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Childrens books can teach money lessons

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As parents stress over job losses and money issues, children may need lessons about money as well.

Shelly Barnes, Family and Consumer Science Extension agent with the University of Tennessee Extension, said that there’s never been a better time to provide children with books that help them understand the limitations of money and how they might need to sacrifice in hard times.

Below is a partial list of books that teach money lessons recommended by The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s award-winning program, “Money on the Bookshelf.” Interested parents will find more tips and information by visiting the program’s website at

Age 3 and up - Age 4 and up - Age 5 and up - Age 6 and up - Age 8 and up - Age 9 and up - Age 10 and up - Age 11 and up - Age 12 and up - Age 13 and up

Age 3 and up“Paddy’s Pay Day by Alexandra Day.” Penguin Group, 1989. 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.

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

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

“Ox-Cart Man” by Donald Hall. Scholastic Inc., 1979. 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.

“The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Random House, 1984. 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. 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. Brother and sister Bear spend money as soon as they get it. Mama and Papa Bear want the cubs to understand that there is more to know about money than just how to spend it.

Age 5 and up“A Bargain For Frances” by Russell Hoban. HarperCollins, 1970. 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.

“Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday” by Judith Viorst. Atheneum, 1978. 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.

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

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

“Money Trouble” by Bill Cosby. Illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood. Scholastic (1998). Little Bill wants to become famous by discovering a new comet, but first he needs a telescope. The telescope he wants costs $100 and he only has $47.87 in his football bank. Little Bill finds ways to earn money through jobs.

“No Time For Christmas” by Judy Delton. Carolrhoda, 1988. 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.

“The Cinnamon Hen’s Autumn Day” by Sandra Dutton. Atheneum, 1988. 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. A young girl cannot decide what to buy with her Hanukkah money. Her decision is touching and surprising.

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

“The Rag Coat” by Lauren A. Mills. Little Brown, 1991. 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.

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

“Lyddie” by Katherine Paterson, Lodestar Books, 1991. In the 1840s 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.

“Project Wheels” by Jacqueline Turner Banks. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. 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.

Age 10 and up“First Things First” by Kristi D. Holl. Atheneum, 1986. 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.

“Kid Power” by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Watts, 1977. 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. Janice’s summer business ends when school starts. She begins to miss the money she made. Find out what she does.

“Mall Mania” by Betsy Haynes. Bantam Skylark, 1991. Beth borrows a friend’s credit card and goes on a shopping spree at the mall. She gets deeply into debt and must find a way out.

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

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

Age 13 and up“Seventeen Against The Dealer” by Cynthia Voigt. Atheneum, 1989. 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. Sally’s business causes a client to lose money. She tries to find out why and is drawn into a complex plot.

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