Isabel's Car Wash
written by Sheila Bair; illustrated by Judy Stead
2008 (Albert Whitman) Paperback just released.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Isabel Dinero needs ten dollars to buy a new doll. Since she has washed several cars with her older brother, Isabel decides to start her own car wash. The first thing she will need are supplies, but shammies and soap cost five dollars and she only has fifty cents. Fortunately, five of her friends are willing to be investors and give her a dollar each to help start the business. Isabel promises to pay them back with interest. The next morning, she starts her car washing business and ends up with twenty customers. With a profit of twenty dollars, Isabel is able to double her investors' money and still have ten dollars left over to buy her doll.
Children can start learning at an early age about financial literacy. Saving and investing are important topics that can be taught through the use of stories like Isabel's Car Wash. I think this book would also be a good source for teaching students about character. Isabel is a plucky youngster who problem solves and shows a lot of grit. These are traits that we certainly want to emphasize in our classrooms. Lessons on sequence and problem/solution could be taught using Isabel's Car Wash. Questions like "What are the steps to starting a business?" or "How/Where do you get the money to start a business?" could be discussed as part of these lessons.
A good companion book for Isabel's Car Wash would be Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.