, becoming one of the first female doctors in Italy and going on to revolutionize education with a method that has spread around the world.
Taking its bones from a real diary written by Dr. Montessori in 1913 chronicling her first voyage to America, Momentum is a fictionalized retelling of that same voyage. Told from Maria’s perspective and written directly to her son to illuminate a complicated inheritance, the novel explores how she came to send her son—born out of wedlock in 1898—to be raised by others while she concentrated on her work.
Momentum builds on the tradition of historical fiction novels, like Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network, that celebrate the lives of trailblazing women. Dr. Montessori’s own telling of events barely written about in biographies reveals what led to the decisions she made, the cultural implications, and her feelings about those choices, and provides an inspiring portrait of a woman who overcame countless obstacles to reform education and brings recognition to both the unlimited potential of every child and their role in changing the world.
Women ahead of their time were often dismissed, criticized or punished. They had to be confident, determined and connected to a sense of their life purpose. Dr. Maria Montessori was all of these and more- as a courageous pioneer she advocated for the rights of women and children across the span of her life, fiercely protecting her own right to speak, create and publish. Born in 1870, she became one of the first female physicians in Italy and went on to develop a unique method of education which continues to thrive with now upwards of 22,000 Montessori schools serving children worldwide.
What sacrifices did she make in order to accomplish all this?
Momentum: Montessori, a Life in Motion is a historical fiction novel that explores the choices Montessori made in the early part of her career. Based on her actual diary from her first voyage to America in 1913, Momentum reimagines that diary as a letter. The first person narrative reveals aspects of Montessori’s life that have been written about very little and bring forward the enormous conflict women have faced throughout history. This fictionalized telling explores Montessori’s toughest choice.
Meet Elizabeth G. Slade
Elizabeth G. Slade is an educator, artist and the author of Momentum: Montessori, a Life in Motion, Rest Stops, a coming of age novel that won the Next Generation Indie Book Award in 2012, and Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools, which came out in 2021 from John Wiley & Sons. Elizabeth has also worked with others to create books such as Women Period. and How to Raise a Peaceful Child in a Violent World.
In addition to writing, Elizabeth serves as the Executive Director of Public Montessori in Action International, an organization committed to ensuring fully-implemented Montessori education for children, families, and educators of the global majority. Elizabeth earned her AMI Elementary Diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute, her AMS Administrative Credential at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Studies, and her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Spalding University.