In picking up where I left off with my When Coins and Picture Books Collide series, I'd like to continue on with a picture book and a chapter book that will prompt you and your children to think critically AND creatively about the topic of money. I will tell you about our trip to the US Mint in Philadelphia sometime later this week.
You all know that I LOVE books that wrap many different subjects into one creative package. Well, I was able to find two such books which integrate the subjects of math, literacy, art, science, AND social studies!
If you ask your children what money has to do with social studies or science, what do you think they'll say? What would YOU say? Take a moment to think about it...
Well, printing money and manufacturing coins both involve the use of machinery, but was technology as advanced when the concept of money first came about? Suddenly, you're forced to think about the passage of time, and in pops the social studies.
Let's go back. WAY back.
"A long time ago, there was no such thing as money." And so begins The Story of Money, by Betsy Maestro. It's hard even for adults to imagine what it was like back then, when people had to grow and hunt their own food, and build their own shelter.
"Over thousands of years, the human way of life changed;" and people went from surviving as a family, to surviving as a group, to farming, to trading (sometimes traveling great distances in order to do so) to...using different forms of "money" to buy and sell what was needed. The invention of coins literally opened up a whole new world.
I will leave the rest to your imagination, but I would like to add that books like this one make it possible for children to connect the dots of time and see the big picture. When you start to talk about the "who, what, why, where, and when" of money, the subject will start to make a lot more sense.
Since The Story of Money is quite a long picture book, it's probably best to read it a little bit at a time. If your 8 to 11 year old is learning about transportation, exploration, or ancient civilizations, it may spark some very interesting discussions. In addition, if you have real objects handy, such as a world map or globe, foreign coins or other real objects, they can help you bring the book to life.
While some dates are mentioned in the book, I do wish there was also a timeline at the bottom of each page, or at the end of the book. You can view a timeline of US history from 1492 to 1783 at worldalmanacforkids.com. It would make it easier for children (especially visual learners) to understand the passage of time. I also wish the author provided a list of sources of the extensive information she included.
Please note that the copy I reviewed of this book was published in 1993, so it could use some updating. For example, there is a list of money from other countries at the end of the book, but the euro is not on the list. You could view that as a negative, or use it as an opportunity to introduce and discuss the euro and other foreign currencies with your child. After all, even though money has come a long way over thousands of years, it's still constantly changing.
Please let us know how you like this book! In part 2, I will share a great chapter book for children between the ages of 9 and 12.
While this post is my first one for "Nonfiction Monday," many other bloggers around the kidlitosphere have been writing related posts for a while now. I'll tell you more about it in part 3.