Five Books to Help Teach Your Kids About Money

There are few things in the world that I like more than recommending books. I have, in fact, built up quite a reputation for this–some of my friends frequently text me “help, please!” from bookstores and libraries–so when JT asked if I’d be up for writing about some books that might help your kids understand money, I naturally agreed.

These books are not the be all end all of money. They’re not guide books, or self help books, or even “teach your kids how to run the best business at age 7!” books. (If you want something like that, you’re better off talking to JT about lemonade stands.) They are, however, varied in their approach–from saving to spending to entrepreneurship–and in addition to giving your kids a more social understanding of money, they’re fun.

1. A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

In addition to being a Caldecott Honor recipient Williams’ book covers the very real difficulty of both saving and good gifting. Rosa’s home is destroyed in a fire, but after working to save, Rosa and her family are able to use the money they save to buy a chair that they can all enjoy. 

(ages 4-7)

Williams’ book offers a small taste of both the difficulties and the successes of finance. The tenderness of Rosa and her family’s hard situation is happily balanced by their support and savings–including the fun of picking out just which chair is best for all of them.

2. You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert

 

 

Money is fun to figure out: whether that means playing with it, listening to it clink around as coins, or figuring out what you can use it to buy. Join Pete as he saves his allowance and learns how best to use it.

(ages 4-7)

Pete’s picture book adds a lighthearted note to talking about saving and spending. Dinosaurs, after all, make everything much cooler. Ziefert’s picture book also gives readers the chance to figure out how much money Pete has saved practice thinking about how to best spend what he has.

 

 

3. The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Brother and Sister do not understand how money works! They seem to think it comes in an endless supply. Join the Berenstains as they learn how to save, how to spend, and how to prioritize their money. 

(ages 3-6)

The Berenstain Bears have a book for just about everything, and money is no exception. (They’ve actually got two, but this is the one I grew up reading.) The familiar characters help broach a difficult subject: what does it mean that money doesn’t grow on trees? What happens if we treat it like it does? How do we change that?

 

4. The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

 

Sixth-grader Rufus didn’t plan to become a millionaire–he just wanted to save some money and figured he could make toothpaste for less than it cost to buy it. His small idea turns into a much bigger profit than he and his friend Kate imagined!

(ages 8-10)

Of all the books on this list, this is the one I most recommend when it comes to dealing with money (or just books for second and third graders in general). In fact, I recommended this book to JT’s oldest (Zuzzy) last summer and she loved it. Rufus is an entrepreneur: he has an idea, identifies a way to both save money and make money, and then ends up running a very successful business. The Toothpaste Millionaire is a great gateway to talking about how your kids can earn money creatively, how they can save money, and why they should bother doing either.

5. Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins

Not your average lemonade stand! Pauline and John-John are determined to make a lemonade stand during winter. But they’re not just selling lemonade–they’re selling limeade and lemon-limeade too! 

(ages 3-6)

Lemonade Stands aren’t just for summer if you’re Pauline and John-John. This book gives a close-up view of two entrepreneurial kids who are tackling a difficult market and learning to thrive. Lemonade in Winter gives your child a chance to practice counting money, teamwork, and perseverance in the face of some… icy odds, to say the least!

 

Bonus: Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

(ages 7-12)

While not strictly about money, the Encyclopedia Brown books–and there are many!–do follow the summer job of one Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, who charges $0.25 a day (plus expenses) for his services as a detective. Each book holds a handful of mysteries that your child can try to solve as Encyclopedia does. From local bullies to missing jewelry, Encyclopedia solves it all with the help of Sally, his bodyguard and crime-solving partner.

Ready to Teach Your Kids About Money for Real?

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12 Comments

  • Lauren Fortenberry July 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    My son loves “A Chair for My Mother”! It offers a great introduction to saving and, at least in our case, an icebreaker for financial discussion with our children. Thank you for sharing additional titles!

    Reply
    • JT July 3, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      You bet, Lauren! We are always asking Connor for book recommendations. I’m so glad she got to share her recs with others.

      Reply
  • joleisa July 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    As usual, another good read that’s purposeful and intentional! Your guest writer did a good job and even though I don’t have little ones any more, I would buy/recommend those books based on the information presented. Awesome post.
    Two questions though:
    Are these books available on Amazon?
    Why aren’t there affiliate links?
    Because I would definitely buy at least one.

    Reply
    • JT July 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks Joleisa! That’s a great suggestion about the affiliate links. I’ll work on putting them up wihen I find my Amazon login!

      Reply
  • Bernadette July 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    This is great. It’s scary how many young adults that don’t know much about personal finances. I have a few posts on how to save money too!

    Reply
    • JT July 3, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks Bernadette! Yeah, it’s a huge issue that we’re not addressing. I can’t wait to check out your posts on the subject!

      Reply
    • JT July 3, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks Paul!

      Reply
  • Sasha | Life's Carousel July 5, 2017 at 9:56 am

    So great book suggestions there!

    It’s so important as parents that we prepare our children for anything – including money management! Many young people have no idea how to manage their finances and end up in a horrible mess. But as parents it can be hard to know HOW to teach it. I’m definitely going to get the The Toothpaste Millionaire for my kids.

    Parenting is tough! We need all the help we can get!

    Reply
    • JT July 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Thank so for dropping by Sasha! So true about teaching your kids about money. My daughter loved Toothpaste Millionaire. Happy reading!

      Reply
  • MUSTARD SEED MONEY July 6, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    My kiddos are a bit small to really understand the concept of reading. But I can’t wait to teach them and set them up with a great foundation. I figure that’s the least I can do since schools don’t teach this aspect 🙂

    Reply
    • JT July 6, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      MSM, they’ll love those books! And growing up in your household? There’s no way they’ll be financially illiterate!

      Reply

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