Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: What is Money?


What is money? written by Mary Firestone and illustrated by Enoch Peterson is an easy to read book about why money is used, currencies of the world and how bills and coins are made.  If explains to us that without money, people have to barter or trade so money makes it easier to get what you want.  We learn that buying is like trading and that people trade their time and skills for money and then trade money for things.  The book is written in a kid friendly manner, has great real pictures and includes fun facts on many of the pages.    There is a hands on activity at the end of the book as well as a glossary, a couple of additional book suggestions and directions for how to find safe, fun internet sites related to this book.

Curriculum Connections:

This book would be perfect to use in the introduction of money.  It could be used with younger kids to explain that people work to earn money to buy things they want (Va SOL K.7 b) as well as slightly older kids to distinguish between the use of barter and the use of money in exchange for goods and services (Va SOL 2.8).  This would be a good book to have in the classroom as a resource and could probably be read by second graders.

Additional Resources

  • Visit Dollar the Dragon to learn more about banks, checks, savings, atms, and more.
  • The FDIC learning bank is a website for students, teachers and parents to learn about the FDIC with your tour guide, Carmen Cents, the pig.
  • Donut Dinero is a lesson plan which includes bartering activities.
  • Needs and Wants provides background information as well as activities.

General Information:
Book: What is Money?
Author: Mary Firestone
Illustrator: Enoch Peterson
Publisher: First Fact Books
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 24
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 9780736826426

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