New from YES and compiled by Lynne Stover, nationally recognized authority on economics in children’s literature
New children’s books containing strong economic content
The titles below represent newly published children’s books that feature strong economic and personal finance content. Introducing students to economic concepts found in literature encourages them to realize that fictional characters, just like them, also deal with issues such as decision-making, scarcity and opportunity cost.
Below you will find a quick reference guide that includes the basic information about the featured titles.
Links to lessons, activities, and other current resources associated with each title are located below the reference guide. This information will be updated as needed.
At the bottom is a “working” bibliography. It includes titles that show promise and are worth investigating. Many of these will likely appear on the Reference Guide in the future.
Quick Reference Guide
Sloth & Squirrel in a Pickle by Cathy Ballou: Kids Can Press, 2021.
Sloth & Squirrel in a Pickle is funny and full of life-lessons as well as economic content.
The provided document features three stand-alone lessons that can be taught independently or as an instructional unit. They were developed for elementary classroom teachers but can be modified for use by resource teachers such as reading specialists, English as a second language instructors, librarians, and gifted education educators.
Concepts include: human capital, producers & consumers, and specialization.
Get the full unit as a .PDF file: Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle K-3 Lessons
Bunnyland Unit based on books by Cinder McLeod: Penguin, 2019-2021.
Get the full unit as a .PDF file: Bunnyland Unit
Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler: Penguin, 2019
Brief synopsis: During the Great Depression six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother find a tarpaper shack in the woods and, over the course of a year, turn it into a home. Based on the author’s grandmother’s childhood; includes historical notes.
Economic concepts: The Great Depression, Poverty, Earning, Productive Resources, Decision Making, Choices
Word Count: 649 | Reading Level: 3.5 | Interest Level: K-3 | [$20.16]
Save It! by Cinders McLeod: Penguin, 2019
Brief synopsis: An introduction to simple money concepts in which a little bunny learns about the power and satisfaction that come with saving money.
Economic concepts: Savings, Choices, Money, Decision-Making, Goals
Reading Level: 1.0 | Interest Level: P-2 | [$19.75]
What is Given from the Heart by By Patricia C. McKissak: Random House, 2019
Brief synopsis: Despite their own poverty since Daddy died, Mama tells nine-year-old James Otis that they need to help Sarah, seven, whose family lost everything in a fire.
Economic concepts: Human Resources, Poverty, Philanthropy, Problem Solving
Word Count: 1,470 | Reading Level: 3.3 | Interest Level: P-2 | [$20.16]
Home in the Woods
• Lesson Plan & Discussion Questions from Reading Makes Cents:
• Lesson Plan & Discussion Questions from Reading Makes Cents: https://simplebooklet.com/vcee_saveitamoneybunnybook
• YouTube Reading by Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BDayN0lEEY
What is Given from the Heart
• Lesson Plan & Discussion Questions from Reading Makes Cents: https://simplebooklet.com/vcee_whatisgivenfromtheheart
A Bike Like Sergio’s by Boelts, Maribeth: 2018-Candlewick | Economic concepts: Money, Poverty, Ethics, Opportunity Cost | Grade level: K-3
Dirt Cheap by Huffmann, Mark: 2020-Alfred A. Knopf | Economic concepts: Entrepreneurship, Pricing, Earning | Grade level: PK-2
Earl & Starla Want all the Fishy Treats by Raymer, Mike: 2021-GCEE Economic concept: Allocation methods | Grade level: 2-4
Earn It! by McLeod, Cinders: 2017-Penguin | Economic concepts: Earning, Money, Jobs, Goods & Services | Grade level: PK-2
Fry Bread by Noble, Kevin Maillard: 2019-Roaring Brooks Press | Economic concept: Productive Resources | Grade level: K-2
A Gift from Abuela by Ruiz, Cecilia: 2018-Candelwich | Economic concepts: Money, Exchange Rate, Choices, Saving, Goals | Grade level: PK-2
Give It! by McLeod, Cinders: 2020-Penguin | Economic concept: Philanthropy | Grade level: PK-2
Home in the Woods by Wheeler, Eliza: 2019-Penguin | Economic concepts: Poverty, Earning, Productive Resources, Decision Making [The Great Depression] | Grade level: K-3
Keeping the City Going by Floca, Brian: 2021-Atheneum | Economic concepts: Human Resources, Capital Resources, Scarcity [Pandemic] | Grade level: PK-2
The Oldest Student by Hubbard, Rita Lorraine: 2020-Random House | Economic concepts: Human Capital, Jobs, Civil Rights, Earning, Productive Resources | Grade level: K-3
Save It! by McLeod, Cinders: 2019-Penguin | Economic concepts: Saving, Money, Choices | Grade level: PK-2
Sloth & Squirrel in a Pickle by Mealey, Cathy Ballou: 2021 – Kids Can Press | Economic concepts: Jobs, Entrepreneurship, Opportunity Cost | Grade level: PK-2
Someone Builds the Dream by Wheeler, Lisa: 2021-Penguin | Economic concepts: Productive Resources, Jobs, Specialization, Interdependence | Grade level: K-3
Spend It! by McLeod, Cinders: 2019-Penguin | Economic concepts: Spending, Money, Opportunity Cost, Productive Resources | Grade level: PK-2