Tia IsaTia Isa Wants a Car
by Meg Medina
illustrated by Claudio Munoz
Tia Isa wants a car so that she can drive her stateside family to the beach. Obtaining this dream will not be easy. She is already setting a large portion of her salary aside to send to the family members that remain on her island home.  While saving money to buy a new car is neither quick nor easy, with hard work and self-discipline it can be done.  Her niece joins in to help.

Discussion Questions
Lesson: Incentives to Save and Saving Goals Source: JMU Center for Economic Education
Provided in two parts, this lesson introduces students to the concept of saving and having short term, medium term and long term savings goals.  Students review the term opportunity cost and recognize its application in the savings process.

cover-helenHelen’s Big World: Life of Helen Keller
by Doreen Rappaport
illustrated by Matt Tavares
Helen Keller (1880-1968) was born in Alabama. When she was 19 months old, an illness left her deaf and blind. With the help of Annie Sullivan, her teacher for 49 years, she was able to learn how to communicate. Helen graduated with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where she learned how to read German, Greek, Latin, and French in braille. An advocate for women rights and the disabled, she campaigned against war, child labor, and capital punishment.

Discussion Questions
Lesson: Spell-It Story Connections Source: JMU Center for Economic Education
When Annie Sullivan was struggling to teach Helen Keller that words meant things, she would repeatedly spell words into Helen’s hand using sign language. The first word that Helen understood was W-A-T-E-R.  Use this lesson to introduce or reinforce the economic concepts: wants, productive resources, human capital, and earning and saving.

This LibrarySparks Magazine’s Web Resources includes another spell-it lesson, a sign language chart, and a link to the U.S. Mint website which includes lessons based on the state quarters. Alabama’s 2003 state quarter features Helen Keller sitting in a chair and reading a book. Her name appears in braille. This is the first U.S. coin with a braille inscription.

uncle jedUncle Jed’s Barbershop
by Margaree King Mitchell
illustrated by James Ransome
Told in the voice of young Sarah Jean, this tale of perseverance features her remarkable Uncle Jed.  Uncle Jed is an itinerant African American barber in the early 1900s. He has a dream to own his own barbershop one day. Over the years he faces decisions that delay the realization of his dream, but he does eventually save enough money to own his barbershop. 

Discussion Questions
Lesson: Uncle Jed’s Barbershop  Source: Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank
From the story, students learn about saving, savings goals, opportunity cost, and segregation. The students participate in a card game to further investigate what it takes to reach a savings goal.

Lesson: Uncle Jed Makes a Choice  Source: JMU Center for Economic Education
This lesson introduces students to using a Cost-Benefit Analysis to make a decision/choice.

Lesson: Uncle Jed’s Barbershop  Source: Maryland Council on Economic Education
This lesson focuses on decision-making; the need to make choices and opportunity cost.