Economics doesn’t sound like the most exciting subject in the world…until you read authors Debbie and Michael Shoulders’ newest picture book called M is for Money: An Economics Alphabet.
This is a big book of knowledge all rolled up into a small, kid-friendly package and it offers an A-to-Z lesson for young readers–and emerging spenders–that covers everything necessary to keep a country moving, including supply and demand, taxes, “scarcity” and free market trade.
Each “lesson” is written in a dual format; every letter comes with its own brief rhyme for children, and then is followed up with a detailed explanation of that segment of economics. For example, the book begins with the letter A, and reads:
If you grow a plentiful crop,
more than you’ll ever need,
your abundance can be traded
for meat, or tools, or feed.
This age-appropriate language makes the concept of abundance super-easy for children ages 8 to 11 to understand. Then it goes on to explain how early nomads hunted for food and eventually grew their own food and enough to provide food for other families in exchange for something they had. Of course, when families were no longer worried about where their food would come from, they happily settled in one place, and this encouraged the evolution of the community.
The book moves forward in both chronological (A to Z) and sequential (nomad families to communities) order. For example, after learning how communities form, young readers learn about early bartering systems and why money eventually had to replace bartering. They move on to supply (providing what’s needed) and demand (fluctuating prices depending upon how much of a product is available and how many people want it), the free market, providing goods and services, competition, natural and human resources, and even the housing market. There is even a section on household budgeting, earning an allowance, and deciding whether to save that allowance money or spend it on something the child wants, like pizza and a movie.
This is a comprehensive and extremely timely book that takes a detailed look at economics and makes it fun and understandable for even the youngest child. Artist Marty Kelley offers adorable illustrations of children operating lemonade and earthworm stands (yuck!), managing dog-walking services, and even haggling over exchanging fruits and desserts in the lunchroom.
Highly recommended for early and upper elementary school classrooms that want to start financial literacy courses as early as possible.
Best wishes and happy free markets,