Financial Literacy Portal: Children’s Books that Teach Financial Lessons

This list highlights popular children’s books that teach a financial lesson. These links will take parents to a guided lesson plan that demonstrates how to turn story time into a lesson for young children. Many of these books can be checked out of area libraries as eBooks.

  • Curious George Saves His Pennies (Margaret & H.A. Rey)
    • In this lesson, George wants to buy a new bright-red train, but he does not have enough money. At the suggestion of his friend, George saves his money to buy the train. In this lesson, the students draw an outline of a piggy bank, within which they write a word for or draw a picture of something they would like to buy. This becomes their savings goal. They listen to the story, and as George finds some ways to earn money, the students come up with ways they can earn money to reach their savings goals. Students are introduced to the difference between income and gift money.
  • Bunny Money (Rosemary Wells)
    • In this lesson, students listen to the story of Ruby and Max, two bunnies that go shopping and make many spending decisions. Students are introduced to short-term and long-term savings goals to help them save for goods they want in the future. After a goal-sorting activity, students choose and illustrate their own savings goals.
  • Just Saving My Money (Mercer Mayer)
    • In this lesson, students learn about saving, savings goals, and income. They listen to a story about how Little Critter saves his money to buy a skateboard. Students use clues in the book’s text and pictures to answer questions. After listening to the story, students play a game where they each have a savings goal, earn income, and save money until that savings goal is met. Students write math sentences to determine whether they have saved enough to reach their goals. Students also set their own savings goals and tell how they could earn income to meet them.
  • Clifford and the Big Storm (Norman Bridwell)
    • In this lesson, students are read a series of two options and are asked to decide which options are more dangerous. They then learn about risk and how to prevent or reduce risk by taking precautions. Next they listen to a story about risk, where Clifford, the big red dog, helps reduce the risk of danger by taking precautions. After the story, the students complete a story sequencing activity based on Clifford’s actions. Finally, they recognize that Clifford does not exist in the real world and talk about people in their families and communities that help protect them from risk.
  • The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
    • In this lesson, students hear a story about Brother and Sister Bear, who seem to want everything. The little cubs learn that they must make choices because they cannot have everything they want. Students follow along with the story by completing an activity listing all of the goods that will satisfy the cubs’ wants. The students then take part in an activity to construct a word web and graphic organizer (table) to identify goods that will satisfy a want. They will make a choice, identify the problem of scarcity, and recognize their opportunity cost.
  • The Berenstain Bears Trouble with Money (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
    • In this lesson, students hear a story about two little bears whose parents use several figures of speech relating to money. Students draw a picture of a bank and write a caption explaining their illustration. Students follow along with the story by listening for additional figures of speech and how they relate to the concepts of banks and interest. The students also construct a story map of an event in the story relating to why people choose to keep their money in banks.
  • The Berenstain Bears Old Hat, New Hat (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
    • In this lesson, students make a choice about what they want to eat for dinner, but then they are asked to trade with a partner and discuss whether they like their new dinner better. Based on this discussion, they learn about preferences and how they help us make choices. Students then hear a story about a little bear who looks at many hats to see if he can find a new one he likes. Students will relate key concepts from the lesson to the story and create a hat to discuss their own choices and preferences with the class.
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
    • In this lesson, the Ingalls family produced the goods they needed to survive while living in a log cabin far from their nearest neighbors. In this lesson, students will define the production function as the combination of inputs that results in outputs and will identify the inputs as human resources, capital resources, natural resources, and intermediate goods.
  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (Marjorie Priceman)
    • In this lesson, students listen to a story about a little girl who wants to make an apple pie. When she finds the market closed, she travels around the world gathering natural resources to make the pie. Students will follow along with the story by connecting each natural resource to its country of origin and pointing out those places on a globe or world map. They will also identify the capital goods used to transform the natural resources into ingredients by examining the pictures from the book.
  • Isabel’s Carwash (Sheila Bair)
    • In this lesson students are introduced to the roles of entrepreneur and investor in the context of starting a business through this story.


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