Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Follow the Money!

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Loreen Leedy's  "Follow the Money", is a humorous book that teaches children the various uses of currency.  Told from the point-of-view of a twenty-five cent quarter, the book starts by describing how money is produced and distributed in the United States.  Throughout the book, the reader is able to follow the journey of the quarter and see the its many uses.  Follow the Money uses pictures and phrases, similar to comic strips, to explain how currency is made in the United States Mint, placed into packaging bags, loaded onto trucks, and distributed to the Federal Reserve Bank and local bank.  It shows children how a certain amounts of money can be exchanged for various products.  For example, Follow the Money shows how money can serve as weekly allowance, a state quarter collection, and savings.  The book concludes at the end of the day with the quarter's statement, "I wonder where I'll go tomorrow?" (Leedy, pp. 29)  Follow the Money is an excellent way to learn about and relate to the world of currency.

Curriculum Connections
Follow the Money
connects social studies, math, and economics to the world of currency.  The book incorporates math by showing how a customer may pay for an item and possibly receive change.  Math is also incorporated in the form of counting.  Instead of including traditional page numbers, Follow the Money uses currency for page numbers.  For example, page five displays a nickel at the bottom of the page to show the page number.  The book also connects social studies through pictures that explain the people who are displayed on each coin and paper money.  There are also a few captions that describe why that person is significant in history (1.3).  For example, George Washington's picture is displayed on the one dollar bill and he is described as the first president of the United States.  Last of all, Follow the Money can be used in a classroom setting to help students learn the value of money and how to save it for for future purchase and goods (1.9).     

Additional Resources

  • This link includes other books that relate to economics in a way that children of younger ages can enjoy and understand
  • Contains a writing assignment that allows students to create their own money character and write about its journey for one day.  The assignment assesses student's knowledge after reading Follow the Money!
  • Need examples of ways that other forms of currency are used in the United States? This website has the story of the adventures of a dollar bill, penny, and many more.  The Adventures of Currency includes questions about the type of currency used in the story, ways to spend, and a trivia quiz at the end of each story.

Book: Follow the Money!
Author and
Illustrator: Loreen Leedy
Publisher:
Holiday House Publishers
Publication Date:
May 2003
Pages:
30 pages
Grade Range:
K-3
ISBN:
0823417948