The other day, Mushroom looked at our homeschool shelves and complained that we don’t have any books about money. So, to the library we went to rectify the situation!
We got some good options. We started with Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst. I love the Alexander books. I also just find them fun to read aloud because every single one of them allows you to do your best angry, put upon, why me voice. After reading this one once, I pulled out a lot of change and as Alexander loses, spends and gets fined out of every cent in his precious dollar, we took Alexander’s fortune away and watched it dwindle. Goodbye fifteen cents!
We also found a nice title by Loreen Leedy, who is the author of many wonderful math concept picture books for elementary school. Follow the Money traces the path a single quarter takes over time with cute illustrations. This wasn’t my favorite Loreen Leedy title, but all of her stuff is excellent.
We got two more from the nonfiction section. First, Making Cents by Elizabeth Keeler Robinson and illustrated by Bob McMahon told the tale of a group of kids who want to build a huge clubhouse. They need to raise a lot of money and they begin by finding a penny and work their way up to various other kid business ventures like walking dogs and holding a yard sale. Each time they add money, it goes up by one denomination and you get to see what each amount would buy. The penny buys a penny nail, but a nickel buys five penny nails or one wood screw, and so forth. This was a great idea for a story, but I wish that the illustrations had continued to show the number of nails, screws, sandpaper squares, etc. get bigger and bigger. The page where the kids earn a dollar shows a hundred nails, but beginning with the page with five dollars, it simply tells you 500 nails and shows a single nail, which is less impactful and hard for a kid to visualize or understand. I’m sure it could have been done by shrinking down the images or showing a huge pile of some of the items. The second book was Smart About Money: A Rich History by Jon Anderson. This one reminded me of an Usborne book because it had little cartoons and asides as it told just a few snippets of history and fun facts about money. Mushroom was especially drawn to that one.
One more book that was sadly not in at the library was If You Made a Million by David Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. I love trying to introduce big numbers. David Schwartz has written a number of these books about the number one million and all of them are excellent. Because Steven Kellogg has illustrated so many titles (not to mention that we saw him speak and draw at last year’s National Book Festival), Mushroom and BalletBoy always greet his books with enthusiasm and recognition of his style.
I have a million more thoughts about teaching about money and what to do with play money and whether we’ll ever get allowances to work, but I’ll save those for another post.