Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Something Special For Me

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Something Special For Me written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams is a second story in a series about Rosa and her family. In the story, Rosa, her mother and grandmother have a jar of change that they save for something special. In the first story, they saved and bought a chair that they all sit in. This story opens with they all still use the chair and the jar is starting to fill up because they are still saving up for something special.  Rosa’s mother decides that the jar is going to go towards buying Rosa a special birthday gift.  “Mama and I got dressed fast and Grandma changed the money into dollar bills. As we went out the door, she hollered after us, ‘Rosa, you buy something real nice’. The story follows Rosa through the decision of finding her special gift. I like how the story shows that she can only get one thing special and that they had to really save for her to be able to get that special gift. In these days and times, kids get a lot and have a lot. I think this story will help students of any age to appreciate the things they have and the hard work that went towards getting that item. Rosa took a lot of time and thought very carefully in selecting her gift.”Next morning, I was sure I had chose exactly right. Through the door I could see our chair. I could see our big jar with just one dime in it for good luck. Grandma and Mama were making breakfast in the kitchen. And right beside my bed was my own accordion waiting for me to make songs come out of it.”  Rosa teaches the reader a valuable lesson on making choices and the value of money. I think that this book and the rest of the books in the series are great for students in teaching economic ideas. This author also has the book available in Spanish.

Curriculum Connections
This book teaches students about not being able to have everything they want and how people have to work hard to make money to buy things that they want ( SOL K.7 a,b; 1.8; 1.9). These concepts are hard for some students to understand because they do get everything they want. I think it could teach understanding and appreciation for those students.

Additional Resources

  • Saving money is a concept that even adults struggle with. I found this site and it is part of the American Bankers Association. It has a lot of creative ideas on how to teach the concept of money and savings. These are important ideas to teach in our current world filled with debt.
  • The Money Instructor  has several ideas for teaching money and has a lot of cross-curricular ideas such as a reading passage and math worksheets. The site lists several different ideas that could be used in the classroom or could be used by parents teaching the concept of money. The site has lots of activities for all ages.
  • Scholastic has an abundance of lesson plans on making choices and the value of money. The lesson I found specifically is for 4 or 5th graders and students have to use addition and subtraction. The students have to learn about budgeting and Scholastic includes a mini-magazine explaining the concept.

Book: Something Special For Me
Author: Vera B. Williams
Publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
Publication Date: 1983
Pages: 32
Grade Range: Pre-Kindergarten to Third Grade
ISBN:0688065260