Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Economy

As I write this, it looks like some relief is in sight, or at least the hope of some relief. I won’t use this pulpit to remind you all to buy locally on those rare occasions when you can actually spend some money, because of course you already know how important it is, how you’ll be supporting your friends and neighbors and local schools and libraries with your dollars. On the other hand, since I brought it up, for anyone who never thought about it in “real money” terms, here are some thought-provoking  studies (here and here) on the real dollar impact of buying locally. In brief, this is how much difference it makes:

For every $100 you spend at a local business (say, your favorite independent bookstore), $45 stays in the local economy.

For every $100 you spend at a national chain (of the sort that is building onto the mall as we speak), $13 stays in the local economy.

For every $100 you spend shopping at an online retailer whose headquarters is out of state (for instance, one named after a large South American river), $0 stays in the local economy.

$45, $13, or $0…how much do you want to invest in your community?

And on the subject of money and comparisons and counting, I have been overhearing more and more conversations of late between parents and kids on the subject of money. From using the example of a cash transaction to reinforce simple math skills to larger lessons of budgeting and responsibility, parents are being proactive about money. Here are some suggestions (most of which I’m sure are also available for free at your local library!) of some books for young ones just starting to understand the value of money matters.

alexanderwhousedtoberich1Last Sunday, Alexander’s grandparents gave him a dollar — and he was rich. There were so many things that he could do with all of that money!

He could buy as much gum as he wanted, or even a walkie-talkie, if he saved enough. But somehow the money began to disappear… Grades K-2


bargainforfrancesThelma always seems to get Frances into trouble. When she tricks Frances into buying her tea set, it’s the last straw. Can Frances show her that it’s better to lose a bargain than lose a friend?





A hilarious account of Arthur’s attempts to earn enough money to buy a T-shirt and cap, assisted by his sister Violet. Simple business concepts are ingeniously woven into the story.




  bunnymoneyIt’s Grandma’s birthday, and Ruby knows exactly what Grandma would love–a beautiful ballerina box. Max also knows what she’d love–a scary pair of ooey-gooey vampire teeth. Wells’s adorable story is a fun and lively introduction to early math as the bunnies save up for their gifts. 3-8 years



Published in: on February 13, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. Oops…I should have mentioned in the original post that The Health Adventure in downtown Asheville currently has an exhibit called Moneyville. Here’s the description from their website:

    Moneyville – February 6, 2009 through May 3, 2009

    Moneyville uses the fascinating subject ofmoney to build math skills and promote economic literacy in a fun, immersive setting. The colorful city includes a bank, store, anti-counterfeiting lab, stock market, and a shipping dock. Hands-on activities range from creating your own “money” to exploring anti-counterfeiting measures to seeing what a million dollars looks like.

  2. “OH, money, money, money, I love money, money money.”

    I hear this little jingle in my sleep.


    My boys are obsessed with Fudge Hatcher, Judy Blume’s precocious and quintessential younger brother. Double Fudge is their current favorite in the series that begins with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. In Double Fudge, Fudge is obsessed with money. He manufactures his own Fudge bucks, takes a trip to Washington D.C. to see the “green stuff” being made at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and embarks on many hilarious get-rich-quick schemes.

    Because I have been subjected to endless hours of Judy Blume’s voice emanating from countless audio CDs, I have noticed several things.
    #1 She is a great narrator. Her voices for each of the characters are distinct, but not over the top.
    #2 She is funny. I can remember loving her books as a child. Fudge was funny in the 1980s and my boys (and I) think he is still funny today.
    #3 She talks about money realistically throughout the series. It seems the Hatchers are very frank when the subject of money comes up in a variety of situations: vacations, shoe shopping, buying artwork, taking care of pets. It seems the combined salaries of an advertising executive and a part-time dental hygienist don’t go very far for a family of five living in New York Ctiy.

    I would highly recommend any of Blume’s books. They are honest, enduring and real – which, in this economy, is practically unheard of.

    –Sheila, The Other Bookwitch

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