Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Top Five Books on Producers and Consumers

Click on the title for each book to see book cover and more details.

Title: Hiromi's Hands
Author: Lynne Barasch
Publisher: Lee & Low Books

ISBN: 978-1-58430-275-9
Year: 2007

Concepts:  producers, consumers, jobs, services, markets, economics of gender

Review:   Akira Suzuki grew up in Japan in a rural household with seven siblings.  He quickly understood the importance of money because his family had very little of it.  Among his favorite activities were trips with his mother to the fishmonger; the mounds of fish enthralled him, and his mother’s encouragement to become a sushi chef fueled his dreams. He ultimately did become a sushi chef in a Tokyo restaurant, but it took years of training and working twelve-hour days, with only one day off a month.  Even longer work days followed when he moved to the restaurant’s New York City location.

Years later, after Akira married and became a father, his daughter Hiromi insisted that he take her to the fish market.  After all, her father worked so hard she almost never saw him, and something about the fish market intrigued her.  What started as a love of spending time with him, learning about the best fish to buy, subsequently turned into a request that he teach her how to become a sushi chef.  How would her father respond given that virtually all sushi chefs were men and traditional Japanese beliefs held that a woman’s soft, warm hands would spoil the fish?

Hiromi’s Hands is superb.  Based on a true story, this book makes an excellent vehicle for teaching children about non-traditional career opportunities for women in the labor market.  With closely intertwined lessons about work ethic and Japanese customs and carefully-researched illustrations, this book has enough interesting substance to appeal to a wide readership.

Review by: The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

  A Cup for Everyone
Author and Illustrator:  Yusuke Yonezu
Publisher:  minedition
ISBN: 978-0-698-40091-7
Year:  2008
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  2.5

Concepts:  producers, consumers, suppy and demand, innovation

Review: Pucca, a young penguin with a penchant for creativity, enjoyed watching his father sculpt and paint handmade cups that he sold in town.  Unfortunately, business had slowed down because everyone in town had already purchased a cup, so Pucca’s father packed up and left for the next village in search of new customers. Determined to change this situation, Pucca experimented with his father’s special clay and paints until he designed a custom-made parrot cup that Ms. Parrot adored.  As word got around, the demand for Pucca’s innovative designs soared.  Would there be enough new orders to support his father’s business?  

This outstanding book gets top marks for its clever story that features important ideas in economics related to innovation, supply, and demand.  The illustrations, marvelously creative and irresistible, may very well leave readers wishing for their own custom-made cups.

Review by:
  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book

Title: Abuela's Weave
Author: Omar Castañeda
Illustrator:  Enrique Sanchez
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
ISBN: 1-880000-00-8
Year: 1993
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 5.2

Concepts: producers, consumers, human resources, markets

Summary: A young Guatemalan girl and her grandmother grow closer as they weave some special creations and then make a trip to the market in hopes of selling them.

Source of Summary: Publisher

How to Get This Book

Title: Yoshi's Feast
Author:  Kimiko Kajikawa
Illustrator:  Yumi Heo
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
ISBN: 0-7894-2607-2
Year: 2000
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  3.1

Concepts: externality, consumers, producers

Summary: When Yoshi's neighbor, Sabu, the eel broiler, attempts to charge him for the delicious smelling aromas he has been enjoying, Yoshi hatches a plan to enrich them both.

Source of Summary: Publisher

How to Get This Book

  When the Bees Fly Home
Author:  Andrea Cheng
llustrator:  Joline McFadden
Publisher:  Tilbury House
ISBN: 0-88448-238-3
Year: 2002
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  3.9

Concepts: markets, human resources, producers and consumers

Summary:  When Jonathan's mom stays up late one night to make beeswax candles to sell at the local farmer's market, Jonathan comes downstairs to help.  He puts his own skills to work modeling small wax animals and insects to decorate the candles -- which prove so popular that they come home from the market with orders for lots more.

Source of Summary: Publisher

How to Get This Book