Friday, March 25, 2011

Using Children’s Books to Teach Money Concepts

Children’s literature is a fabulous resource for teaching your child money concepts or initiating money conversations between you and your child.  In this first installment of book reviews, I will discuss two books that are favorites of mine, Double Fudge by Judy Blume and Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary. 

Double Fudge by Judy Blume 

Pete is a 7th grade boy living in New York City with his family.  When his 5 year old brother, Fudge, discovers money, a series of adventures begins.  Fudge wants to buy New York City and is determined to create his own money in order to make it happen.  Fudge also has a shopping meltdown in a shoe store, tours the US Mint in Washington D.C. and breaks social protocol by asking everyone (and I mean, everyone) how much money they have.  This is a charming, light-hearted look at a child’s introduction to the world of money.

Age Range:
Independent readers:  ages 9+
Read Aloud by parents:  ages 6+

My thoughts:
Double Fudge is a funny story that grabs your attention from Chapter One.  Kids like the humor and antics of the characters.  The money concepts that are portrayed within the story are:
1.       Where does money come from? 
2.       Budgeting and making frugal choices
3.       The balance between doing favors for someone and getting paid for    jobs.
4.       Discussing money and finances with your children

My Favorite Line from the Book:
At the end of Chapter One, the mother says, “How did this happen to us?  We’ve always worked hard.  We spend carefully.  And we never talk about money in front of the children.”  Pete replies, “Maybe that’s the problem.”

Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary

Ramona is a precocious 2nd grade girl who is having a rough year.  Her father has lost his job and her mother has gone back to work full-time.  The family is showing the strain of a reduced income and change in family lifestyle.  Ramona wants to help by doing a TV commercial and getting paid a million dollars!  She also tackles the job of getting her father to quit smoking.

Age Range:
Independent Readers:  9+
Read Aloud by Parents:  7+

My thoughts:
This is a rare book in which the parent can learn from and enjoy the book as much as the kids!  Beverly Cleary is able to give us a glimpse inside the mind of a child and reminds us that even though our child’s actions may be exasperating, there are often good intentions behind the actions.  It is a timeless tale of a family pulling together in hard times but it is wrapped in humor and love.    The money concepts embedded in this story are:

1.       Budgeting
2.       Prioritizing daily expenses
3.       A child’s first exposure to peer pressure (Ramona just had to   have a sheep costume like her friend’s costume!)

My favorite line from the book:
Ramona’s father tells her, “Money is handy, but it isn’t everything.”

As a teacher and as a mother, I love to use books to teach skills and concepts.  It is a great way to grab your child's attention and initiate conversations that extend far beyond the actual story.  Do you have any favorite children's books that have money concepts embedded in the story?  Please comment and share with us.



  1. Getting these out of the library this week! Our boys are huge readers and I'm always on the lookout for books that help reinforce money lessons.

  2. Let me know how you and your boys like them. My 8 year old thought "Double Fudge" was hysterical! I have to admit....I chuckled a good bit too.

    I am currently reading a few books for older teens. More info soon!