A Wealth of Diverse Voices Needed, Especially When it Comes to Money

How did the hashtag “adulting” become so popular? The term “adulting” hit the internet hard this year and it hasn’t slowed. Honestly, it shows me that I need to be teaching and modeling these #adulting things now, even to my six and almost-four-year-old!

Forbes published findings that people in their 20s and 30s are having trouble “adulting,” or achieving financial independence. Conducted by Bank of America and USA Today, the report says less than half of the 22-26-year-olds surveyed pay their own rent (47%), health insurance (41%), or contribute to a retirement account (27%).

I know this is a kids’ post, a review of a diverse book served up for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, but the book I received, Ayo’s Money Jar, specifically deals with money management and helping our children to be wise when it comes to money, even when it starts as a single coin.


If adults in their twenties and thirties need help “adulting”, then certainly they could use more tools to empower their children and the way the family views and handles money. This is a book that can help a family get on track and inspire kids to do big things in every step of the way they experience and handle money. How awesome for kids to have such a character being money-wise with his family.

Ayo’s Money Jar was written by Charlene Fadirepo, a banker, and financial educator. She is also the mother of her own beautiful Ayo. Ms. Fadirepo also created a financial education social enterprise company, SmartChoiceNation, dedicated to empowering America’s youth as a response to financial illiteracy problems indicative of this era in our country.

She says this of her company, “SmartChoiceNation is a —especially women to make smarter financial and life skills choices. Our goal is to build a nation of students and parents well equipped to make smart money and life choices. We create products to teach critical financial, economic, and business literacy skills with an entrepreneurial foundation to parents and their children”.

Readers will enjoy the vibrant details from the work of illustrator, Aniekan Udofia, a Nigerian a muralist/visual artist and painter. Truly, the color is what readers will latch onto as they stay with Ayo in his day. Illustrator, Udofia, brings the clanging quarters to life as they begin to add up in the glass money jar. Ayo is helpful and responsible in his home and we see a father giving him thumbs up. We see the joyful eyes of the man Ayo shares his wealth with, presumably homeless. It appears that this specific act of giving came from Ayo himself, though giving is modeled in the home. The catchy “Give, Grow, Get” repeats throughout the book.

What a healthy thing to show children, though, that it is not only about amassing. The chart of the three G’s is placed to look like a peace sign and certainly managing resources like Ms.Fadirepo lays-out, creates a healthy flow.

What is interesting to me is that the author created this book out of seeing a lack of books presenting diverse main characters within any financially-minded set of themes. To me that means any children of color or unique culture may not see any characters wisely handling money or even bringing money to the table, so to speak.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.


I wonder how her own Ayo views this book. My children enjoyed it, both with their different set of skills. There seems to be something each age/skill set can grasp onto. I do appreciate the color coding of these three G-words.

For us, a family living and mangaing our yen in Japan, this was a great book for sharing more on the US dollar and coins. It could be a whole lesson on money in various parts of the world. In fact, my husband had some Korean Won from his recent work trip. As we speak they are comparing coins from Singapore, South Africa, and America. These 3-G concepts are universal. It would be neat to have a pen pal and hear how he/she earns, give, and spends his/her money.

More Extension Ideas: 

I suggest using your own glass jar and real quarters for the real clangety-clang and hands-on money and math benefits. Readers could identify and pull-out quarters from a pile of varied coins and plop them in the jar along with Ayo. They could count, putting in and taking out. At the end of the reading, kids could adopt the glass jar for their own growing, as well.

Read or re-read the gorgeous classic, A Chair for My Mother. In it, the main characters, also diverse, save and save in their own glass jar.

Families can up their giving and brainstorm healthy ways for their money to flourish in the hands of people and organizations with real needs. Often times, kids are much more generous that we even realize. (Personally, I want our own kids to see us model each stage of the 3 Gs. I want to show them that we have the faith to know our own needs will be supplied, even and especially when we are generous with others).

In a class or family setting, the teacher or parent could record money earned, for what jobs or activities, and then record everyone’s tales of how they shared, helping others, and how their money was spent. It would be awfully cute and rewarding to see what toys, supplies, or accessories children were choosing. Additionally, it would be neat to record who was choosing to save their money a little longer, holding off on spending in lieu of more growing.


What kind of jar will you and your child start plunking coins into?

Kudos to the author and illustrator for teaming up. Kudos to Ms. Fadirepo for building a legacy that will be marked by wisdom and generosity. May her work on this book and within SmartChoiceNation avail much.

Get your copy of the book here with follow-up activities. connect with the author:

Learn about resources to teach kids about money via Charlene’s blog.

The book’s official website 

Connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter                                                 

Truly, children must see parents work so hard, saving and spending. But sadly, I have to think, many children must also be aware of the poor choices their parents must make in the financial department. How exciting that even at a young age, children from every can be in control of their energy and resources, choosing how they add up, trade, and give away their money. Imagine the #adulting hashtags they will be able to type.


Here is the one we’re using: #ReadYourWorld

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators. 

Gifts & Loot Links:

Teachers!  Free Multicultural Books for you found here.

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators! 

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents

Take advantage! Until next year’s diverse reviews!

We’ll see how much money , giving, and saving we’ve accrued!


Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Thank you!

The Dang Teeth

I know I keep writing about teeth! How weird, as if I have a thing for teeth, some latent dentistry dream or I don’t know, teeth are weird. I picture those terrifying (sorry, we’re not supposed to say that about someone’s else’s food) guinea pigs on the fire spit, roasting on a rotisserie in Peru and all that is left of their pet-ness is those dang horrible buck teeth!

Well, I love my daughter, and she has lovely lovely teeth, but it’s just strange the way they keep coming up (dental pun). She has lost a total of three teeth and we have no teeth here in a case or bag or whatever to speak of. The first was accidentally eaten. The second was accidentally thrown away. The third got accidentally cleaned up by the cleaning woman who comes every Thursday. I have put more hours and mental energy into finding these teeth than I would a lost puppy. (Okay, obviously not true).


But a few days ago, wrecked from the accidental throwing away from being bandaged up with wads of toilet paper like a tooth mummy, I went a bit nuts. My son had just chucked his sister’s newly lost tooth across the room in a moment of anger. I hunted that dang tooth down, finally spotting it in the fruit bowl next to bananas.

The girl with the gaping hole was still so jarred through the tooth-somewhere-in- bags-of-garbage incident that she wrote ALL OVER a double seal, non-generic fancy plastic bag that it was hers and that she would be so mad if anything happened to it. Well, she showed her grandma here, her Obaachan, and bless that sweet, beautiful woman, Baba held it in her hands, turning it over and marveling at that cute, tiny white thing. She really took her time, over and over, just stupified over the size and perfection of it, maybe. It is a bone. A tooth is the same calcium structure of a bone and we put it under a pillow and request something for it. A bone on the outside, inside of our body.

Well, that wonderful Baba of ours set it back down on the table and then…it was gone. Poof. Back on my hands and knees, mumbling and dismayed, back crawling under the lunch table for a white crumb that is really bone and should be washed and placed under the cool underside of her pillow like yesterday.

I pictured it caught up in Baba’s mustardy cowl-neck. I obsesseved over it. I pictured it stuck at the top of her sock for however long it could hold out on her walk and train ride home from our house. And then we all realized that probably, absolutely our cleaning woman must have swept it off of the dining room table and into a dust bin.

Sigh. It is fine. It is a dumb little bone, but it was my girl’s and I totally know the size and the shape.


The tooth fairy should resist, really, not leave a cent or a yen or any sweet, what with n’ery any teeth for her to see. Not from any of them. That woman (T.T.F.) is either a sucker or very bright; she stocked that underside of the pillow with three kinds of candy and a verbal note (nor written) that these candies were given to quicken the process of losing teeth—by rotting them out. 

The next tooth that comes out I may just lock in my own safe. (After I buy one). It’s easier that way.


If not totally obvious, I think this growing up and out is just making an impression.

Here was another piece in Brain, Child–and o course, it’s about teeth. (It’s getting creepy, I know).

Doesn’t help that we are in love with Junie B. Jones’ voice and we are SAVORING this one book in the series where Junie loses her top tooth & is afraid she’ll look like toothless Uncle Lou.

Anyway, all of this is just preparing me for the day I need to take my girl out for a bra and face toner. No tooth fairy for the preteen negotiations, though there should be. High five.