It can take a lifetime to become adept at managing our personal finances, but the time to begin this process is when children are young. These books about financial literacy use stories to teach about earning, saving, and spending.
“Pretty Penny Makes Ends Meet” by Devon Kinch, 2013, Random House, ages 4-7.
A broken window, an overflowing wash machine, and a flooded basement all leave Penny’s grandmother over budget for the month’s house repairs. Penny wants to help, so she and her friend Iggy make and sell jewelry, earning enough in profits to pay for half of the basement flooding bill. Grandma Bunny is proud of Penny for her ingenuity. Throughout this picture storybook, readers are introduced to financial terms, such as budget, repair costs, and profit, all on a simple scale.
“Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire” by Sundee T. Frazier, 2016, Scholastic, 213 pages, ages 9-12.
Cleo Oliver has big plans for her future: business owner, community leader, millionaire. For Cleo, that future is now. As a fifth grader, she has already started several small businesses, but her next venture, Cleo’s Quick and Painless Tooth Removal Service, has the potential to make it big. But Cleo soon realizes the effort it takes to be successful comes at a price to her friendships and relationships with her family.
“The Short Seller” by Elissa Brent Weissman, 2013, Antheneum Books, 251 pages, ages 9-13.
Lindsey is not good at math in school, but she discovers a knack for business during a time when she is sick, bored and home from school for several weeks. Before she knows it, the head of the Security Exchange Commission wants to know how a seventh grader could negotiate the buying and selling of stock online, on her own, and make money doing it. In fact, Lindsey’s parents, friends, and those around the world who have seen her story in the news want to know the same thing. Lindsey and her father must answer for her budding financial success, and in the meantime, she learns lessons about honesty, friendship, and family support. A glossary in the back of the book defines stock trading terms in kid-friendly language.
“Billy Sure, Kid Entrepreneur” Luke Sharpe, Illustrations by Graham Ross, 2015, Simon Spotlight, 147 pages, ages 8-11.
Billy Sure is the CEO of Sure Things, Inc. and a 12-year-old inventor of the All Ball, a ball that changes into a football, basketball, soccer ball, and any other ball with the click of a remote. Billy is at the top of his game, as long as no one discovers his secret. When Billy feels pressure to invent the next great thing, he seeks ideas from people around the world. Billy faces the tough challenge of helping someone else’s dream come true, while also holding on to his own dreams. The Billy Sure series of 10 books promote the creative thinking and entrepreneurship of kids, who like Billy, have great ideas but are not quite sure how to turn these into a reality.
“The Bullies of Wall Street” by Sheila Bair, 2015, Simon & Schuster, 256 pages, ages 12 and up.
Sheila Bair became the chairperson of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2006, shortly before the 2008 financial crisis. This informational book gives a first-hand look at the risky banking practices that led up to this crisis. Bair begins the book with stories of six children and their families as they struggled to make ends meet during the difficult financial times. Each story is accompanied by an explanation of the connections between the family’s struggles and the financial issues facing the country at large during this time. Part two of the book gives a refreshingly honest glimpse at the national banking leaders and their decisions between 2006 and 2011 that brought about and attempted to correct the financial crisis.