The holidays are a popular time to buy books for the children in your family. We all know that kids who excel in reading are better prepared for school...and adulthood. Those who handle money well also have an advantage in life. Why not get the best of both worlds by giving children books with a message about smart money management?
For the pre-K crowd, _Bunny Money_ by the prolific author and illustrator Rosemary Wells has her popular rabbit characters Ruby and Max spend money for their grandmother's birthday. In addition to a fun story, children learn simple math and also learn that if you spend money on one thing, you won't be able to spend it on something else.
In _The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies_ by Stan and Jan Berenstain, children learn how to appreciate what they have and not throw tantrums when they can't buy everything they want. Now, wouldn't that be lesson you'd like your children to learn?
The Cat in Hat is back with _One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money_by Bonnie Worth. Kids learn the history of money and banking with all the fun of Dr. Suess's style.
_Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday_ by Judith Viorst features a charming character trying to grapple with how to spend the money he gets from his grandparents.
Parents and children will fall in love with the series of autobiographical books by Ralph Moody. Beginning with _Little Britches_, Moody tells the story of moving to a small farm in Colorado at age 8 back in 1906 so his father can live in a healthier climate. His family has no experience farming so they struggle to make ends meet. Their resourcefulness and hard work helps them scrape by, but barely.
Luckily, there are seven more books in the series that takes Moody into his early twenties. Early in the series, Moody's father dies and a young Ralph must become the _Man of the Family. His creative mom finds one idea after another to make money for the family and Ralph finds work as a twelve-year-old cowboy in __The Home Ranch_. In Mary Emma & Company__, Ralph is back in Boston with this mother and siblings and has to find ways to help pay the bills. In one chapter, he organizes the boys in the neighborhood to collect the wood beams that fell into a river after a bridge burned down. He sets up a work crew of young teens to turn the beams into firewood for sale. As a young teen, he next helps modernize the Maine farm of his cranky old grandfather in _The Fields of Home. The final three books __Shaking the Nickle Bush_, The Dry Divide__, and _Horse of a Different Color_, take Moody back to the West while still in his teens, where he finds work as a cowboy, stunt man, sculptor, and ranch foreman. Moody's stories tell time and time again how even someone who starts with nothing can use hard work, determination, and thinking outside the box to get ahead in life.
When a Washington D.C. private high school hires a new economics teacher, he finds himself in conflict with the feisty drama teacher. As the couple debates their differences, love blossoms. It's a rare book that combines economics with romance, but Russell Robert's _The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance_ does a fine job teaching economics through a captivating love story.
A lesson on money management might not sound exciting to children, but reading these books teach that lesson in a way that's relatable and enjoyable. As Maya Angelou said, "Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." And it is even better if the book leaves the child wiser to handle money.