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

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Many children keep a piggy bank full of coins in the hopes of saving enough money for a special purchase. While they understand the concept of saving their money for future purchases, we often rarely think of where the money travels with each following exchange. Loreen Leedy’s book Follow the Money! personifies coins as their representable presidents as they document their travels with each monetary exchange.

In her book, Leedy uses a cartoon format to demonstrate the exchange paths of currency. Each picture has a caption at the bottom explaining the process of buying a good and receiving change. In addition, Leedy includes cartoon dialog bubbles for the coins who elaborate upon the facts by telling a fun story of the locations they travel with each purchase.

Students will gain a sense of how money continuously circulates with every purchase individuals make. Follow the Money! also highlights the necessary mathematical operations with each exchange. With every purchase Leedy includes the math off making change. The combination of currency information and mathematical calculations will demonstrate the process of exchange of money while still interesting and entertaining students with the coin characters’ tale of all the places they visit.

Curriculum Connections
Follow the Money!
can help demonstrate to young readers the concept of continuous monetary movement with each purchase.  In Virgina this book can correlate with the standard 1.9 which shows that people save money for future purchases. While this book targets a younger reader to demonstrate how one coin is used by many people through multiple exchanges, it can also be used above kindergarten and first grade by using it as an introduction of incorporating money into a math lesson.

Additional Resources

  • After reading Follow the Money! as a class, students can complete this webquest to further investigate details of our money.
  • For additional ideas of introducing to money, teAchnology provides many lessons plans that utilize money.
  • The United States Mint offers games, cartoons, and other activities for kids in expanding their knowledge of our currency.

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