This illustrated book for children aged 6 to 10 explains what money is for, why it’s important, and how to handle it.
At the City Market in Savannah, Georgia, two African-American girls, Jai and Kara, are dancing along to the beat of nearby African drummers when the rhythm suddenly changes. Jai’s father quotes an African proverb that gives this book its title: “When the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance steps must adapt.” When Jai’s dad gives her $10 to tip the drummers, a conversation arises about money and how kids adapt to their new responsibilities. He takes Jai to meet Jamila Harris, his financial adviser—someone who “helps you decide what to do with the rest of your money” after you “pay for your basic living expenses.” Jamila says that money is used to pay for goods and services, and can be in cash or “stored in computers like credit cards.” When Jai gets some money, Jamila suggests, she should save half and use the rest for fun or to help others. She could also consider starting a business, such as a lemonade stand, to earn more money, the adviser says; Jai’s father says that he’ll help her set up a savings account. In time, Jai will learn about debt, investment, and taxes. The book closes with motivational quotations. Co-author Milton D. Jones (Don’t Be a Happy Meal for the Banks, 2017) is a debt-relief attorney, which gives him an informed perspective. With debut co-author Amber P. Jones, his daughter, he stresses that parental involvement is important. They recommend reading the book aloud, and Jai’s father effectively models some examples of assistance; for example, he makes saving more appealing by giving Jai a beautifully decorated jar as her first piggy bank. Overall, the information provided here will give young kids a good start. However, it may be a little simplistic for older children. The cartoonish, full-color digital illustrations have rather flat, geometric backgrounds and reuse some images, but they do capture some of the City Market’s bustle.
A kid-friendly introduction to the basics of financial literacy.