Young children with chores and an allowance become very curious about money - how we print it, how it's earned, how we spend it, and why we have it. Below is a selection of books that will help young readers understand the fabulous world of money.
For more fun with money, check out the US Mints Website for Kids at www.usmint.gov/kids. Includes facts, history, and games as well as free lesson plans.
Young readers will learn all about being a bank teller from this informative book. Part of the "Community Helpers" series, this book explains what bank tellers do, where they work, the skills they need and the service they provide for the community. The text is large, easy-to-read print, and each page is accompanied by a color photograph. A hands-on "money memory" activity is included with step-by-step instructions. The game can easily be made at home or school and helps to reinforce addition and counting skills. A glossary of banking terms is included. This is a useful series to have in an elementary classroom or library, as children can explore careers from astronauts to zoo keepers. 2001, Bridgestone Books, $18.60. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Cheryl Peterson.
The Big Buck Adventure
Shelley Gill and Deborah Tobola
Illustrated by Grace Lin
With a crisp dollar bill clutched tightly in her hand, a little girl is overwhelmed by the choices the store offers. Should she buy three gummie bears for a quarter or one for a dime? There is a giant dill pickle for one shiny nickel or a slice of pie for the whole dollar. Over in pets, one dollar will buy three guppies or would she get more for her money with fleas that are three for a penny? With so many selections and so many mathematical computations, the frazzled shopper, pursued by sales people Ms. Penny, Miss Silver, Mr. Cash, and Mr. Buck, runs from the store with her dollar intact and resolves to pocket her buck for another day. The rollicking verse and delightful illustrations will draw readers into this engaging little book with its clever math problems. Great for one-on-one sharing or use in a classroom. 2000, Talewinds, $15.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey.
Bikes for Rent!
Illustrated by Chris Demarest
Lateef, a poor boy living in a western Nigeria village, works hard collecting firewood and mushrooms in the rain forest. He sells them in the marketplace so he can rent a beat-up bicycle to ride around the hills and jump potholes with his friends. However, he really wants to rent and ride the beautiful new red bike, but shopkeeper Babatunde is reluctant to rent his best vehicle to one who might mistreat it. Lateef finally earns his trust only to confirm the man's suspicions when he crashes it by taking a hill too fast and bending the frame and tires. But Lateef promises to work for Babatunde to pay off the damaged bike and in so doing, he learns a trade of putting together new bikes from old parts. Piece by piece, he earns his own, almost-new bike. Like Tololwa Mollel's My Rows and Piles of Coins (Clarion, 1999) set in Tanzania, this book extols the virtues of hard work and the joys of owning a bicycle. Demarest's watercolor illustrations are fresh, with bold, black, loosely lined shapes and a pleasant ochre, brown and green palette. The challenges of riding are sure to strike a chord with new bike riders; especially since mountain bikes and trail riding are so popular. Maybe the book will generate some cross-cultural identification, dealing, as it does, with the universal appeal of owning your own wheels. 2001, Orchard, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Susan Hepler.
Most publishers address the need for career titles at the beginning of middle school, but this series helps children in early elementary grades become familiar with what certain people do in their jobs. Presented in a simple, direct manner, children will learn about the duties of a cashier and the equipment a cashier uses to do the job. Readers will also learn how cashiers work together with other people in a store to become a team. Each title in this series, "Community Helpers," includes a project that children can do to help acquaint them with the job skills of this career. Children are instructed in setting up a lemonade stand, how to handle money and how to serve customers. A glossary is included with recommended Internet sites, reading suggestions and an index. This is an excellent series for the elementary classroom or media center. 2001, Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press, $18.60. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Joyce Rice.
The Coin Counting Book
Rozanne Lanczak Williams
One of the things that all children are aware of is money. Everyday of their lives they are exposed to coins. This unique book offers the young reader the opportunity to see the coins in detail and to appreciate their value. The book begins with counting pennies in relation to a nickel and then to a dime. Then nickels and dimes in relation to quarters; all denominations in relation to a fifty cent piece; and finally how many coins does it take to make a dollar. Every option for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters is illustrated in words and numbers. The coins are written in words and numbers next to their "realistic" portrayal. The end of the book puts the coins in vertical stacks with their value. This book is a good way to introduce simple math to children. To make the book even more appealing, it is written in rhyme. I would recommend this as a good tool for elementary teachers. 2001, Charlesbridge Publishing, $6.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Karen Werner.
The Cool Crazy Crickets to the Rescue!
Illustrated by Paul Meisel
The four members of the Cool Crazy Crickets are eager to earn money since they have ruled against dues. So they take on babysitting, which turns out to be tougher than they thought. They try selling lemonade and pet-walking Tiny, a huge Irish wolfhound, who goes crazy when a strange, one-eyed cat appears in the neighborhood. The club mascot, Noodles the dog, saves the day by chasing the cat away. The club is about to decide how to spend their saved money when the one-eyed cat turns up sick in their clubhouse. They do the right thing--offer a vet fourteen dollars to cure the cat, who then becomes a mascot for the mascot, Noodles, and because the cat is a keeper, that's what they name her. This four-chapter book, a sequel to The Cool Crazy Crickets, is just right for readers who have mastered the I-Can-Read level of Henry and Mudge books and are ready for a little more text. Pictures on every page lighten the task, the children behave and talk like real kids, it is clearly a multicultural, middle-class neighborhood, and the theme is kid-worthy. On the subject of moneymaking, check out Owen Foote, Money Man, which invites slightly older readers to consider some of the same dilemmas on a different level. The "Cool Crazy Crickets" series is just right for first and second graders--with themes and choices worth discussing in small, assisted reading groups. 2001, Candlewick Press, $13.99 and $4.50. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Susan Hepler.
A Dollar for Penny
Illustrated by Joy Allen
Penny's lemonade stand is doing a booming business in this delightful book, which is designed to help children begin reading and solving basic math problems. The upbeat rhyming text and exuberant illustrations will engage and delight young children. When Penny begins selling lemonade, she charges one cent. As the day goes on, she increases the price to a nickel, a dime, a quarter, and then fifty cents. Her total profit is one dollar, which she uses to buy her mother a birthday card. The illustrations clearly show what each coin denomination looks like and its value. At the back of the book there is a chart showing how many pennies equal one nickel, how many nickels equal one dime, and so on. This book is part of the "Step into Reading + Math" series. 2000, Random House, $11.99 and $3.99. Ages 4 to 6. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati.
Growing Money: A Complete and Completely Updated Investing Guide for Kids
Illustrations by Stephen Lewis
In this junior Economics 101, everything from the origin of pygg (piggy) banks to investing in stocks and mutual funds is carefully explained and defined. For parents who want their kids to learn how to stretch their allowances or teachers who want to introduce money thinking to a math or social studies class, Karlitz's book comes with Kiplinger, Wall Street Journal, and CBS MarketWatch recommendations. Holding a fistful of imaginary dollars, young, would-be millionaires try their hands at saving and investing and come away with lots of financial savvy — even to discovering their own unique investment personality. Precocious stock exchange players or those just plain curious about the green stuff will find helpful quizzes, word and quick-fact boxes, graphs, charts and entertaining cartoon illustrations about every aspect of its use. If kids read this book thoughtfully, the author's hope, stated in her introduction, that they have fun learning how to grow money, can't help but be realized. 2001 (orig. 1999), Price Stern Sloan/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $7.99. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Earlene Viano.
How to Make a Million
Illustrated by Judy Brown
Why is a dollar bill really worth anything at all? When you look at it, what you possess is only a greenish piece of paper with George Washington's picture on it. Therefore, how did pieces of paper and coins come to represent specific amounts of "face value?" This and many other intriguing questions about money are presented in this selection from the "How To" series published by Franklin Watts. In this illustrated look at money, its origins and its pursuit, Rowland Morgan takes the reader into the sometimes-confusing world of fiduciary matters. Morgan details how societies came to value specific currencies rather than remaining barter systems. Coinage across the globe is described with particular attention to the money systems used in countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Japan and Germany. The author also provides a humorous look at legal and illegal ways of becoming a millionaire. Presented in an informative, yet tongue- in-cheek manner, this book will offer readers a sturdy introduction to the world of currency. It is a fine selection for readers with an interest in capitalism and wealth in general. 2001, Franklin Watts, $14.00 and $4.95. Ages 9 to 13. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck.
Money Power Discovery Library
TThis brand new six book series has been designed to explain to kids what money is, its history and how it is made and how it is used. While it has a primarily American focus, it does discuss and describe money from other parts of the world including the most recent monetary system--the Euro. Why did people around the world develop currency systems? Bartering was the main form of exchanging goods, but it became unwieldy and values were arbitrary. "People began to learn that having a constant, or standard, form of money was a good idea." The titles in the series are Money Through the Ages, Around the World with Money, American Coins and Bills, How Coins and Bills Are Made, Keeping Money Safe, and Paying Without Money. Each book contains a table of contents, bolded words that are defined in a glossary, more information section that includes books and Internet sites (in some books this section is quite skimpy). Illustrations which are spread throughout were not seen by this reviewer. 2002, Rourke, Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
Karen B. Spies
In Our Money, Karen Bornemann Spies focuses on American money from the wampum, shinplasters, and other legal tender of Colonial days to today's currency. She explains how coins and bills are minted/printed, circulated, sometimes counterfeited and, collected. Photographs illustrate her fine "I Know America" volume. 1992, Millbrook, $8.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Beverly Kobrin.
Karen Bornemann Spies
Photography by Tony Freman and Ginger Giles
Need to know more about money? You may find the answers here. Currency helps people trade one thing for another, but what did our ancestors do before money was invented? Bartering was very popular but it became impractical; for example, it became impossible when you wanted to "make change" for a cow. Learn about the first mint and why paper money appeared around 1775. Have you ever wondered what a "greenback" was? If you think "lettuce" is something only found in the produce section of your local grocery store, you'd better think again. This quick, easy-to-read book will give you a few new word meanings in our language and enlighten you with some good information. Part of the "I Know America" series. 2001, Millbrook Press, Ages 7 to 12, $23.90 and $9.95. Reviewer: Sharon Tolle
Piggy and Dad
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
An adorable pig named Charlie is the subject of this book, which teaches very young children about the value of saving money. This package consists of a book attached to the front part of a cardboard piggy bank. The story follows through every day of the week faced with options of how Charlie might spend his money. When Charlie can't decide among all his options he puts his money in his piggy bank. Charlie turns out to be a saver and generous- hearted because he decides to save his money to buy his friends birthday presents. 1999, Dutton, $9.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati.
Piggy and Dad
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
This charming set of four books is perfect for a beginning reader. The four books include Piggy's Bath, Piggy's Bedtime, Piggy's Pictures, and Piggy's Sandwich. Piggy is a young pig who is learning daily activities with his father. Dad makes a sandwich; Piggy learns to make a sandwich from watching dad. In Piggy's Pictures, piggy draws pictures and dad writes the name of the picture underneath. Piggy's Bath catalogues all of the toys necessary for taking a bath. Piggy's Bedtime shows dad reading a bedtime story to piggy, followed by a rousing pillow fight. Each page is composed of a large colorful picture and a simple sentence that demonstrate the action taking place. Depicting everyday activities, this set offers beginning readers easy and fun stories to help them learn the actions taking place in the pictures. Part of the "Brand New Readers" series. 2001, Candlewick Press, $4.99. Ages 4 to 6. Reviewer: Danielle Williams.
Rent Party Jazz
Illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
During the Depression in New Orleans, Sonny's mother loses her job and may not be able to play the rent. But Sonny persuades Smilin' Jack, an itinerant trumpet player, to be the music for a rent party. Neighbors come, bringing food to share, coins for the rent bucket and plenty of goodwill for dancing, talking and enjoying the music. An author's note explains how rent parties originated in the South in the 1920s and 1930s to raise money for those in need. The book's information and ending message about staying in school and "good folks helping each other" tend to overwhelm the story but readers will be rooting for Sonny and his Mama. Riley-Webb's impressionistic paintings are full of angles, movement, bright colors and liveliness; they lift the text with their energy. 2001, Lee & Low, $16.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Susan Hepler.
Almira Astudillo Gilles
Illustrated by Carl Angel
Willie is not happy; he has struck out in a baseball game and is still hurting from his classmate Stan's criticism. Dad is there and lends his support, ruffling Willie's hair and telling him that he is his favorite baseball player. When Willie gets home, he remembers that he is supposed to bring a bank to school for a lesson about earning money and saving. The student who earns the most gets tickets to the circus. His Dad, a native of the Philippines, brings out the special bank he was saving for Willie's birthday. It is a coconut shell with something very special in it that his dad received when he was a boy. Willie does accumulate the most money and his very special surprise even impresses his bullying classmate Stan. Willie happily goes home knowing that his Dad has really come through for him. A good story with a multicultural cast and one where the apparent single parent is Dad. 2001, Lee & Low, $16.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot.
Almira Astudillo Gilles
Illustrated by Carl Angel
A young boy and his dad share a common interest in baseball in Willie Wins. Sometimes, though, Willie gets tired of Dad's stories about playing as a kid in the Philippines with a bamboo bat and a rolled-up sock. When Dad gives him a Filipino coconut bank for a school project, Willie knows that he'll be teased. But the homely bank hides a wonderful baseball treasure. Almira Astudillo Gilles tells a warm-hearted, timeless story of struggle and connection between the generations. Carl Angel's colorful acrylics are a lovely accompaniment. 2001, Lee and Low, $16.00. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum.
The Young Investor
Katherine R. Bateman
Illustrations by Sean O'Neill
Seeing a need to educate her grandchildren about the investment process and teach the basics of our economy, Katherine Bateman decided to pull together what she learned over the years and develop this handbook. How to calculate interest earnings, saving and loan investments versus bank investments and your risk tolerance are the first issues covered. Expanding on this information is guidance about the market, how to read stock tables, finding a stockbroker, and picking a stock in which to invest your money. A young entrepreneur would enjoy this book and find the activities helpful. A glossary is included for easy reference as well as an index. 2001, Chicago Review Press, Ages 12 up, $13.95. Reviewer: Sharon Tolle
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