As a proud parent of three children, I've read many, many, many children's books over the last decade. Some were wonderful, while others were completely forgettable. Some taught valuable lessons, while others seemed to teach nothing at all.
Over time, we used the library to check out hundreds of books, with the ones the children enjoyed (and the parents valued in terms of the lessons taught) finding their way onto our bookshelf.
It is worth noting that no book will single-handedly transform your child into a financial genius. These books focus more on a good story and the love of reading above all else, with financial lessons taught through the actions of the characters and the experiences they share. Good children's literature makes a story come to life for the reader, while teaching lessons and being highly entertaining.
Here are five books that teach valuable money lessons and remain favorites of our children.
1. "Lemonade in Winter" by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas focuses on two siblings who make the interesting choice to open a lemonade stand in the middle of winter. The book features a catchy refrain about lemonade while telling a story about how sometimes great ideas don't turn out like you hope.
"Lemonade in Winter" teaches the very basics of entrepreneurship and a small amount of basic math.
Age range: 2 to 7 year olds
2. "Bunny Money" by Rosemary Wells is a "Max and Ruby" story, as it centers around a pair of bunny siblings familiar to most parents of young children today. In this story, Ruby has saved $100 to buy her grandmother a birthday present, but various unexpected events befall Ruby and Max, causing some of that money to disappear. Will they have enough to buy the gifts for grandmother?
"Bunny Money" teaches basic money math, such as addition and subtraction, as well as the idea of a budget and how emergencies can tear through your money. Age range: 3 to 7 year olds
3. "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" by Simms Taback tells the story of a frugal man who has a nice overcoat, but he wears it a lot and it begins to wear out. Eventually, he reuses the material to make a jacket, then a vest, then various other things until it becomes a cloth button. The book won a Caldecott Medal for its wonderful drawings which not only bring Joseph's world to life, but also clearly show how the material from Joseph's overcoat is reused to make other things.
"Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" teaches frugality and the idea of reusing things, because even items that are worn out can still have valuable use. Age range: 3 to 8 year olds
4. "Annie's Adventures" by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the first in an ongoing series called "The Sisters 8" about orphaned octuplet girls whose parents disappear. In this volume, the titular Annie ends up having to figure out their parents' financial situation, including how to write checks, interpret bills and eventually pay for all of it. It's a gentle and humorous introduction into the reality of adult finances couched in an enjoyable, simple adventure.
"Annie's Adventures" teaches the basics of earning money and paying bills, including the use of checks. There are also elements (in this book and the rest of the series) of entrepreneurship, frugality and money management decisions. Age range: 6 to 12 year olds
5. "The Lemonade War" by Jacqueline Davies is the first in a series about two siblings who open up competing lemonade stands. The story escalates as the siblings use their skills and a few ideas about entrepreneurship to drive their "lemonade war" to amusing heights.
"The Lemonade War" teaches the basics of entrepreneurship, planning and money management in the context of an enjoyable adventure story that hits upon the lives of upper elementary children. Age range: 8 to 12 year olds
See more recommended money books for kids here.
Trent Hamm is the founder of the personal finance website TheSimpleDollar.com, which provides consumers with resources and tools to make informed financial decisions.
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