Our Favorite Money Books for Kids
Books are listed by age level and in alphabetical order.
Books listed may be available at your local bookstore, public library or at Amazon.com.
Our Top List
Kimberly Palmer, a senior editor for U.S. News Money, shared the following 15 books recommended by children’s book editors and parents for talking to kids about money. Palmer is the author of the book, The Economy of You.
1. “The Money We’ll Save,” by Brock Cole. A 19th century family has to get creative about keeping costs down, including raising a turkey in their small home. (Ages 4 to 8)
2. “A Chair for My Mother,” by Vera B. Williams. After the protagonist’s family loses their home in a fire, all the family members work hard to save money so they can buy a new chair. (Ages 4 to 8)
3. “Coat of Many Colors,” by Dolly Parton. The singer writes about a young girl’s mother making her a coat out of rags and the reaction of her peers at school. (Ages 4 to 8)
4. “How I Learned Geography,” by Uri Shulevitz. A boy, along with his family, are forced to flee their country and start over in a new country (present-day Kazakhstan).(Ages 4 to 8)
5. “Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique,” by Jane O’Connor. Fancy Nancy, a girl who enjoys turning even the most ordinary events into fabulous occasions, figures out how to earn money â€�?and spend it. (Ages 4 to 7)
6. “Those Shoes,” by Maribeth Boelts. This book features a young boy learning the difference between needs and wants with a pair of shoes. (Ages 5 to 8)
7. “When Times are Tough,” by Yanitzia Canetti. A little boy learns why he can’t have more new toys or go out to restaurants more. (Ages 6 through 9)
8. “Amelia Bedelia Means Business,” by Herman Parish. The adored (and often befuddled) heroine figures out how to earn money. (Ages 6 to 10)
9. “How to Steal a Dog,” by Barbara O’Connor. This book, which features a homeless child, offers a valuable lesson on hardship and ethics, and it does so with humor. (Ages 8 and up)
10. “Hothead,” by Cal Ripken Jr. The protagonist, whose father was recently laid off, has to learn about anger management, both at home and on the field. (Ages 8 and up)
11. “Becoming Naomi Leon,” by Pam Munoz Ryan. A young girl deals with multiple hardships, including a very tight budget. (Ages 8 and up)
12. “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” by Grace Lin. Chinese folklore inspire this story about a girl who tries to change her family’s fortune. (Ages 8 and up)
13. “The Mighty Miss Malone,” by Christopher Paul Curtis. An African American family in Gary, Ind. deals with the tough economy of the Great Depression in the 1930s. (Ages 9 and up)
14. “Okay for Now,” by Gary D. Schmidt. A young boy has to learn how to rise above a series of adverse events, including the financial troubles of his family. (Ages 10 and up)
15. “The Not-So-Great Depression,” by Amy Goldman Koss. A teenage girl has to deal with a major change after her mom gets laid off. (Ages 12 to 15)
More Good Books about Money
Age 3 and up
Paddy’s Pay Day by Alexandra Day.
Penguin Group, 1989. Paddy is a dog who does circus acts. On his day off, he goes shopping. You can tell what’s important to Paddy by what he buys with the money he earned.
Tom And Annie Go Shopping by Barry Smith.
Houghton Mifflin,1988. Tom and Annie go shopping for a lot of items. This book asks you to find the items on the shelves. Shopping isn’t as easy as it looks.
Age 4 and up
The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
Random House, 1984. When Mama becomes a “business bear,” the way work gets done around the house changes. Other members of the Bear family discover how to help more.
The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmes by Jan and Stan Berenstain.
Random House, 1988. Can Mama and Papa Bear find a way to keep the cubs from begging at the store?
The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money by Jan and Stan Berenstain.
Random House, 1983. Brother and sister Bear spend money as soon as they get it. Mama and Papa Bear want the cubs to understand that there is more to know about money than just how to spend it.
Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day.
Harper & Collins, 1989. A dog named Carl goes to the store with his master. He watches the baby while the master goes shopping. Carl cares for the baby as they explore different parts of the store.
Curious George At The Laundromat by Margret Rey.
Houghton Mifflin, 1987. George tries to use the washing machine and makes a mess.
Just Shopping With Mom by Mercer Mayer.
Western, 1989. Mom shops with three youngsters. One has trouble accepting “no” for an answer.
Mrs. Pirate by Nick Sharratt.
Candlewick Press, 1994. Mrs. Pirate goes shopping. She buys items for the ship. This is a great book for children who are just starting to read.
My First Job by Julia Allen. Aro Publishing, 1987. A small boy is asked to perform his first household jobs. Dimes and feelings of success are his rewards.
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall.
Scholastic Inc., 1979. A farm family use their time and energy and talents to grow or make almost everything they need. They also grow or make extra things to take to market and sell.
Sheep In A Shop by Nancy Shaw.
Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Some sheep go shopping for a birthday gift. They find out they do not have enough money to pay for it. They decided to solve their problem by trading.
The Penny Pot by Stuart J. Murphy
HarperCollins, 1998. Jessie would like to have her face painted at the school fair, but she just bought an ice-cream cone and has only 39 cents left. Will the penny pot help her achieve her financial goal?
Working Cotton by Shirley Anne Wilson.
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to pick cotton? This book is about a day in the life of a family who work together in the cotton fields.
Age 5 and up
A Bargain For Frances by Russell Hoban.
HarperCollins, 1970. Frances saves and saves for a china tea set. Her friend Thelma tricks her into buying an old plastic tea set. Thelma says there are no “backsies” on the bargain. Frances finds a way to get what she really wants.
A Quarter From The Tooth Fairy by Caren Holtzman.
Scholastic Inc.,1995. A boy tries to figure out how to spend the money he got from the tooth fairy. This book has notes in the front for adults and activities in the back for kids.
Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst.
Atheneum, 1978. Alexander started the week as a rich young man. There are so many things he could do with a dollar. The money begins to slip away.
Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson. Crown, 1994.
All the townspeople work in the orchards at harvest time. Anna sets a goal to pick a whole basket of apples herself.
Brothers by Florence B. Freedman. Harper and Row, 1985.
Two brothers inherit their father’s land and split it evenly. Find out how they make their father’s wish come true.
How The Second Grade Got $8,205.50 To Visit The Statue Of Liberty by Nathan Zimelman.
Whitman, 1992. The second grade class finds out that earning money for a big trip is not as easy as it looks.
Not So Fast Songololo by Niki Daly.
Atheneum, 1985. A young boy goes with his grandmother to the busy city. He helps her do her shopping. Before they leave, she gets him a nice surprise.
Something Special For Me by Vera B. Williams.
Greenwillow Books, 1983. Rosa can’t make up her mind. After a long day of shopping, she finally finds the gift she wants.
The Gold Coin by Alma F. Ada. Atheneum, 1991.
This is a picture book based on a Spanish folk tale. Juan is a thief who wants to steal Doña Josefa’s gold coin. As he travels to find her, he meets farmers and villagers who need his help with their chores. By the times he finds Doña Josefa, he has found another type of treasure. Find out what treasure Juan finds.
The Purse by Kathy Caple. Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
Katie loves the noise her savings make in her Band-Aid box. She spends her savings on a new purse and throws away her Band-Aid box. Now she has no noise and no money.
Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazen.
Viking Press, 1979. David learns about “tight times” and making hard decisions.
Age 6 and up
A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams.
Greenwillow Books, 1982. A family loses all their furniture in a fire. They set a goal to buy a chair for mother. Find out how the family, neighbors and friends work together for success.
A Job For Jenny Archer by Ellen Conford.
Little, Brown, 1988. Jenny wants to buy her Mom a fur coat. She tries many ways to earn money. Instead of a coat, Jenny finds the perfect gift in a most unlikely place.
Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown.
Little, Brown, 1990. Arthur wants a pet. His parents doubt he can take care of one. Arthur starts a pet business to prove his parents wrong.
Bea And Mr. Jones by Amy Schwarz.
Bradbury, 1982. Bea and her father switch places. He goes to school. She goes to work.
Ben Goes Into Business by Marilyn Hirsch.
Holiday House, 1973. A boy in the early 1900’s makes 60 cents with a 10 cent investment at Coney Island.
The Cinnamon Hen’s Autumn Day by Sandra Dutton.
Atheneum, 1988. Is it more fun to rake your own leaves or have Mr. Rabbit’s lawn service do it for you?
Erandi’s Braids by Antonio Hernández Madrigal.
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1999). Erandi’s mother needs a new fishing net and also wants to buy Erandi her birthday gift, but is unable to due to their limited income. Erandi recognizes that her braids are valuable and makes a decision. Money on the Bookshelf Money Concepts: Decision Making, Recognizing Resources and Recognizing Success.
The Gift by Aliana Brodmann.
Simon and Schuster, 1993. A young girl cannot decide what to buy with her Hanukkah money. Her decision is touching and surprising.
Isabel’s Car Wash by Shelia Bair.
Albert Whitman & Company, 2008. Isabel decides to start a car wash business so she can purchase The Nelly Longhair doll, which is on sale at Murphy’s Toys for ten dollars.
Jerome The Babysitter by Eileen Christelow.
Clarion, 1985. Jerome goes on his first baby-sitting job. The kids play tricks on him. Jerome is surprised when he gets them all to bed.
Leo And Emily’s Zoo by Franz Brandenberg
(1988). Leo and Emily set up their own zoo. They make people pay to get in. Things don’t go well. See who helps them out.
Money Trouble by Bill Cosby.
Illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood. Scholastic (1998). Little Bill wants to become famous by discovering a new comet, but first he needs a telescope. The telescope he wants costs $100 and he only has $47.87 in his football bank. Little Bill finds ways to earn money through jobs. Money on the Bookshelf Concepts: Recognizing Success, Problem Solving and Goal Setting.
My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel.
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Clarion Books (1999). Saruni saves money he receives from helping his mother work in the marketplace. His goal is to save enough money to buy a bicycle, so that he can better help his mother carry food to the marketplace. He works and saves his money for a long time. Money on the Bookshelf Concepts: Savings, Goal Setting, Prioritizing and Recognizing Success.
No Time For Christmas by Judy Delton.
Carolrhoda, 1988. Two friends get jobs to buy each other Christmas presents. One works nights and the other works days. They don’t see each other anymore.
Pedrito’s Day by Luis Garay.
Illustrated by Monica Hughes. Orchard’s Books (1997). Pedrito works to make money to buy a bicycle to help his mother at the marketplace. He helps his aunt with work, but makes a mistake and looses her money. He then finds a way to fix his mistake. Money on the Bookshelf Concepts: Savings, Goal Setting, Problem Solving and Recognizing Success.
Something Good by Robert Munsch. Annick Press Ltd., 1990. Tyya tries and tries to get her father to buy “something good” at the grocery store. After some trouble, Tyya’s father buys her for $29.95.
Yard Saleby James Stevenson.
Greenwillow, 1994. The characters in this book sell one another all sorts of items at the local yard sale. Unfortunately money isn’t there only motivation.
Age 8 and up
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco.
Philomel Books, 1992. To thank old Eula for her wonderful chicken dinners, the children sell decorated eggs and buy her a beautiful Easter hat.
The Rag Coat by Lauren A. Mills.
Little Brown, 1991. Minna proudly wears her new coat of clothing scraps to school, where the other children laugh at her until she tells them the stories behind the scraps.
Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Shelia Bair.
Albert Whitman & Company, 2006. Twin brothers accept a savings challenge proposed by their grandfather.
Age 9 and up
The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.
Scholastic, 1876. In the second chapter, Tom gets out of the boring job of whitewashing the fence. He finds a way to get every boy in town to do it for him.
All The Money In The World by Bill Brittain.
HarperCollins, 1979. A young boy’s wish for all the money in the world comes true. The boy finds out that having all the money in the world isn’t as fun as he thought.
Jefferson by Mary Frances Shura. Dodd, 1984.
Jefferson’s family doesn’t have enough money to give him a birthday party. The neighborhood kids earn money for a party.
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen.
Wendy Lamb Books, 2007. An ordinary preteen with an old riding lawn mower makes the dizzying ascent up the financial ladder so he can buy a new inner tube for his bike.
Lyddie by Katherine Paterson, Lodestar Books, 1991.
In the 1840’s a farm girl goes to the city to get a factory job. She works hard to earn money to pay off the debt on the family farm.
Not for a Billion Gazillion Dollars by Paula Danziger.
Delacorte, 1989. Matthew embarks upon a frenzy of fundraising after his parents refuse to buy him the nifty computer program he wants.
Project Wheels by Jacqueline Turner Banks.
Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Angela and her friends raise money. They want to help a classmate buy a wheelchair. Angela begins to see that she and her friends are growing-up.
Tarantula Shoes by Tom Birdseye.
Puffin, 1996. After working odd jobs, Ryan decides to showcase his pet tarantula to earn enough money to buy expensive basketball shoes.
Tybee Trimble’s Hard Times by Lila Perl.
Clarion, 1984. Tybee wants to go to the circus, but there’s no extra money. Should she go alone if she earns the money for a ticket?
Age 10 and up
Blue Denim Blues by Anne W. Smith.
Atheneum, 1983. Shy Janet is good with children. She gets a job in day care. She learns about child abuse and overcomes her shyness.
Finders, Keepers? by Elizabeth Crary.
Parenting Press, 1987. What would you do if you found something? Finders of lost goods have choices.
First Things First by Kristi D. Holl.
Atheneum, 1986. Shelly’s mom and dad can’t pay for summer camp this year. Shelly spends her summer earning money. She finds out what is important to her.
Gopher, Tanker And The Admiral by Shirley Climo. Crowell, 1984. Gopher wants to earn money to buy a bike. He decides to baby-sit for a crabby neighbor who has a broken leg. Together they solve a mystery.
How To Get Fabulously Rich by Thomas Rockwell.
Watts, 1990. Billy wins a lot of money. Everyone he knows wants some of the money. He wonders if winning was worth it.
Kid Power by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Watts, 1977. Janice has a summer business doing odd jobs. She ends up with more jobs than she can handle. She hires other kids to work for her.
Kid Power Strikes Back by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Watts, 1984. Janice’s summer business ends when school starts. She begins to miss the money she made. Find out what she does.
Mall Mania by Betsy Haynes.
Bantam Skylark, 1991. Beth borrows a friend’s credit card and goes on a shopping spree at the mall. She gets deeply into debt and must find a way out.
Oliver Dibbs To The Rescue by Barbara Steiner.
Four Winds, 1985. Oliver and his brother think about ways to earn money. They want to use the money to help protect animals.
The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill.
Houghton Mifflin, 1972. Rufus makes his own toothpaste. He starts selling it and makes money. His friends help him make his business something great.
Age 11 and up
Jason And The Money Tree by Sonia Levitan.
Harcourt Brace, 1974. Jason plants a ten dollar bill. It grows into a money tree. He gets into some situations that help him learn about life.
Age 13 and up
Discovered! by Yvonne Green.
Bantam, 1988. Kelly ends up getting into the world of modeling by accident. She finds out it is not all fun.
It happened At Cecelia’s by Erika Tamar.
Atheneum, 1989. Andy’s father is part-owner of a restaurant. Trouble starts when the mob tries to take over.
Seventeen Against The Dealer by Cynthia Voigt. Atheneum, 1989. Dicey uses her money to open a boat shop. When she tries to build her own boat, she ends up in situations she never imagined.
Shadow In The North by Philip Pullman.
Knopf, 1988. Sally’s business causes a client to lose money. She tries to find out why and is drawn into a complex plot.
The Everything Kids’ Money Book: From Saving to Spending to Investing –
Learn All About Money! (Everything Kids Series) (Paperback) by Diane Mayr.
The Everything Kids Series has recently been re-launched and they are still packed with tons of activities and puzzles! The book explores the history of money, how to make money, and what to do with the money once you’ve earned it.
The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry
Originally published by Doubleday in 1906 but can now be found in almost any collection of O. Henry short stories. This is a classic tale of love, giving and sacrifice.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Harper and Row, 1964. This is a sensitive tale of giving (and taking) until there is no more to give — or so it seems.
King Midas by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
McGraw Hill, 1959. This book is based on the Greek legend of King Midas. King Midas was a greedy king who wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. He got his wish, but found out that some things are more precious than gold.
Peace Begins With You by Katherine Scholes.
Little, Brown, 1989. This book explains peace in simple terms. It looks at how conflicts start and how they can be avoided.
The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz.
McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1978. This story is based on an old Hebrew folk tale. Follow Isaac as his dreams lead him on a treasure hunt in the city. He finds no treasure until he returns home.
Resource Books To Help Teach Children About Money
Buckaroo Says: Be Money Wise by Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service (July 1995).
This coloring book is designed to help preschoolers learn about money. Follow Buckaroo as he learns about money from his friend Annie.
To get your copy, request item number 12-119 and send $1.00 to:
Agricultural Communication Service
Media Distribution Center
301 South 2nd Street
Lafayette, Indiana 47901-1232
For more information call (317) 494-6794 Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
Economics And Children’s Literature by Barbara Flowers, Bonnie Meszaros, and Mary C. Suiter. Grades: 1-6. Children’s literature and economics have been combined in this book. Children learn about the economy and improve their literacy.
For information on ordering contact:
1993 SPEC Publishers, Inc.
106 Regency Manor Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011
Economics And The Consumer by M. Barbara Killen.
Lerner, 1990. This book looks at the important role of the consumer. It explains how every time we buy something we also send a message to the economic system. The author makes difficult economic plans easy to understand. She also gives advice on spending and borrowing money.
How To Teach Children About Money by Peggy Houser and Hassell Bradley (1989).
An adult guide to help teach your children about earning, saving and spending their money. A children’s book is included. Both books have games and other fun activities.
The Kids Guide To Money by Steve Otfinoski.
Scholastic, 1996. This book explains how children can earn, save and get the most value for their money. Information about sharing money and time through volunteer work is included.
Kids, Money And Values by Patricia Schiff Estess and Irving Barocas.
Betterway, 1994. This book is about teaching children good habits and attitudes to help them manage money. Activities and sample forms are found throughout this book.
Making Cents by Elizabeth Wilkinson.
Little, Brown, 1989. What can kids do to make money in their spare time? This book helps children learn that “work” does not mean doing things that they do not enjoy. There are great ideas to get youngsters started.
Money by Joe Cribb.
Knopf, 1990. This book tells the story of money from all over the world. Find out how money started and what it meant. There are many pictures of coins and paper money included.
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children
by Neale S. Godfrey & Carolina Edwards.
Simon and Schuster, 1994. This book is aimed at preschoolers to teens. All age groups can learn lessons about earning, saving and spending money. Real-life examples help parents teach values along with money concepts.
Money Skills by Bonnie Drew.
Career Press, 1992. This book has 101 activities to teach your child about money. The book also includes suggestions on talking with children about money. One chapter is all about growing up to be responsible with money.
Money-Smart Kids (and parents, too!) by Janet Bodnar.
Kiplinger, 1993. Dr. Tightwad shows parents how they can turn their children into super savers and smart shoppers. Children learn how money works and how to tell wants from needs. This book can teach parents how to help their children and themselves.
Raising Happy Kids On A Reasonable Budget by Patricia Gallagher.
Betterway, 1993. This book has advice from parents who are trying to stretch their money. The book has eight chapters that give money-saving advice on ways to feed, clothe and care for your family.
Raising Money-Wise Kids by Judith Briles.
Northfield, 1996. This book was written for parents of preschoolers to teens. It is loaded with useful tips and quizzes that will help parents teach their children about money issues.
Read To Me: Raising Kids Who Love To Read by Bernice E. Cullinan.
Scholastic, 1992. This book explains why it is important to read to your child. Tips for busy parents and a reading list are included.
Teach Your Child The Value Of Money by Harold and Sandy Moe.
Harsand, 1990. This book will help you and your children think about their futures. Learn how to help your children make smart money decisions early. Learn how these decisions will help when they are adults.
Why Money Was Invented by Neale S. Godfrey. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Join Penny Bright and the Greenstreet Kids as they find out why money was invented. The adventure starts when they need money to buy ice cream. Their first stop is in prehistoric times where they learn about bartering. As they move forward through time they learn more and more about the history of money.
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