Learning the Value of a Dollar:
Books to Teach Tweens and Teens Financial Literacy

by Laura Lambert

Photo credit: Hispanolistic, E+ Collection/Getty Images

When I was young, once or twice a year my father would empty out the large wooden box where he threw his spare change every day, and together we would roll pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters into neat, uniform cylinders and take them to the bank. I was always astonished at how much money the discarded change would add up to — it was a great, childhood example of a penny saved is a penny earned. When I thought I might do the same now that my kids are school age, I realized there’s just not much change to count. Almost every financial transaction I make is virtual — debit cards, Venmo, Apple Pay. I found myself wondering how on earth will they learn the value — or the weight, in coins — of a dollar?

These days, parents can put allowance on a child’s debit card with just a couple taps on a smartphone — no cash necessary. Easy, right? But how do we teach kids about money and all that it represents? These 12 books for tweens and teens can help.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2022.