Children learn about entrepreneurship through literature

Family reading time not only bonds parent and child, but it provides a great opportunity to teach the value of hard work.

One of the easier ways to introduce tougher concepts to young children is by reading to them. With recent research indicating that our views on money are basically set by the age of seven, it’s imperative that adults start conversations about finances early. Fortunately, there are some great books out there on a variety of money-related topics, including entrepreneurship and the value of hard work. Michigan State University Extension has put together a list of books that will serve as great conversation starters.

In “Arthur’s Pet Business” by Marc Brown, Arthur wants a puppy. When his parents question whether he’s mature enough to handle the responsibility, he decides get a job. After considering other options, he decides to start his own business caring for other people’s pets. A variety of adventures ensue, but in the end Arthur ends up with a puppy and money for his efforts.

“Ox-Cart Man” by Donald Hall takes a look at the year-round life of a rural family in colonial America. In this Caldecott Medal winning book, the family spends winter, spring and summer harvesting and making goods for the father to take to the Portsmouth Market to sell each October. This book is also a great way to introduce the idea that one thing becomes another, such as how a sheep produces wool which then can be spun, woven and knitted into useful items.

In “Count on Pablo” by Barbara DeRubertis, Pablo helps his grandmother harvest and count homegrown produce to sell at the market. When few customers are attracted to their farm stand, Pablo has a great idea! He buys tortilla chips from another merchant, makes salsa from some of the produce he and his Abuela brought, and the customers came, all wanting the recipe and the produce to make their own.

“How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty” by Nathan Zimelman is written in journal form by the class treasurer. In this hilarious and action-packed story, the class earns more than $8,000 from a car wash (sort of) to more than pay for a class field trip.

While these books contain great lessons in, additional lasting lessons can come from the discussion after the story.  For more information about youth entrepreneurship, visit MSU Extension’s Youth Entrepreneurship resource page.

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