(C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, (E) Ages 12-15, Activity/How-To, Book Reviews, Middle Grades, Nonfiction, Teen/YA
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The Survival Guide to Money Smarts by Eric Braun

Practical worksheets and relevant concerns make this “Survival Guide” a useful money primer for middle graders.

The Survival Guide to Money Smarts by Eric Braun and Sandy Donovan.  Free Spirit Publishing, 2016, 150 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12

Recommended for: ages 10-15

What is “money”?  We think we know, but this practical book starts with that question and goes on to more practical concerns like setting goals for money, earning money, budgeting money and spending money wisely.  Almost all of this is relevant to the average 12-year-old, though the last chapter explored on banking and investing, with tips on choosing and tracking stocks and bonds.  Each chapter includes a form that can be copied and used to chart goals, make a budget or business plan, etc. (or you can look up the website and download the form from there).

One welcome feature of the book is the attention given to sharing the money you earn.  The slant is a bit liberal here in the criteria put forward to determine the morality of donating and spending.  For example, should you pay admission to the local zoo when it doesn’t provide adequate space for its polar bear exhibit?  Or should you join a boycott until that oversight is remedied?  Should you pay attention to where those trendy jeans are made?  What if they were produced in Chinese sweatshops by ten-year-olds?  These are legitimate concerns, and it’s good to be socially aware, but Christian parents will want to add the spiritual dimensions of tithing, sacrificial giving, and supporting missions and local ministries.

Overall Rating: 3.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3.5
  • Artistic value: 4.5

Some good novels for entrepreneurial spirits that we’ve reviewed: Lawn Boy, The Year Money Grew on Trees, and The King of Mulberry Street.

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