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A Montessori-inspired mom and entrepreneur created “quiet books” to both teach and entertain. Read on for all the page-turning details.


In her book The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori wrote, “Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence,” and as entrepreneur Tarana Desai-Shah watched her daughter Isha grow up and play, she realized she had the opportunity to recreate a Montessori environment at home. “I wanted to raise my child by giving her freedom but within limits,” Desai-Shah says. “The idea was to support her need to grow independent and more confident.”

Desai-Shah began researching how to do this, and her research led to the concept of quiet books, intended to develop motor skills, increase concentration (hence the name ‘quiet book’), and visually engage the child. Quiet books were not readily available in Hong Kong, where Desai-Shah lives, so she made her own hand-sewn book for Isha with “materials and activities that would encourage her to do day-to-day tasks for herself, with the aim of encouraging her development and confidence.”

Desai-Shah decided to turn her pet project into a brand, and in June 2015 she launched Little Active Minds to try to reach as many children as possible with the concept of the quiet book. Little Active Minds specializes in personalized, handmade quiet books that develop children’s developmental skills through play and fosters independence when it comes to daily tasks and activities such as zipping up clothes, lacing shoes, buckling a belt, etc.

Little Active Minds Founder Tarana Desai-Shah.
Little Active Minds Founder Tarana Desai-Shah.

“The activities are structured so that the child is able to see the results of the work quickly and take pride in it,” Desai-Shah says. The quiet books also strengthen skills such as imaginative play, sorting, matching, and getting dressed (such as braiding and buttoning).

Ultimately, Desai-Shah hopes to bring Little Active Minds to the global platform. Little Active Minds is currently based in Hong Kong, but Desai-Shah caters to customers in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and the United States. Some customers from Hong Kong have also brought quiet books back to friends and family in places like the United Kingdom, Dubai, and Australia, so she’s on the way to achieving that goal.

In keeping with the core values of education and fostering independence, Little Active Minds has expanded to include felt calendars, canvas kitchens, doll houses, and more to foster imaginative role play. Desai-Shah hopes to expand the product line further to include a “one-stop shop” for parents to meet all the fun and learning needs for their active little ones.

To learn more about Little Active Minds, visit them on Facebook. To see a Little Active Minds quiet book in action, watch the video below.