As millions of American families continue to struggle in this economy, now more than ever, it seems prudent – and perhaps even mandatory– that the next generation be well educated on the basic principles of personal finance and money management.
Author Leann Voss, who, along with her husband, runs an Oklahoma company to promote financial awareness, tries to tackle this noble endeavor in a money book geared for children called, Finance Matter$! And while she clearly knows her stuff, introducing a large number of financial concepts and terms – everything from depreciation to Roth IRAs to bond issues – she ultimately misses the mark because she misjudges her audience.
One of the biggest mistakes a children’s author can make is to try to be one of them, throwing in lingo children might use when the author doesn’t really live in that world. Such is the problem here as Voss creates fictional twins, Jared and Janae, (they seem to be ‘tweens), who enroll in a summer financial “camp” and learn from people in their town about personal finance. While she tries to make her young characters seem current, Jared and Janae are more like caricatures plucked from a 1970s era sit-com rather than real 21st century kids. Just throwing in references to video games and online banking does little to make the two anywhere close to kids that young readers can identify with.
In addition, Voss tries to cram much too much into 83 pages. A better strategy would have been to concentrate on a few pertinent concepts for the age group, such as building savings accounts and how credit works.
It’s a shame that Voss’s effort falls short. Financial management is a huge gap in most kids’ education today. There are good intentions afoot in Finance Matter$!, but the story rings false and as a result, the message is lost.
Also available as an ebook.