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Classic art meets the 21st century

Fine art can be boring for kids, but nothing is boring when it's about you.

Discover twelve of history's greatest painters, brought back to life by the magic of AI.

Photo of Vilde's art book (copyright: Mie Mari Rusdal)

It's not often we come across a new idea that seriously impresses us, but these personalised art books really do. We were lucky enough to be contacted by the creator of these little gems Tom Ryan, and he kindly allowed us to try them out with our own children.

"THAT'S ME", Vilde (4 years old) exclaimed when she saw this AMAZING art history book. You upload photos of the child, and the AI algorithm learns their features, and twelve portraits in the styles of different artists are created. The book links everything together with facts which are fun and easy to read. Highly recommended! The spirit of the child is captured so well, and you can see their personality in each art piece.

Meet the creator

Tom is a fellow Montessorian. He's AMI-trained in 3-6 education and father to two young children aged 5 and 2 years old. I asked him a few questions to get to know him better:

1) Tell us a bit about yourself and your Montessori experiences?

I first discovered Montessori in 2008 when I was living in north London. I was a bit obsessed with languages, and I wanted to explore how the experts learn languages – that is to say, how children do it – by spending time with them. My quest led to an AMI 3-6 Assistant diploma.

I was so impressed by the focus on independence: “help me to do it myself”.

Now that I have kids of my own, it’s wonderful to have been involved in Montessori. Hearing young kids get up and make themselves breakfast is such a lovely way to wake up.

Photo of creator / author Tom Ryan with his children Minnie Mensje 3 and Aldo 5 (copyright: Tom Ryan)

2) What was the inspiration for creating the book?

I had been looking for a project for a couple of years. After playing with Artificial Intelligence (AI) art for a while last year, I awoke in the middle of the night with an idea: personalised picture-books that actually look like the reader. I thought everyone could enjoy this, and especially kids who can’t yet read.

At first, I intended to do fiction and to have AI involved in the writing process, but I quickly pivoted to nonfiction and to writing it myself.

Some people don’t like nonfiction for kids, but Montessori folks appreciate it right away.

3) What do you hope children will get out of the book?

I have three goals with Selfarama. First, by making the reader central, I want to validate the joy of selfhood: “I’m me, and I’m glad I’m me!”

Second, I’d like to show kids that weirdness can work wonders, and reduce the fear of stigma and isolation that sometimes holds us back from risky creativity.

Finally, with the Art History book in particular, I want to make a dry subject fun and accessible. It’s so cute seeing kids engage with art, discussing their interpretations and then expressing new things in their own work.

Page from Rémi's book (copyright: Jude Saffron)

The books have been a huge hit with our children Rémi (age 6) and Vilde (age 4). Seeing yourself rendered into the style of famous artists is definitely engaging. It's great how the book includes a diverse range of artists too. You get 30 pages, 12 original portraits included in a quality hardcover book.

Page from Rémi's book (copyright: Jude Saffron)

You can find out more by going to the website. You can also enjoy 10% off right now. So if you're thinking about future birthdays or Christmas, then get you orders in now. You won't regret it.

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