The Gift of Financial Literacy – Pt. 1

Four Books To Give the Gift of Financial Literacy this Holiday Season
Part 1: Children’s Books

Did you know that a children’s picture book can tell a hundred stories, and teach a few lessons too? Books can be a fantastic way to introduce kids to and teach them about the importance of financial literacy.

When I used to teach in the public school system, my favourite time of the day was story time. The kids and I would come together on the floor close enough to create a cozy setting where we could engage our imaginations in wonderful tales. You could always hear a pin drop when our minds were being treated to these delights.

As a newly minted teacher, I was amazed at the vast number of children’s books that there were to choose from and how the authors were able to take a commonplace subject and bring it to life through their words. A really great story was complemented by an equally incredible set of illustrations.  A quality book always led to fantastic conversation, quality teaching and learning time for all of us.

It might surprise you to know that among children’s literature you can find some fabulous stories that bring to life the seemingly mundane but very critical topic of money and finance. Through these books, stories are told in a way that imparts important information to our children in a loving and engaging way.

To help you out here are a few of my favourites – all of which can be purchased safely online through local Manitoba booksellers:

Book title and author Ages Themes Summary
A Chair for My Mother
by Vera B. Williams
4-10 Goal setting

Saving

Working together

A family has had a house fire and everything they own is lost. Mom works as a waitress and spends long days on her feet. Grandma is older and tired. The family sets a plan for how they can save to buy furniture for their new home.
Isabel’s Car Wash
by Sheila Bair
4-10 Starting a business

Getting Partners

Risk

Investing

Isabel wants to make some money by starting a car washing business. She looks for some investors to help her get started. She works very hard washing cars and successfully makes money for both the investors and herself.
Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock
by Sheila Bair
4-10 Saving

Spending

Compounding

Wants vs. needs

Twins Rock and Brock receive money weekly from their grandpa with the understanding that if they save it he will double the amount that he gives them each week.  Rock spends his and Brock saves his money. Each learn a powerful money lesson.
Sam and the Lucky Money
by Karen Chinn
4-10 Wants vs needs

Helping others

It is Chinese New Year and Sam gets Lucky Money from his grandparents. The money is not enough to buy what he wants and this disappoints him. His disappointment turns to pleasure when he is given the opportunity to help someone less fortunate than himself.

This holiday season I would like to challenge you to give the gift of a good financial literacy book to one of the youngsters on your list. Cozy up together and let your imaginations dance together!

The Gift of Financial Literacy – Part Two

Ainsley Cunningham
Founder and Project Coordinator, MoneySmart Manitoba
Manager, Education & Communications, Manitoba Financial Services Agency

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