Ka-ching! The sound says it all, but it is only the end of a long journey, as Sylvester and Hlinka explain.
You buy a baseball hat. Easy enough: You mowed the neighbor’s lawn, they gave you $5, and you gave that $5 to the store for the hat. But there is a lot more going on behind the scenes—the harvesting of the cotton for the hat, its construction (domestic, foreign), the cost of getting it to market, advertising, storage, etc. It’s a web of economic connections that Sylvester and Hlinka spell out with clarity in this primer on how your money gets divvied when you slap down that fiver. For any kid paying attention, this book will be a shocker. Sylvester and Hlinka build from fundamentals: What is value and worth, what is a salary (from the Latin for salt, when wages were paid in salt), what are costs, what is that thing called tax, and what does it buy? Sylvester and Hlinka are not out to overthrow capitalism, but simply by explaining how a credit card works or why energy companies make a dollar on seemingly every transaction, they spur readers to wonder about transparency and the ownership of natural resources.
Knowing why something costs so much might make you appreciate it, and the people who get it to you, more—and, perhaps, to act on that knowledge. (Nonfiction. 10-14)