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Running the program day-to-day

Money as You Grow Bookshelf is designed to be an at-home program for families. It can also work as a book club, bringing together families to talk about money skills and ideas.

Common questions from parents and caregivers

What do children learn from these books, and how do they show it?

Research indicates that children are able to reach money milestones at different ages. We developed the Money as You Grow Bookshelf ideas with these milestones in mind.

Children can explore 12 ideas through Money as You Grow Bookshelf. The ideas are grouped into three main learning areas: planning, money, and me. 

Download the book titles and key ideas

How are the books selected?

The inclusion of books in Money as You Grow Bookshelf should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation. The initial set of books was part of the original Money on the Bookshelf program, from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Books were selected based on the financial concepts they include and their age levels. The University of Wisconsin-Extension Family Living Programs and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security continually review and select additional books that are appropriate for the program.

How should parents and caregivers choose among the books?

The Money as You Grow Bookshelf books and discussion guides are generally for children between the ages of 4 and 10. The parent guide shows the age range for each book, along with a brief description of the story. 

It can be easier to be objective when talking about book characters and their money decisions. After families talk about what the characters could do, adopting some of the same financial concepts into their own lives is easier too.

What do parents and caregivers need to do?

Parents should expect to spend time reading the book with their child, talking about some of the ideas that catch their attention, and trying out some of the activities.

Tips for reading books with young children

Nine ways to keep reading fun

Some parents may want to explore Money as You Grow further, for more tips, activities, and conversation starters.

What if parents would like to talk about money with their young children, but aren’t sure how? 

Young children may not know much about money, or banks or credit cards. But the personal traits, habits, and behaviors that lead to financial well-being in adulthood start to form as early as preschool.

Young children absorb what they see and hear around them. Research shows that parents and caregivers are the primary influence on their children’s financial capability. Many parents are eager to build a strong foundation for financial decision-making. And to do this, fortunately, parents do not need to be money experts. Many of the building blocks for financial decision making—like patience, planning, and problem-solving—don’t require much financial know-how.

Money as You Grow Bookshelf is designed to support parents in providing the kinds of money messages and experiences that they want for their children.

Hosting a Money as You Grow Bookshelf event for parents

Money as You Grow Bookshelf meetings are designed to be one-hour sessions, and you may make adjustments to accommodate the time available and interest of each group. For instance, you may want to allow one-and-a-half hours for discussion and reaction to the material. 

At least two parent meetings are recommended. This gives two opportunities for the parent to learn how to use the parent guides with the matching books. Each meeting could also feature a different book and activities.

You can also conduct one-on-one parent training by covering the same information from the group meeting in a less formal style.

To host a Money as You Grow Bookshelf meeting, you’ll need:

  • Books to check out
  • Copies of the parent guide for each book being discussed
  • A room with tables and chairs
  • Materials for the featured activities
  • Sign-in sheet
  • Pencils

Download instructions for parent meetings

Money as You Grow Bookshelf activities

Group activities are a way to introduce parents and caregivers to the topics covered in the books and parent guides, and help them feel more comfortable about the ideas and other money issues that may come up.

Key idea

Suggested books

Activity

Setting goals

The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job
A Chair for My Mother
The Purse
My Rows and Piles of Coins

Prioritizing

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
Just Shopping with Mom
Those Shoes

Prioritizing

The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money
Ox Cart Man
Those Shoes

Solving problems

A Bargain for Frances
Count on Pablo
Lemonade in Winter
The Rag Coat
Sheep in a Shop
Tia Isa Wants a Car

Making decisions

Just Shopping with Mom
My Rows and Piles of Coins

Making decisions

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
A Bargain for Frances
Curious George Saves His Pennies
Sheep in a Shop

Earning

The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job
The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money
A Chair for My Mother
Count on Pablo

Saving

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money
My Rows and Piles of Coins
The Purse
Tia Isa Wants a Car