The History of Money: From Bartering to Banking


Product Details

Candlewick Press (MA)
Publish Date
7.88 X 9.38 X 0.44 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Martin Jenkins is the author of several nonfiction books for young readers, including The Time Book, illustrated by Richard Holland, and The Emperor's Egg, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Martin Jenkins lives in Cambridge, England.

Satoshi Kitamura has won several awards, including the Mother Goose Award, the National Art Library Award from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a Nestle Children's Book Prize Silver Medal. He lives in Japan.


This book takes readers on an engaging exploration of the history of money. ... Brief chapters feature an easy-to-follow narrative, complemented by Kitamura's gentle, cartoonlike watercolors. ... This book encourages critical thinking about the concept of money, the different forms of currency, and concerns about the importance placed on money.
--School Library Journal

A snappy course in the evolution of exchange. [Jenkins] offers lively explanations... It's all related in a simple, colloquial style that will keep readers engaged... The text is urged along by the fine illustrations of Kitamura, which sometimes hint at the old Johnny Hart comic strip "B.C.," with its touch of subversive humor. ... A thoughtful and entertaining story of how we got from trading a pig for a sack of rye to "Chapter Fifteen: In which we discover how easy it is for money to disappear."
--Kirkus Reviews

An engaging story it is thanks to Jenkins's clear, easy-to-read text. ... Jenkins succeeds in presenting challenging ideas, each following naturally from the one before, and includes helpful back matter (an author's note, bibliography, and an index). Kitamura's tidy watercolors (spot art and panel illustrations) add humor and help illustrate the concepts. This is not a book for a quick report, but the open format, approachable typeface, and plethora of illustrations make it one a student can read in a single sitting without feeling overwhelmed.
--Horn Book

This is not your standard children's review of the historical shift from barter to currency, with emphasis on exotic media for trade, culminating in our own paper and coinage. Instead, this is a post-2008 financial meltdown essay, broken into short, lively chapters tinged with tart humor, that walks kids through development of money and money-lending. ... A spacious layout and Kitamura's delightful cartoon vignettes make the dense topics of taxation, interest, and inflation, and international currency valuation less daunting.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

This cleverly designed picture book uses just the right balance of information and explanation to guide students through both the global history of currency and the application of market pressures on exchange methods. ... Of particular note is the cogent and accessible way Kitamura's cartoonish drawings help illustrate Jenkins' discussions of money's symbolic worth and the ways accounting led to the development of written language. Jenkins' straightforward, breezy tone and simple examples help make a confounding topic just a little clearer.

A rich and interesting perspective. ... Anyone who thinks financial discussions cure insomnia will be set straight by this quirky but reasoned book.

"The History of Money" is a terrific resource for elementary school children. It is fun and informative--the perfect combination.
--Asheville Citizen-Times (syndicated from Jennifer Prince)