Reading to your kids has plenty of positive effects on them, with studied improvements on everything from behavior to language skills. Kids aren’t the only ones building knowledge, either—parents can also learn a thing or two.
If you doubt children’s books can teach you anything new, here’s something to consider. “Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer, who has won roughly $1.7 million in the televised trivia game, credits reading children’s books as an important part of his strategy.
“I’ve found that in an adult reference book, it’s not a subject I’m interested in, I just can’t get into it,” he recently told The New York Times. “I was thinking, what is the place in the library I can go to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers? Boom. The children’s section.”
Plus, parents are the No. 1 influence when it comes to how we handle money. Reading money-related books together could spark some great conversations and learning opportunities.
We spoke to financial experts about which children’s books you can read together to help both you and your kids learn about money.
1. “The Startup Squad” by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear
Recommended by: Bobbi Rebell, certified financial planner, host of the “Financial Grownup” podcast and co-host of “Money in the Morning” podcast
Rebell says this book about a lemonade stand competition is meant for tweens, “but there are a lot of themes and lessons that can help adults in the workforce.”
“Lessons about management, motivating workers, and listening to stakeholders ring true for adults,” she says. “There is also a great guide in the back of the book about business basics that has great information for grownups.”
2. “One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent” by Bonnie Worth
Recommended by: Janet Manley, deputy editor for Romper
Part of an educational series, this Dr. Seuss book is Econ 101, Manley says. In Seussical rhymes, it covers topics including “a history of the barter system, different currencies, and the notion of trade,” she says.
3. “O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Teenagers” by Susan P. Beacham and Michael L. Beacham
Recommended by: Farnoosh Torabi, cofounder of She Stacks, host of the “So Money” podcast, and author of books including “When She Makes More”
Torabi says this book speaks to both generations, and she suggests using it as an ice-breaker for money conversations with your kids.
“Teens often graduate high school with zero financial literacy, so I love how this book provides some of the essential learnings—saving, budgeting, investing—all before college,” she says.
4. “Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock” by Sheila Bair
Recommended by: John Lanza, author of “The Money Mammals” and “The Art of Allowance”
The author is a former commissioner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—that’s the government agency that insures funds like your checking and savings account balances against bank failure.
“This book emphasizes the importance of saving by juxtaposing two twins with vastly different money personalities,” Lanza says. “It introduces kids to the power of matching and even compounding.”
5. “The Startup Club: The Big Idea” by JJ Ramberg, Melanie Staggs, and S. Taylor
Recommended by: Bobbi Rebell
This book, from former MSNBC “Your Business” host JJ Ramberg, “focuses on raising capital in order to launch a business, which is a huge life skill for adults as well,” Rebell says.
“The story also explores the strain of starting a business and the toll it takes on the two main characters’ friendship, something many adult businesses formed as partnerships confront,” she says.
6. “Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday” by Judith Viorst
Recommended by: John Lanza
“A classic used by many educators to teach kids about saving for goals and the difficulties we may encounter when doing so,” Lanza says. There are even online lesson plans built around it that families can benefit from.
7. “From an Idea to…” series by Lowey Bundy Sichol
Recommended by: Bobbi Rebell
“The author runs a marketing company that puts together MBA case studies,” explains Rebell.
These business biographies are aimed at readers ages 8-12, but they’re a fascinating read for parents, too. “Many adults will find the stories—which include Google, Lego, Nike, and Disney—to have tangible lessons,” she says.