Books for kids on money and economic concepts

Dollars & Sense

December 28, 2003|By Steve Rosen | Steve Rosen,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

There are many fine books about money and the like that are geared to kids. My picks:

For young adults and teen-agers

The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason. Paul McWilliams, a Kansas City area financial adviser, was given a copy of this 144-page classic when he was a youngster and considers it the "best foundation book" on thrift and financial planning he's ever read.

"There are two fundamental lessons in the book," McWilliams said. "One, pay yourself first a little out of each check. Two, only seek real expert opinion when investing and understand there are no get-rich-quick schemes."

The Millionaire Next Door, by William Danko and Thomas Stanley. The authors show in great detail how conspicuous consumption might portray a high level of income but is rarely a reliable indicator of one's net worth.

Please Send Money! A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own by Dara Duguay. Drawing from real-life examples, Duguay covers topics ranging from credit cards to managing car payments to repaying student loans and understanding the difference between "wants" and "needs."

How Chuck Taylor Got What He Wanted, by William Staats, E.D. Sledge and Clarence Stregger. Chuck Taylor is a youngster with a long list of stuff that he wants. Learn how he manages his money and uses credit. Recommended for middle-schoolers by the nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

For younger kids

How to be a Money Savvy Kid , by Susan Beacham. This 109-page book is full of money lessons, starting with a history of money.

The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies, by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Brother Bear and Sister Bear, who live in a treehouse down a sunny dirt road in Bear Country, are transformed into "selfish, greedy cubs" until they learn some valuable lessons.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Game, by Adam Eisenson. The author explains the principles of sharing, and good spending and saving habits in a fun way.

Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst. Alexander gets an allowance from his grandfather but ends up spending it little by little rather than saving it.

"Most of the choices he makes in spending the money are silly ones, just like we all do," noted Amy Collins, a Kansas City area teacher and consumer education specialist who recommends the book.

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