May 19, 2011
Kids’ Book Teaches Bankable Lessons
Young readers have given a thumbs-up to the new children’s book, “I Got Bank!”
The book is about 10-year-old Jazz Elliott, who follows the frugality lesson his late granddad taught him: he has saved $2,000 in a bank account.
On Friday afternoons in May, eight- to 12-year-olds take turns reading the book aloud during the after-school program at the Mission Park Apartments in Boston. It elicits all kinds of discussion.
One of the readers, Ellen, had a Eureka moment after librarian Beverly Moss explains how regular savings accounts work.
“Oh, that’s an interest rate!” Ellen said.
The book’s author, Teri Williams, is also president of a bank that is giving away free copies of “I Got Bank!” to grade schools and after-school programs. Williams, who grew up in a low-income housing project in Bridgeport, Connecticut, said she wrote the book to help children who have similar backgrounds start learning financial skills.
The Mission Park youngsters also are writing essays about what they learned from the book for a bank-sponsored competition that will award $1,000 to three students.
The list of children’s books about money is pretty short. It includes the Berenstein Bears’ “Dollars and Sense” (2001) and the Cat in the Hat’s “One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money” (2008). And “Sam and Lucky Money” (1997) is a beautifully illustrated book about a little boy in Chinatown wrestling with whether to give the four dollars in his pocket to a homeless man.
“I Got Bank!” clarifies complex financial issues. Jazz is constantly approached by family members who need money, including his sister, who wants to buy concert tickets, and his brother, who’s better at spending money than earning it.
“It’s tough to save when everybody around you needs money,” Jazz tells his best buddy. Saving means “keeping your money safe from users – and they’re everywhere!”