Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: The Giving Tree

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The Giving Tree, written by Shel Silverstein, is about a little boy who would visit the same apple tree every day. On his visits he would play games, eat the apples and swing from the tree. As the boy grew older the boy left the tree alone. Until one day the boy finally visited the tree and asked the tree how he could make money. The tree told him to take the apples off the branches and sell them in the city. The boy continued to barely come visit, but when he did he always asked for something in return, until one day the tree had nothing to give.

Curriculum Connections
This book can teach children the art of giving and how to make a profit. The tree gave everything to the boy from her apples, to her branches and eventually her own trunk. The book also showed that the boy would be able to make a profit off the trees apples by selling them in the city. As a result the ending proved that the value of friendship can take you a long way. ( 2.7) Students will be able to understand what natural resources are from the tree giving away its branches and tree trunk to the boy. (2.9) The boy had to make a choice by using the trees apples to make a profit.

Additional Sources

Book: The Giving Tree
Author:  Shel Silverstein
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 50 pages
Grade Range: Recommended K-2
ISBN: 780060 58751