Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Reading: Books for Kids & Teens about Money

The lazy, hot days of summer are a great time for kids and teens to explore some great books.  Here are four reviews of books, two for kids and two for teens, that can initiate excellent conversations about money and entrepreneurship.

Books for Young Kids:

Olivia Opens a Lemonade Stand adapted by Kama Einhorn

Olivia is a cute little pig who decides to open her own lemonade stand on a hot summer day.  Her day is filled with recipe problems and competition from a neighbor.  Olivia and her friends become creative and adventurous to solve their lemonade dilemma. This is a perfect book for young, beginning entrepreneurs.  Some questions to discuss with your child:
  1. Why do you think Olivia wanted to open a lemonade stand?
  2. What problems did Olivia encounter and how did she solve them?
  3. What do you think Olivia will do the next day?

Alexander’s grandparents gave him a dollar on Sunday and he thought he was the richest kid in the world.  He really, really wants to save his dollar for walkie talkies, but life (and brothers!) keep getting in the way.  Can he resist the urge to spend?  Judith Viorst has captured the essence of a young boy perfectly.  The temptations and impulses are absolutely realistic.  Some questions to discuss with your child:
  1. Do you think Alexander was happy with his choices at the end of the week?  Why or why not?
  2. What mistakes did Alexander make?
  3. What could Alexander have done differently with his money?
  4. Have you ever been tempted to buy something and then regretted the choice you made?

Books for Teens:
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

LaVaughn is a 14 year old, inner city girl who needs a job to save money for college.  She answers an ad for a babysitter and begins working for Jolly, a 17 year old, single mother of two who is just trying to survive.  This book is a bittersweet story of how two teen girls help each other and learn to “make lemonade”.

Make Lemonade deals with the real life issues of poverty, teen parenting, budgeting, paying bills, employment and the importance of education.  Even with the seriousness of the story line, Wolf is able to leave the reader with a sense of hope and optimism.  Some of the main money concepts that can be discussed are:
  1. When should you start saving for college?
  2. What is more important -- employment or education?
  3. Should LaVaughn have looked for a job that was more reliable?
  4. What was the biggest thing that made a difference in Jolly's life?

My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald

Lucy Desberg is a 7th grade girl who lives with her mother and grandmother.  The family owns a pharmacy in their small town.  The pharmacy is in danger of closing because they are having a hard time competing with the large department stores.  Lucy begins doing makeovers on some of the local teens and actually brings in a lot of business.  However, her mother and grandmother don’t take her actions seriously.  Lucy takes it upon herself to save the family business by applying  for a “green business” grant and looking for investors.  Discussion questions can include:  
  1. Would you pay more for a "green" product?
  2. What skills or interests do you have that could be used to start a business?
  3. Who was the better business person --- Lucy's mother or grandmother?
  4. Could Lucy's mother have handled her money more efficiently?
What are some of your favorite books for kids or teens?


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