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Grow Learning: Books for Middle Schoolers

Girl with book that is sparking ideas for her futureAccording to a poll of middle and high school students, conducted by the National Education Association, 56% of students said they read more than 10 books a year. Survey results stated that middle schoolers read the most, with an average of 70% reading more than 10 books a year, compared to 49% of high school students. At Junior Achievement we love literacy, financial literacy in particular. Here are our top books on Entrepreneurship, work/career readiness and, as mentioned, financial literacy.

 

 

Entrepreneurship | Work / Career Readiness

Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur (5 / 5)

“Meet Billy Sure, twelve-year-old inventor and CEO of Sure Things, Inc., and discover all of his wild and wacky inventions in this start to a hilarious middle grade series!

Everyone is talking about Billy Sure, the twelve-year-old CEO of Sure Things, Inc. and genius inventor of the All Ball, a ball that turns into different sports balls with the push of a button. Now Billy wants to help other kids achieve their inventing dreams just like he has!

So Billy is hosting an online contest for other kid-inventors to share their inventions, and the winning submission will be produced by his company. Ideas like the Sibling Silencer, No-Wash Socks, and a pencil that does all your work start pouring in. With so many great ideas, how is Billy supposed to pick a winner?

And that’s not all. Billy also has to keep the secret that could take him from hero to zero in a flash if anyone found out. Can Billy Sure find a way to stay on top of the world and help other kids achieve their dreams at the same time?

Each book in this series includes Billy’s drawings and doodles of inventions and more!”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

Cleonardo, the Little Inventor (4.5 / 5)

“Cleonardo's father is an inventor. So was her grandfather, her great-grandfather, and all the great-greats before them. Cleo wants to be an inventor too. She tries to help her father in his workshop, but he never uses her great ideas. Can Cleo invent something big and important and perfect all by herself?

This imaginative story of a father and his daughter brings the magic of creativity to little inventors everywhere.”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

How This Book Was Made (4.5 / 5)

“You may think you know how this book was made, but you don't. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How'd it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.

New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

The Making Of A Young Entrepreneur: A Kid's Guide To Developing The Mind-Set For Success (4.5 / 5)

“A 16-year-old earning $60,000 a month working with such clients as IBM and Microsoft? A 14-year-old earning $1.2 million in a year . . . making jam? The number of child entrepreneurs has increased unimaginably over the past 20 years, and this rate will not decrease anytime soon. The Making of a Young Entrepreneur is geared toward helping kids build a solid business foundation using the same principles the author employed when she started her own business at age 9. This book is a golden display of the heart of a young girl who wants to see people reach their full potential by refusing to be spectators of their own dreams!”           

Get Your Copy at Amazon

Better Than a Lemonade Stand!: Small Business Ideas for Kids (4 / 5)

“Filled with delightfully simple business ideas, Better than a Lemonade Stand! is a fun guide packed with creative ideas that show how to start a business with little or no start-up costs, attract and retain customers, develop negotiating skills, and more.

Originally written and published when the author was only fifteen years old, Better than a Lemonade Stand! has already helped thousands of kids start their own profitable small businesses. Now an adult and father himself, Daryl Bernstein has polished and expanded his book for a new generation of budding entrepreneurs.

This indispensable resource includes more than fifty, fun, simple business ideas—complete with tips about supplies, time needed, what to charge, and how to advertise—all completely updated with strategies based on Bernstein’s own experience as a successful entrepreneur and father.”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs With Big Ideas! (4.5 / 5)

‘’You've heard the saying, It's never too late; We say, It's never too early! Even children can be introduced to basic business principles and the rewards of entrepreneurship. Our goal with Kidpreneurs is to outline some basic tools and strategies kids can use to gain valuable experience in starting, managing, and growing a successful business venture. Through easy-to-understand basic principles and a creative approach, we outline some key techniques that will have a powerful and positive impact on your child's ability to understand entrepreneurship. Using kid-friendly design and illustrations, we break down some of the major points of entrepreneurship, so your child can have fun as he or she learns. Also, your child will enhance his or her decision-making skills by trying out simple businesses as he or she grows up. Tomorrow's future starts today. Share Kidpreneurs with your children, and help plant the seeds for a stronger future.”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire (4.5 / 5)

“Cleopatra Edison Oliver has always been an entrepreneur, just like her inspiration, successful businesswoman Fortune A. Davies. So when Cleo's fifth-grade teacher assigns her class a "Passion Project," Cleo comes up with her best business idea yet: the finest "tooth-pulling" company in town. With the help of her best friend Caylee, a Nerf gun, her dad's tablet, and her patented Persuasion Power, Cleo's Quick and Painless Tooth Removal Service starts to take off.

But even the best made plans, by the best CEOs, go awry sometimes. A minor barfing incident during a tooth-pulling operation causes Cleo to lose customers. Caylee, initially enthusiastic about the business, grows distant as Cleo neglects their friendship in lieu of getting more customers. And when a mean classmate makes fun of Cleo for being adopted, everything comes crashing down. Will she be able to rescue her business, salvage her friendship with Caylee, and discover that her true home has been here all along?”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

Financial Literacy

Welcome to Wonderland#1: Home Sweet Motel (4.5 / 5) 

"Eleven-year-old P. T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever. 

They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland! 
 
BONUS: Includes fun extras like P. T. Wilkie’s outrageous (and sometimes useful) things you learn living in a motel. Installment 1: How to say “Help! The toilet is clogged!” in over twenty languages!”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

The History of Money: From Bartering to Banking (4 / 5)

“What can take the form of a stone with a hole in the middle, a string of shells, a piece of paper, or a plastic card? The answer is money, of course. But when did we start using it? And why? What does money have to do with writing? And how do taxes and interest work? From the Stone Age to modern banking, this lighthearted and engaging account traces the history of the stuff that makes the world go round.”

Get Your Copy at Amazon

The Costly Mistakes that are Plaguing Teens

College acceptance season is one of the most exciting times in a teen’s life. Students will rip open university marked letters searching for the one word that will change their future – congratulations. With that one word, teens will become overwhelmed with the excitement of their new-found independence and freedom.

Teens Preparedness for college Expenses

Yet, what most students don’t think of when they come across “congratulations” is understanding the best way to manage college expenses. In a recent survey conducted on behalf of Junior Achievement USA and Citizens Bank | Citizens One, large portions of high school juniors (52%), high school seniors (39%) and even college freshman (34%) reported being unprepared for the cost of college.

 

In fact, most of the teens surveyed stated that they had not done enough research on how to pay for college, and many had not talked with their parents about their financial options. 

College Savings Results

 

"It's no wonder that kids feel vulnerable," said Jack Kosakowski, President, and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "As a community, we are not doing enough to educate young people to make smart, sound decisions so they are confident and secure in the choices they make that impact their lives so dramatically."

 

 

 

Bringing Awareness to College Costs

When high school juniors and seniors were asked about the costs of college, the majority responded with “I don’t know.” Other teens admitted that they had not done enough research on HOW they can pay for college. In fact, only 8 percent of college freshmen surveyed provided an accurate answer when asked how much in-state tuition for a public four-year college cost.

With the staggering perception of college costs, most can agree that students need to seek more information to the costs associated with higher education.

While some teens may seek information from their parents, they also look to their high school staff, college websites, friends, college fairs, social media and financial websites or financial organizations to discover the costs of college, according to the survey.

Brendan Coughlin, president of consumer deposits and lending at Citizens Bank stated, "It's clear that more needs to be done to help equip students with the tools necessary to minimize student debt and help students make more informed decisions on what loan is best for them," said Coughlin. "We're helping our young people understand how to make smart financial decisions so they can pursue their studies and begin their careers after college on sound financial footing."

As most can agree that college is an exciting time in a teen’s life, it should also be a time when they begin to understand how to budget and save and how they can afford their college endeavor.

To uncover more findings from this Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank | Citizens One survey, and to find resources to help your teen plan for his or her future, click here.  

Sprout JA Learning Early: Books for Kindergarteners

According to the National Education Association, children who are read to frequently are more likely to count to 20 or higher when starting school compared to those who were not read to. Engage with your child by checking out the following books that focus on concepts of careers and money all while helping them develop basic learning skills.  

Books for Kindergarteners

Careers / Entrepreneurs

Camila’s Lemonade Stand (4.7 / 5)

“Camila is a plucky kid in the Career Launcher Crew, seven fearless children in search of their futures. When she finds herself with no money for the Ferris wheel, friendly sprite Itsy shows up to give her some good advice: she can start a business! What happens when Jaden opens a competing cookie stall? And will the dark clouds on the horizon rain out their fun?... Camila’s Lemonade Stand is a wonderful first introduction to entrepreneurship. Grounded in the key principles underpinning every successful venture.”

Cleonardo, the Little Inventor (4.7 / 5)

“Cleonardo's father is an inventor. So was her grandfather, her great-grandfather, and all the great-greats before them. Cleo wants to be an inventor too. She tries to help her father in his workshop, but he never uses her great ideas. Can Cleo invent something big and important and perfect all by herself?
This imaginative story of a father and his daughter brings the magic of creativity to little inventors everywhere.”

How this Book was Made (4 / 5)

“You may think you know how this book was made, but you don't. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How'd it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger. New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.”

Money

            The Coin Counting Book (4 / 5)

The Coin Counting Book is the perfect introduction to counting, addition, and identifying American money. From one penny to one dollar, readers will learn the various coins, their mathematical relationships, and how to add them all together once their piggybanks are full.  Detailed photos of real money against colorful and bold backgrounds depict each coin along with their value. Rozanne Lanczak Williams’ simple rhyming text makes coin recognition, addition, and skip-counting fun and approachable for readers new to counting and currency.”

Monthly Budgeting for the Whole Family

Imagine, a future where your phone would know your financial hopes and dreams, track spending and send you an alert when you’re about to set yourself back from achieving a goal. It would update with the cost of the all the endeavors you want to achieve, from that dream wedding to the day you decide to retire.

Unfortunately, this budgeting responsibility isn’t something worth pushing off.

All the apps in the world can’t force you to say “no” to that pair of shoes or that sports car that you’ve wanted since you were a child. When it comes down to it YOU are the leader of your financial future and the cold hard truth is: Budgeting is at the center of everything.  

Teaching Kids to Budget

Our advice to parents and children?

Learn how to budget as early as possible! It will pay off in the long run.

A survey conducted by Junior Achievement and the Jackson Charitable Foundation found that the majority of parents (77 percent) feel that the best place for their children to learn the basics of personal finance is at home, at the average age of eight years old and as young as five.

Whether your student is in elementary school earning an allowance or a teen planning for the expense of college, Junior Achievement has them covered with our 2018 printable budget sheet. To learn more about working with money, check out the My Money track on JAMyWay.org.

Junior Achievement Printable Budget Sheet

The 2018 JA Teens & Personal Finance Survey

JA TEENS AND PERSONAL FINANCE SUMMARY

Overview:

In March of 2018, Junior Achievement USA and AIG surveyed 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 to gain a better understanding of their perceptions as they relate to personal finance and financial decision making. The findings of that research are summarized here.

Financial Goals

Financial Goals

One of the first questions asked of survey respondents was to select their financial goals for the future. Unsurprisingly most (75%) said "Graduating from college" was a goal. Other items included "Creating a savings plan" (50%), "Affording international travel" (37%), "Starting my own business" (30%) and "Retiring before age 65" (29%). Interestingly enough, only half (50%) of teens said one of their goals was to "Gain financial independence from parents."

Millennials have sometimes been referred to as "the Boomerang Generation" because weak job prospects in years past and student loan debt resulted in young adults moving back in with their parents following college to help manage expenses. This survey didn't delve too deeply into this subject, but one has to wonder if Generation Z sees this as a possibility for themselves after having older siblings and other family members struggle early on with finances.

Importance of Education

Importance of Financial Education

Survey participants were asked if they thought it would be valuable to have personal finance classes in high school. An overwhelming 95 percent agree. While there wasn't a large disparity in the numbers, teens from households making more than $100,000 tended to favor the idea slightly more than teens from lower-income households.

While there are states that promote some level of personal finance education in high school, most don't and in many instances courses are offered as electives and are not required.

Seeking Financial AdviceSeeking Financial Advice

Ninety-one percent of teens say they have sought financial advice. Most teens go to their parents or guardians (72%). This is followed by online resources, such as social media and YouTube (33%), other family members other than parents or grandparents (31%), friends (28%) and grandparents (18%). While teens are inclined to think that personal finance should be taught at school, only one-in-five (18%) seek out information from their high school guidance counselor. Teens in households making more than $100,000 are more likely to seek information from parents and online resources than their peers in households making less than $100,000.

Concerns About the Future

Concerns about the Future

When it comes to financially-related concerns about the future, more than half of respondents cited paying for college/student loans (54%), followed by finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (52%), not being able to afford a home (49%), not having money management skills (43%), and not having savings for an emergency (42%).

Many of these concerns were more pronounced with girls than boys. For instance, more girls than boys were concerned about paying for college/student loans (60% vs. 48%), finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (57% vs. 46%), not being able to afford a home (55% vs. 43%), not having skills to manage money (51% vs. 35%) and not having savings for an emergency (45% vs. 39%).

Thoughts on Bitcoin

Thoughts on Bitcoin

Bitcoin and crypto-currencies have been in the news. About half of teens (48%) say that these instruments have a role, but won't replace traditional money. One-in-five (17%) think they are the future of money, while about the same proportion think they are "all hype." Nearly 20 percent hadn't heard of Bitcoin or crypto-currencies prior to taking the survey.

 

Managing Personal ExpensesManaging Personal Expenses

On the subject of personal expenses, teens were asked to consider which expenses they would cut if faced with a tight budget. Respondents were reluctant to curtail more essential costs, such as paying for a cell phone (10%), Internet (8%), and even insurance (6%). Most (75%) seemed willing to cut back on entertainment-related expenses, such as streaming services.

 

Presented by:   Junior Achievement Partner AIG

 

________________________________________

Methodological Notes

The JA/AIG Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens, ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college, between March 9 and March 16, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.    Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.  The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.  For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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