Children’s Lit (3-5)

The Big Bike Race by Lucy Jane Bledsoe

Ernie was hoping for a sleek new racing bike for his tenth birthday, not a big, secondhand, yellow clunker. He knew it was all his grandmother could afford, yet he was still disappointed — and embarrassed to show it to his friends. But the laughter of the other kids doesn’t stop Ernie from racing. . .or proving that it_ s determination, not the bike, that makes the winner!

  • Economic Concepts: scarcity, marginal cost/benefit

The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCully

Rebecca Putney is a bobbin girl who helps support her struggling family by working all day in a cotton mill. Working conditions at the mill are poor, and there is talk of lowering the workers’ wages. Rebecca’s friend Judith wants to protest the pay cut — but troublemakers at the mill are dismissed. Does Rebecca have the courage to join the protest

  • Economic Concepts: decision-making

Boom Town by Sonia Levitin

Amanda’s family moves to the wilderness of California where her father works in the gold fields.  Amanda decides to make her fortune baking pies and in the process encourages others to provide the necessary services that enable her town to prosper.

  • Economic Concepts: entrepreneurship, wants/needs, bartering, settlements, allocation of goods and services

The California Gold Rush by R. Conrad Stein

Children can imagine being witnesses to history-in-the-making in this series that explores important events in United States history.

  • Economic Concepts: incentives, property rights

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

A young white girl and her two black “brothers” devise a plan to raise money to buy the boys’ grandmother an Easter bonnet.

  • Economic Concepts:  Saving

Common Ground by Molly Bang

A simple story of our planet’s natural resources with jewel-like paintings by Caldecott Honor author Molly Bang. Through the example of a shared village green and the growing needs of the townspeople who share it, Molly Bang presents the challenge of handling our planet’s natural resources.

Community Builders: Bill Gates by Charnan Simon

This biography of Bill Gates focuses on the Seattle business community and the global village that he has helped create through his work as a computer software entrepreneur.

  • Economic Concepts: human capital, entrepreneurship

The Kids’ Money Book by Neale Godfrey

Who were the first people to use money? What is the difference between stocks and bonds? What IS money? The answer to these and hundreds of other questions about money are all in The Kids’ Money Book. Everyone-grown-ups, too-discover how much fun understanding money can be, and how worthwhile the knowledge is.

  • Economic Concepts:  money, institutions

Look What Came From China by Miles Harvey
This is an interesting, fact-filled book that explores the culture and inventions of one of the world’s most ancient countries.

  • Economic Concepts:  productive resources

The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland

When she is forced to leave Vietnam, a young girl brings a lotus seed from the Imperial Garden with her to America in remembrance of her homeland. Years later, her grandson plants it in his garden — where it blooms again.

  • Economic Concepts: cost/benefit analysis, choice, opportunity cost

Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki

Aliki describes and illustrates the techniques and the reasons for the use of mummification in ancient Egypt.

  • Economic Concepts: productivity, specialization

Purely Rosie Pearl by Patricia Cochrane

Working alongside her family of migrant farm workers during the Great Depression, 12-year-old Rosie Pearl Bush finds time at the end of her hard-working days to play with her friend Maggie, with whom she shares a special secret.

  • Economic Concepts: income, employment

Sojourner Truth by Margo McLoone

Sojourner Truth was born a slave in New York. Her son Peter was taken away from her and she went to extraordinary lengths to get him back. Through hard work and the help of her friends, Sojourner freed herself and her children from slavery. As a free woman, she traveled across the country speaking against slavery and in favor of women’s rights.

  • Economic Concepts: human capital

The Story of Money by Betsy Maestro

A history of money, beginning with the barter system in prehistoric times, to the first use of coins and paper money, to the development of the modern monetary system.

  • Economic Concepts:  money, institutions

Teammates by Peter Golenbock

Baseball history is brought to life in this vivid description of the racial prejudice experienced by Jackie Robinson when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first black player in Major League baseball.

  • Economic Concepts:  trade, money

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

Kate, who’s in the sixth grade, and her genius friend Rufus tackle some tough problems (mathematical and otherwise) when they start selling the toothpaste Rufus whips up in his kitchen.

  • Economic Concepts: incentives, competition, price

Tutankhamen’s Gift by Robert Sabuda

After the mysterious death of his unpopular brother, Amenhotep IV, ten-year-old Tutankhamen, the quiet youngest child of the beloved pharoah Amenhotep III, becomes the leader of the ancient Egyptian people

  • Economic Concepts: supply/demand

Two Tickets to Freedom by Florence Freedman

The true story of Ellen and William Craft, a husband and wife who escaped from slavery in Georgia in 1848. After careful planning, light-skinned Ellen Craft disguised herself in men’s clothing, posed as a white Southern planter, and bought “tickets for myself and my slave” at the Macon train station. Her “slave” was her husband, William, and from the moment they received the tickets that no slave could buy, they were on the road to freedom — or to being found out.

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell

Uncle Jed, the only black barber in the county, saves his money and lives for the day when he can open his own barbershop. After overcoming many obstacles, he finally opens his own store.

  • Economic Concepts:  Saving, cost-benefit analysis, opportunity cost, resources