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Virtual Bookshelf

We believe it’s never too early to introduce financial literacy skills to your children. By embracing the connection between money and your family values, you can help your child build sound financial habits. 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Bunny Money

Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday

A Bargain for Frances

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

Anno’s Magic Seeds

A Chair for My Mother

Those Shoes

It Could Always Be Worse

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Little Red Hen

Tops and Bottoms

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

By Simms Taback (Pre K - Grade 2)​

The main character, Joseph, has an overcoat he really likes. When it becomes old and worn, instead of throwing it away, he makes it into a jacket. When the jacket becomes old and worn, he makes a vest. The story continues in the same way, with Joseph making a new article of clothing every time. The book is engaging as children enjoy predicting what he will make next and can be asked to name some of Joseph’s character traits (creative, thrifty, resourceful, etc.). Joseph Had a Little Overcoat opens the door to discussions about waste reduction, recycling, material value and disposability from a young age.

Bunny Money

By Rosemary Wells (Pre K - Grade 1)

A lighthearted, humorous story—gentler, but similar to Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday. The main characters set out to buy their grandmother a birthday present and learn how easy it is to spend money. There’s also “bunny money” that can be photocopied and used to play with.

Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday

By Judith Viorst (K and Up)

Alexander (Yes, it’s the same beloved character who had a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”!) learns valuable lessons about how easy it is to spend money.  Some references are dated such as bus tokens and bottle deposits, but this classic, humorous story offers basic principles of money management.

A Bargain for Frances

By Russell Hoban (K - Grade 2)

Frances is tricked by her friend Thelma into buying her old tea set. There are lessons on saving, delaying gratification and being a smart consumer. Also, great to facilitate discussions on what makes a good friend and the value of a friendship verses material possessions.

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

By Demi (K and Up)

This beautifully-illustrated Indian folktale is about a clever young girl who outsmarts a selfish raja. When Rani does a good deed, the raja offers to reward her. All she asks for is one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. The book visually illustrates the power of doubling and exponential growth. Children often gasp out loud, discovering the story through its fold-out pages. The story offers countless opportunities for deep and varied discussion, from frugality and righteousness to the power of exponential growth, and how a single grain of rice can turn into over one billion grains in only 30 days.

Anno’s Magic Seeds

By Mitsumasa Anno (K and Up)

This author is known for his mathematical stories. Along the same theme as One Grain of Rice, this book illustrates the power of exponential growth. A wizard gives Jack two golden seeds and directs him to eat only one and bury the other, promising that the latter will yield two more seeds come fall. Jack does as he is told, and the cycle repeats for a number of years until, one fall, Jack decides to bury both seeds. Younger children will grasp the concept of saving more than you consume. Older children will be challenged with mathematical investigations. As Jack buries more and more seeds each consecutive year, readers are challenged with a series of questions (“How many seeds grew that year?”; “How many seeds did they bury?”). Let’s come up with an algorithm!

A Chair for My Mother

By Vera B. Williams (K - Grade 3)

After a fire destroys all their material possessions, a girl, her mother and grandmother save their loose change in a glass jar to buy a comfortable chair they can all enjoy. This is a well-written, heartwarming story about family, the generosity of neighbors, hard work, patience, saving and working together toward a financial goal. This is a must read! If you like this book, it’s part of a trilogy. In Something Special for Me the glass jar’s contents are to be spent on the little girl’s birthday present. In Music, Music for Everyone the little girl searches for a way to make money to cheer up her sick grandma.

Those Shoes

By Maribeth Boelts (K - Grade 3)

This is a touching book that explores the difference between wants and needs. The main character, Jeremy, wants shoes that are the latest fad at school. He finds and purchases the shoes from a thrift store, even though they are too small to fit his feet. He is then faced with an opportunity to give the shoes to someone who can actually use them. Jeremy comes to understand that a loving grandmother, sturdy boots, and a true friend have far greater value than fads.

It Could Always Be Worse

Retold by Margot Zemach

This is a funny folk tale about a noisy, crowded family. On advice of a wise Rabbi, they bring all their livestock into their tiny hut. In the end, they realize how peaceful and roomy their house was all along. It’s a lesson on gratitude and appreciation for what you have for the entire family.

The Ant And The Grasshopper

By Aesop

This is a classic fable about a jolly grasshopper who lives day-to-day while the industrious ants gather food for the winter. It teaches young children about the importance of hard work and planning for the future.

The Little Red Hen

Retold by Paul Galdone

Remember this classic folktale about a cat, dog, mouse and little red hen who live together? The little red hen is the only one who does all the work. The cat, dog and mouse learn that they need to share the work if they want to share the reward. This version teaches the value of hard work and the consequence of laziness. This tale can also help children understand the importance of helping out at home.

Tops and Bottoms

By Janet Stevens (K and up)

Teachers often include this humorous story when they teach their plant units. We at Island Wealth love this story for its business lessons and emphasis on diligence. Bear is lazy and rich due to his family inheritance. Hare is poor due to bad business decisions: He lost a bet with a tortoise, sold his land to pay off his debt and now has a large family to support. Hare the trickster approaches Bear to offer up a deal. He’ll do all the work and they’ll split the profits straight down the middle. It takes Bear three crops to learn some valuable lessons on the importance of hard work—and picking your business partner carefully!