It's never too early to learn financial literacy! Check out these exciting and diverse titles.
Unfortunately, many of the books that we have come to rely on to teach money basics to young people don't fully reflect diversity and inclusion. Some titles may even reinforce negative stereotypes. Luckily, many new titles help prepare a new generation of young learners for a lifetime of financial decisions.
The following list of seven picture books avoid stereotypes; focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion; impart essential personal finance skills, knowledge, and behaviors; and do not skimp on fun and engaging storytelling.
>>Looking for more? These seven books are just a quick snippet of the full list of 40 titles taken from Thinking Money for All Kids: Diverse and Inclusive Reads to Teach Young People about Money, a free resource for library workers.>>
1. “A Bike Like Sergio’s” by Maribeth Boelts; Published by Candlewick Press
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money?
2. “Dirt Cheap” by Mark Hoffman; Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Birdie doesn’t know much about money. All she knows is that she wants a new soccer ball that costs $24.95. The fastest way to that $24.95 is going into sales, but what to sell? All her belongings? Not much of a market for those. Birdie needs something that she has in abundance and that everyone needs. So when she sees everyone in her neighborhood working on their yards, she realizes she’s hit pay dirt. Literally! Soon Birdie is raking in the dough, with profits of all varieties: quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, even dollar bills. Now she can buy that soccer ball, but does her business plan have any holes? An industrious tale about striking it rich.
3. "Thank you, Omu!" by Oge Mora; Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of tasting Omu’s delicious stew. One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.
4. “Tia Isa Wants a Car” by Meg Medina; Published by Candlewick Press
While Tía Isa wants to save money for a car that will take the whole family to the beach, her niece does odd jobs for neighbors. But it’s hard to save enough when half the money is set aside to someday bring family members who live far away to join them. Meg Medina’s simple, genuine story about keeping in mind those who are far away is written in lovely, lyrical prose and brought to life through Claudio Muñoz’s charming characters.
5. “A Boy, A Budget, and a Dream" by Jasmine Paul; Published by CreateFinstew LLC
Kass budgets her money carefully and expects her brother Joey to do the same. But Joey spends every dollar he earns. When he realizes he hasn’t saved enough money to pay for something he’s been dreaming about, Joey must either learn to budget or risk giving up his dream.
6. "Swap!" by Steve Light; Published by Candlewick Press
In a scalawag’s first tale of bartering, a young sailor sets out to help his captain repair his vessel. One button for three teacups. SWAP! Two teacups for four coils of rope. SWAP! And so it goes, until the little swashbuckler (completely undaunted by a disability) secures sails, anchors, a ship’s wheel, and more . . . including a happy friend. Steve Light’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations, punctuated by brilliant blue and other hues, anchor this clever tale of friendship and ingenuity.
7. "When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree" by Jamie Deenihan; Published by Sterling Children's Books
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget. But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.