Today I’m writing about children’s books – specifically, books about money that is tailored to children. It is going to be a biased post because I am a self-confessed bookworm. I LOVE books! I can get lost and be absorbed in books for hours! In my first resume, reading books was at the top of my list of ‘Hobbies’. It remained there until my career counsellor told me that it conveyed a message to prospective employers that I am a loner and unable to communicate with other people. That was a big blow to a young, fragile mind.
My love for reading started when my cousin gave me a hardback version of Rainy Day Stories by Enid Blyton in Kindergarten. How I cherished that book – my first ever present and first ever book! I read and re-read that book. It was a treasured possession until I moved interstate as a 19-year old. I gave the book to my now mother-in-law for safe-keeping. Alas, it wasn’t as safe as I thought – when I returned a year later, the book (together with many other books I left behind) had been donated. I was devastated. That book ignited my love for reading and started my journey to discovering other Enid Blyton classics (remember The Secret Seven, Famous Five, Faraway Tree series?).
Storybooks have a way of evoking such emotions if you allow yourself to be absorbed in it. I have felt courage in adventure books, happiness at happy endings, but the strongest emotions for me are books about triumph emerging from struggles. I have shed many tears over fictitious characters and joy over their triumph. When I emerge from such books, I feel a deep longing for the story to be real, for the story to never end. (ironically, I’ve not yet read The Neverending Story, but I have watched the movie). Does anyone else feel this way?
I’m not sure if it’s a girl thing. I certainly see this in my daughter. She can be so absorbed in her book that when she’s finished, her demeanour changes somewhat (for the better!) as though she was deeply affected by the story. I don’t notice this same effect on my boys. The boys love stories – they listen attentively and with anticipation, but they don’t quite get as absorbed by it. At the end of the story, they do not sigh longingly nor do they talk about the book as deeply as my daughter or I would.
Books about money
My daughter’s favourite book about money is One Cent, Two Cent, Old Cent, New Cent. I think it’s because of her excitement for that book that my boys also liked the book – her enthusiasm rubbed off on them.
Most libraries have a copy. At our local library, if the book we want to borrow isn’t there, the library will request a book transfer from another library in the same network. If the library network doesn’t have a copy of the book at all, the library will usually buy the book and then notifies me that it is available for loan.
I love young children’s books – the pictures, graphics and colours are so vibrant and interesting. However, I would dearly love to find a book that is suitable for tweens. Tweens aren’t too thrilled with books in big writing and colourful pictures tailored for very young children. Non-fiction books about money aren’t all that interesting to a tween either. Something along the genre as Harry Potter would be the perfect fit. Perhaps I haven’t yet to find such book (if you know of any, let me know). Maybe money as a subject matter doesn’t lend itself to those types of chapter books. But I live in hope that one day, a creative author will write something!
Start a conversation with books about money
Books have so many morals and messages in them. Books teach concepts that are difficult to teach in the abstract (it feels too much like a lecture). They reinforce messages that adults want children to learn. Money concepts fall within both categories – some concepts are difficult to teach in the abstract. Many money concepts need to be reinforced and not always by practical examples. Books are the perfect tool for teaching money lessons.
If your child is a book lover, money books is a great conversation starter. Reading book reviews will shortcut the process of finding and selecting the right books for your children. Whether you read the books to your children or ask them to read it for themselves depends on your child’s age and reading ability. My daughter prefers to read the books herself, my boys prefer to be read to. Regardless of the approach you take, it’s always a good idea to read the books yourself too. They don’t take too long to read – the books are, after all, children’s books.
By reading the books, you know what is inside the book. When an opportunity presents itself to reinforce the message in the book, you already have a point of reference for the children. You can also be on the lookout to point out to your children the concepts discussed in the book.
What money books have your children read? Share with us in the comments.