Children’s Lit (K-2)

Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

Alexander tries to save a dollar that he has received from his grandparents to buy a walkie-talkie, but his poor decisions result in his not saving anything.

  • Economic Concepts: opportunity cost

Bananas: From Manolo to Margie by George Ancona

Readers can follow the journey of a banana from Honduras, where it is grown, to North America, where it is eventually consumed.

  • Economic Concepts: interdependence

The Big Buck Adventure by Deborah Tobola

A little girl figures out what she can get with her dollar in a candy shop, a toy store, a deli, and a pet department.

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

Bringing Rain to the Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

This book tells the story of how a young boy, Ki-pat, brings much needed rain to the dry Kapiti Plain.

  • Economic Concepts:  Scarcity

Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells

Ruby knows exactly what Grandma would love for her birthday. Ruby has saved up a wallet full of bills, but as one mishap leads to another, money starts running through the bunnies’ fingers. . . . Will there be enough left for the perfect present?

  • Economic Concepts:  scarcity, choice, alternatives, price, marginal cost/benefit, saving, spending

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

After losing all of their belongings in a house fire, a young girl and her mother save coins in a jar until they can afford a comfortable chair to share.  They search various furniture stores looking for the one just for them.

  • Economic Concepts: saving, human resources, wages, scarcity, consumers, opportunity cost, budget

Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola

Charlie needs a cloak, so the young shepherd sets out to make one. Starting in spring, he shears his sheep, washes the wool, and cards it. Then he spins the wool to yarn, and dies the yarn in the juice from late-summer berries. Every fall evening, he weaves the yarn into cloth, which he cuts into pieces. He pins the pieces together and then sews them . . . and Charlie’s new cloak is ready just in time for winter!

  • Economic Concepts: allocation of goods and services

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.

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins

Victoria and Sam are forced to share—or distribute—a limited number of cookies. Each time the doorbell rings, more friends arrive and the children face a cookie scarcity problem.

  • Economic Concepts:  Scarcity

The Dream Jar by Bonnie Pryor

Valentina, a Russian immigrant girl, wants to help contribute money to the family’s dream jar, but everyone says she is too young. Valentina stays in school and discovers a way that she can earn money for her family

Erandi’s Braids by Antonia Herandez Madrigal

Erandi and her mother are poor and need money to purchase a new fishing net. Erandi also hopes that her mother will buy her a new dress for the upcoming fiesta. One option is to sell their hair to the hair buyer, who will use it for wigs, eyelashes, and fine embroidery.

  • Economic Concepts:  opportunity cost

Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People and War by Yukio Tsuchiya

A zookeeper recounts the story of John, Tonky, and Wanly, three performing elephants at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, whose turn it is to die, and of their keepers, who weep and pray that World War II will end so their beloved elephants might be saved.

  • Economic Concepts:  scarcity, choice, alternatives

Four Dollars and Fifty Cents by Eric Kimmel

To avoid paying the Widow Macrae the four dollars and fifty cents he owes her, deadbeat cowboy Shorty Long plays dead and almost gets buried alive.

  • Economic Concepts:  money, institutions

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (natural resources, goods/services)

Story about a tree that literally gives her entire self to the person she loves.

  • Economic Concepts:  opportunity cost

The Go-Around Dollar by Barbara Johnson Adams

Every dollar travels from person to person in a different way. Matt finds a dollar on his way home from school and uses it to buy shoelaces from Eric. Eric spends the dollar on bubble gum at the corner store. Jennifer, who happens to be the next customer, receives the dollar as part of her change.

  • Economic Concepts:  money, institutions

Going to Town by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pa has a wonderful surprise–he is taking the family on a trip into town! Laura is very excited, for she has never been to a town, and this special visit is everything she imagined and more.

  • Economic Concepts:  pioneers visiting a general store, resources, trading, interdependence

Hamburger Heaven by Wong Herbert Yee

Pinky Pig’s clarinet has met with an unfortunate accident. Lucky for Pinky she works at Hamburger Heaven: she can work hard and save up for a new one. But the customers are growing tired of the same old menu – cheeseburgers – and Pinky might soon lose her job due to a drop in sales. So she springs into action, devising a menu in which all the customers can choose any tasty topping for their cheeseburgers.

  • Economic Concepts: incentives, competition, price

How Much is Million? by David M. Schwartz.

Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician demonstrates the meaning of a million by showing his friends that it would take 23 days to even count to a million and that a goldfish bowl large enough to hold a million goldfish could hold a whale.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

When a generous boy shares a cookie with a hungry mouse, it is the beginning of a chain of events that keeps the boy busy.  If you give a mouse a cookie, after all, he’s bound to ask for….

  • Economic Concepts:  wants/needs, goods/services, opportunity cost

Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing

Pablo is supposed to bring something to school for International Day and has to pick something from all the delicious things his Mexican mother and Jewish father make in their bakery.

  • Economic Concepts:  trade, money

Lemonade for Sale by  Stuart Murphy

Four kids and a parrot, run a sometimes thriving lemonade stand.They create a bar graph to track the rise and fall of their lemonade sales.

  • Economic Concepts:  products, sales, tracking profit, incentives, competition, price

Little Nino’s Pizzeria by Karen Barbour

Tony helps his father in the family pizzeria.

  • Economic Concepts:  natural resources, human resources, capital resources

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

Its 1914 and Charlotte May Pierstorff wants to cross seventy-five miles of Idaho mountains to see her grandma. There is no highway except the railroad, and a train ticket will cost her parents a full day’s pay.This is a true story of how May got to visit her grandma, thanks to her own spunk, her father’s ingenuity, and the U.S. mail.

  • Economic Concepts: cost/benefit analysis, choice

The Monkey Bridge by Rafe Martin

In this retelling of a Buddhist tale, a Monkey King teaches a human king a valuable lesson when he sacrifices himself for his people.

  • Economic Concepts: interdependence

A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert

At the end of World War II, Anna needs a new winter coat, but her mother has no money.  They use valuable possessions to barter for the goods and services needed to produce the coat.

  • Economic Concepts:  Money, barter, trade, specialization, markets

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

With numerous rhymes and occasional silly scenarios, the narrator tries to prepare the reader for life and its ups and downs.

  • Economic Concepts: opportunity cost

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

This story conjures up the daily life of rural New England in the 19th century.  Everything the extra that the family has grown and made during the year is loaded up and taken to market where everything is sold.  Items for the family are purchased and taken back home where the process of production begins all over again.

  • Economic Concepts:  decision-making, resources, trade, specialization, markets

Pancakes! Pancakes! by Eric Carle

What does Jack want for breakfast? A big pancake! But first, Jack’s mother needs flour from the mill, an egg from the black hen, milk from the spotted cow, butter churned from fresh cream, and firewood for the stove. Will Jack ever get his pancake?

  • Economic Concepts:  natural resources, human resources, capital resources

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey

When the whole neighborhood is still asleep, the paperboy is in the garage, rolling papers and filling his red bag to the top. With his faithful dog at his side, the paperboy sets off in a mood of contentedness and confidence.

  • Economic Concepts:  productive resources

Passage to Freedom; The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki

This book looks at the Japanese diplomat who used his powers, against the orders of his own government, to assist thousands of Jews in escaping the Nazis in Lithuania.

  • Economic Concepts: supply/demand

Round and Round the Money Goes by Melvin and Gilda Berger

This is a brief history of the development of money and our economy.

  • Economic Concepts:  Money, earning, saving, spending

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

Sam is given the traditional gift of “lucky money” to spend in any way he chooses! He’s unhappy when he realizes he doesn’t have enough money to purchase the things he wants.

  • Economic Concepts:  Scarcity, cost-benefit analysis

Something Special for Me by Vera B. Williams

Rosa is a girl who cannot make up her mind. She has a jar full of money with which Mama says she may buy her own birthday gift, if she could only decide what she really wants.

  • Economic Concepts: scarcity, marginal cost/benefit

Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

In a version of an old slave story, Hare solves his family’s problems by tricking rich and lazy Bear.  This story celebrates the trickster tradition of using one’s wits to overcome hardship.

  • Economic Concepts: cost/benefit analysis, choice, price, incentives, competition

The Tortilla Factory by Gary Paulsen

Workers till the black soil, operate the clanking machinery of the factory, and drive the trucks that deliver the tortillas back into the hands that will plant the yellow seeds.

  • Economic Concepts:  resources, investment, production

Walter the Baker by Eric Carle

When the cat spills all the milk, and Walter the Baker must substitute water, the Duke and Duchess notice the difference in their favorite sweet rolls. The Duke presents Walter with a challenge: create from one piece of dough a roll the sun can shine through three times, or be banished from the Duchy. The task seems impossible, but after a few lucky accidents and a little help from his family, Walter presents the Duke with his invention — the pretzel.

  • Economic Concepts: scarcity, marginal cost/benefit