The Survival Guide to Money Smarts by Eric Braun

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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: 3.5Artistic 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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