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Staff Writer at Debt Reduction Services

Teaching Children About Money & Personal Finance

Here is a list of books that can help your child understand certain financial concepts. The books are in alphabetical order and age levels are provided for each book. If you know of any books you’d like included in this list please let us know in the comments section below.

childrens-books-on-shelvesA Bargain For Frances by Russell Hoban. HarperCollins, 1970. Age 5 and up. Frances saves and saves for a china tea set. Her friend Thelma tricks her into buying an old plastic tea set. Thelma says there are no “backsies” on the bargain. Frances finds a way to get what she really wants.

A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams. Greenwillow Books, 1982. Age 6 and up. A family loses all their furniture in a fire. They set a goal to buy a chair for their mother. Find out how the family, neighbors, and friends work together for success.

A Job For Jenny Archer by Ellen Conford. Little, Brown, 1988. Age 6 and up. Jenny wants to buy her Mom a fur coat. She tries many ways to earn money. Instead of a coat, Jenny finds the perfect gift in a most unlikely place.

A Quarter From The Tooth Fairy by Caren Holtzman. Scholastic Inc.,1995. Age 5 and up. A boy tries to figure out how to spend the money he got from the tooth fairy. This book has a note section in the front for adults and activities in the back for kids.

Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst. Atheneum, 1978. Age 5 and up. Alexander started the week as a rich young man. There are so many things he could do with a dollar. The money begins to slip away.

All The Money In The World by Bill Brittain. HarperCollins, 1979. Age 9 and up. A young boy’s wish for all the money in the world comes true. The boy finds out that having all the money in the world isn’t as fun as he thought.

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson. Crown, 1994. Age 5 and up. All the townspeople work in the orchards at harvest time. Anna sets a goal to pick a whole basket of apples herself.

Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown. Little, Brown, 1990. Age 6 and up. Arthur wants a pet. His parents doubt he can take care of one. Arthur starts a pet business to prove his parents wrong.

Bea And Mr. Jones by Am y Schwarz. Bradbury, 1982. Age 6 and up. Bea and her father switch places. He goes to school. She goes to work.

Ben Goes Into Business by Marilyn Hirsch. Holiday House, 1973. Age 6 and up. A boy in the early 1900’s makes 60 cents with a 10 cent investment at Coney Island.

Blue Denim Blues by Anne W . Smith. Atheneum, 1983. Age 10 and up. Shy Janet is good with children. She gets a job in day care. She learns about child abuse and overcomes her shyness.

Brothers by Florence B. Freedman. Harper and Row, 1985. Age 5 and up. Two brothers inherit their father’s land and split it evenly. Find out how they make their father’s wish come true.

Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day. Harper & Collins, 1989. Age 4 and up. A dog named Carl goes to the store with his master. He watches the baby while the master goes shopping. Carl cares for the baby as they explore different parts of the store.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, 1992 Age 8 and up. To thank old Eula for her wonderful chicken dinners, the children sell decorated eggs and buy her a beautiful Easter hat.

Credit-Card Carole by Sheila Klass. Scribner’s, 1987. Age 12 and up. Carole loves to shop. She runs up a huge credit-card bill. Find out how she takes care of it.

Curious George At The Laundromat by Margret Rey. Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Age 4 and up. George tries to use the washing machine and makes a mess.

Discovered! by Yvonne Green. Bantam, 1988. Age 13 and up. Kelly ends up getting into the world of modeling by accident. She finds out it is not all fun.

Erandis Braids by Antonio Hernández Madrigal. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1999). Age 6 and up. Erandi’s mother needs a new fishing net and also wants to buy Erandi her birthday gift, but is unable to due to their limited income. Erandi recognizes that her braids are valuable and makes a decision.

Finders, Keepers? by Elizabeth Crary. Parenting Press, 1987. Age 10 and up. What would you do if you found something? Finders of lost goods have choices.

First Things First by Kristi D. Holl. Atheneum, 1986. Age 10 and up. Shelly’s mom and dad can’t pay for summer camp this year. Shelly spends her summer earning money. She finds out what is important to her.

Gopher, Tanker And The Admiral by Shirley Climo. Crowell, 1984. Age 10 and up. Gopher wants to earn money to buy a bike. He decides to babysit for a crabby neighbor who has a broken leg. Together they solve a mystery.

How The Second Grade Got $8,205.50 To Visit The Statue Of Liberty by Nathan Zimelman. Whitman, 1992. Age 5 and up. The second-grade class finds out that earning money for a big trip is not as easy as it looks.

How To Get Fabulously Rich by Thomas Rockwell. Watts, 1990. Age 10 and up. Billy wins a lot of money. Everyone he knows wants some of the money. He wonders if winning was worth it.

It happened At Cecelia’s by Erika Tamar. Atheneum, 1989. Age 13 and up. Andy’s father is part-owner of a restaurant. Trouble starts when the mob tries to take over.

James Willis Makes a Million by K Wodke.  James Willis, a child of the 70’s, lives with his loving father and stern grandmother in a rundown old house. James knows he does not want to be poor all his life. He puts his ideas to work and starts his first business when he is only 8 years old. One thing is certain, James is not afraid to make his dreams come true.



Jason And The Money Tree by Sonia Levitan. Harcourt Brace, 1974. Age 11 and up. Jason plants a ten dollar bill. It grows into a money tree. He gets into some situations that help him learn about life.

Jefferson by Mary Frances Shura. Dodd, 1984. Age 9 and up. Jefferson’s family doesn’t have enough money to give him a birthday party. The neighborhood kids earn money for a party.

Jerome The Babysitter by Eileen Christelow. Clarion, 1985. Age 6 and up. Jerome goes on his first babysitting job. The kids play tricks on him. Jerome is surprised when he gets them all to bed.

Just Shopping With Mom by Mercer Mayer. Western, 1989. Age 4 and up. Mom shops with three youngsters. One has trouble accepting “no” for an answer.

Kid Power by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Watts, 1977. Age 10 and up. Janice has a summer business doing odd jobs. She ends up with more jobs than she can handle. She hires other kids to work for her.

Kid Power Strikes Back by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Watts, 1984. Age 10 and up. Janice’s summer business ends when school starts. She begins to miss the money she made. Find out what she does.

King Midas by Nathaniel Hawthorne. McGraw-Hill, 1959. All ages. This book is based on the Greek legend of King Midas. King Midas was a greedy king who wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. He got his wish, but found out that some things are more precious than gold.

Leo And Emily’s Zoo by Franz Brandenberg (1988) Age 6 and up. Leo and Emily set up their own zoo. They make people pay to get in. Things don’t go well. See who helps them out.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson, Lodestar Books, 1991. Age 9 and up. In the 1840’s a farm girl goes to the city to get a factory job. She works hard to earn money to pay off the debt on the family farm.

Mall Mania by Betsy Haynes. Bantam Skylark, 1991. Age 10 and up. Beth borrows a friend’s credit card and goes on a shopping spree at them all. She gets deeply into debt and must find a way out.

Mrs. Pirate by Nick Sharratt. Candlewick Press, 1994. Age 4 and up. Mrs. Pirate goes shopping. She buys items for the ship. This is a great book for children who are just starting to read.

My First Job by Julia Allen. Aro Publishing, 1987. Age 4 and up. A small boy is asked to perform his first household jobs. Dimes and feelings of success are his rewards.

My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M . Mollel. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Clarion Books (1999). Age 6 and up. Saruni saves money he receives from helping his m other work in the marketplace. His goal is to save enough money to buy a bicycle so that he can better help his mother carry food to the marketplace. He works and saves his money for a long time.

No Time For Christmas by Judy Delton. Carolrhoda, 1988. Age 6 and up. Two friends get jobs to buy each other Christmas presents. One works nights and the other works days. They don’t see each other anymore.

Not So Fast Songololo by Niki Daly. Atheneum, 1985. Age 5 and up. A young boy goes with his grandmother to the busy city. He helps her do her shopping. Before they leave, she gets him a nice surprise.

Oliver Dibbs To The Rescue by Barbara Steiner. Four Winds, 1985. Age 10 and up. Oliver and his brother think about ways to earn money. They want to use the money to help protect animals.

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall. Scholastic Inc., 1979. Age 4 and up. A farm family uses their time and energy and talents to grow or make almost everything they need. They also grow or make extra things to take to market and sell.

Paddy’s Pay Day by Alexandra Day. Penguin Group, 1989. Age 3 and up. Paddy is a dog who does circus acts. On his day off, he goes shopping. You can tell what’s important to Paddy by what he buys with the money he earned.

Peace Begins With You by Katherine Scholes. Little, Brown, 1989. All ages. This book explains peace in simple terms. It looks at how conflicts start and how they can be avoided.

Pedritos Day by Luis Garay. Illustrated by Monica Hughes. Orchard’s Books (1997). Age 6 and up. Pedrito works to make money to buy a bicycle to help his mother at the marketplace. He helps his aunt with work, but makes a mistake and looses her money. He then finds a way to fix his mistake.

Project Wheels by Jacqueline Turner Banks. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Age 9 and up. Angela and her friends raise money. They want to help a classmate buy a wheelchair. Angela begins to see that she and her friends are growing up.

Seventeen Against The Dealer by Cynthia Voigt. Atheneum, 1989. Age 13 and up. Dicey uses her money to open a boat shop. When she tries to build her own boat, she ends up in situations she never imagined.

Shadow In The North by Philip Pullman. Knopf, 1988. Age 13 and up. Sally’s business causes a client to lose money. She tries to find out why and is drawn into a complex plot.

Sheep In A Shop by Nancy Shaw. Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Age 4 and up. Some sheep go shopping for a birthday gift. They find out they do not have enough money to pay for it. They decided to solve their problem by trading.

Something Good by Robert Munsch. Annick Press Ltd., 1990 Age 6 and up. Tyya tries and tries to get her father to buy “something good” at the grocery store. After some trouble, Tyya’s father buys her for $29.95.

Something Special For Me by Vera B. Williams. Greenwillow Books, 1983. Age 5 and up. Rosa can’t make up her mind. After a long day of shopping, she finally finds the gift she wants.

The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Scholastic, 1876. Age 9 and up. In the second chapter, Tom gets out of the boring job of whitewashing the fence. He finds a way to get every boy in town to do it for him.

The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Random House, 1984. Age 4 and up. When Mama becomes a “business bear,” the way work gets done around the house changes. Other members of the Bear family discover how to help more.

The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmes by Jan and Stan Berenstain. Random House, 1988. Age 4 and up. Can Mama and Papa Bear find a way to keep the cubs from begging at the store?

The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money by Jan and Stan Berenstain. Random House, 1983. Age 4 and up. Brother and sister Bear spend money as soon as they get it. Mama and Papa Bear want the cubs to understand that there is m ore to know about money than just how to spend it.

The Cinnamon Hen’s Autumn Day by Sandra Dutton. Atheneum, 1988. Age 6 and up. Is it more fun to rake your own leaves or have Mr. Rabbit’s lawn service do it for you?

The Gift by Aliana Brodmann. Simon and Schuster, 1993. Age 6 and up. A young girl cannot decide what to buy with her Hanukkah money. Her decision is touching and surprising.

The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry was originally published by Doubleday in 1906 but can now be found in almost any collection of O. Henry short stories. All ages. This is a classic tale of love, giving and sacrifice.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Harper and Row, 1964. All ages. This is a sensitive tale of giving (and taking) until there is no more to give – or so it seems.

The Gold Coin by Alma F. Ada. Atheneum, 1991. Age 5 and up. This is a picture book based on a Spanish folk tale. Juan is a thief who wants to steal Doña Josefa’s gold coin. As he travels to find her, he meets farmers and villagers who need his help with their chores. By the times he finds Doña Josefa, he has found another type of treasure. Find out what treasure Juan finds.

The Purse by Kathy Caple. Houghton Mifflin, 1986. Age 5 and up. Katie loves the noise her savings make in her Band-Aid box. She spends her savings on a new purse and throws away her Band-Aid box. Now she has no noise and no money.

The Rag Coat by Lauren A. Mills. Little Brown, 1991 Age 8 and up. Minna proudly wears her new coat of clothing scraps to school, where the other children laugh at her until she tells them the stories behind the scraps.

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill. Houghton Mifflin, 1972. Age 10 and up. Rufus makes his own toothpaste. He starts selling it and makes money. His friends help him make his business something great.

The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1978. All ages. This story is based on an old Hebrew folk tale. Follow Isaac as his dream s lead him on a treasure hunt in the city. He finds no treasure until he returns home.

Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazen. Viking Press, 1979. Age 5 and up. David learns about “tight times” and making hard decisions.

Tom And Annie Go Shopping by Barry Smith. Houghton Mifflin,1988.Age 3 and up. Tom and Annie go shopping for a lot of items. This book asks you to find the items on the shelves. Shopping isn’t as easy as it looks.

Tybee Trimble’s Hard Times by Lila Perl. Clarion, 1984. Age 9 and up. Tybee wants to go to the circus, but there’s no extra money. Should she go alone if she earns the money for a ticket?

Working Cotton by Shirley Anne Wilson. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992. Age 4 and up. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to pick cotton? This book is about a day in the life of a family who work together in the cotton fields.

As always, if you have any questions, would like to discuss your financial challenges, or are just looking for advice, please call us at your convenience. As always, we are here to help and look forward to hearing from you.

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So if you need more information regarding how you can teach your children about money or have any suggestions of books you’d like seen added to the list above, or even about your personal finances, please feel free to comment below and we’ll get back on and answer as fast as we can!

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  1. Rick Munster

    I’m happy to mention the Parenting Press’s Decision is Yours Series.

    In my opinion your publications serve parents and children well. Your resources for educators, counselors and parents are great. I’ve had a chance to take a look at your website parentingpress.com and am impressed by the range of topics available.

  2. Linda Carlson, Parenting Press

    Rick, so glad you’re mentioning Parenting Press’s Decision Is Yours series! We discuss finances in other publications, too. For example, our monthly “News for Parents,” a complimentary electronic publications, will cover using grocery ads and coupons to get the best, and most appropriate, buys for food banks in the November issue (parentingpress.com/ezine.html). We’ve also featured the Federal Reserve’s informative comic books. In January the newsletter will discuss fraud, and what parents should tell their children.

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