Dover native teaches kids money sense with new book

Jasmine Paul’s new children’s book “A Boy, A Budget, and a Dream” to teach children the importance of financial literacy and money management.

DOVER — Kass budgets her money carefully and expects her brother Joey to do the same. But Joey spends every dollar he earns. When he realizes he hasn’t saved enough money to pay for something he’s been dreaming about, Joey must either learn to budget or risk giving up his dream.

These aren’t real people, but simply characters from Jasmine Paul’s new children’s book “A Boy, A Budget, and a Dream” to teach children the importance of financial literacy and money management.

The book was released in November and is for ages 4-8.

“It’s a fun and easy way that children can comprehend basic money management skills,” the Dover native said.

Currently, Ms. Paul is a certified financial education instructor in central Florida. She promotes money wellness and creativity through her business, CreateFinStew. Through workshops, books, speaking engagements, and group coaching, she encourages families to creatively have healthy money conversations early and often, which was the inspiration for her book.

“Understanding basic money concepts like saving, investing and giving can save someone a lifetime of headaches and heartaches,” Ms. Paul said. “In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority study, over 53% of adults say thinking about their financial situation makes them anxious. Forty-four percent say discussing their finances is stressful.”

“If we can encourage people, especially the youth, to talk about money more often in healthy ways, we can decrease anxiety and alleviate the stress money brings to most families.”

Ms. Paul felt a children’s book was the perfect solution.

The characters Joey and Kass teach kids the basics of saving money.

“Honestly, I came home from work one evening and started writing a story of siblings learning about money,” Ms. Paul said. “I finished writing it in an hour and put it on my bookshelf last November because I didn’t know where to start.”

“This past May, I began reading hundreds of children’s books, dove headfirst into learning more about picture book writing and character development,” she added.

“I became a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, found Bobbie Hinman, a book editor, joined April Cox’s author workgroup, hired Jose Nieto as my illustrator, and the rest was history.”

She said the writing process took about five months to complete but knew the best way to convey her message was to make it a picture book.

“The characters in the book, Joey and Kass, are inspired by my really good friend’s twins and my little sister and I’s relationship,” Ms. Paul said. “I wanted to show the power between siblings and how kids can learn from each other.

“Picture books are a great way to learn how to read and comprehend complex money concepts. I love reading books and I especially love reading picture books.”

Ms. Paul believes a picture says 1,000 words.

“I chose a picture book to articulate basic money concepts to this age group,” Ms. Paul said.

“According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 11% of children’s books featured African-American characters as the main character in 2019. I wanted to promote diversity to all families because inclusion and equity are essential for financial education.”

She said the reception has been great.

“It’s been fantastic,” Ms. Paul said. “‘A Boy, a Budget, and a Dream’ received 41 reviews on Amazon in less than 72 hours. The e-Book was downloaded over 500 times in 48 hours, and received 675 likes across social media. Seagram Escapes Holiday Market featured my business, CreateFinStew, as part of their Black woman-owned business campaign powered by “Real Housewives of Atlanta” stars Cynthia Bailey and Eva Marcille.’

Ms. Paul plans to implement the book into classrooms moving forward.

“Currently, I am in the middle of a classroom campaign with a goal to sponsor 30 classrooms with “A Boy, a Budget, and a Dream” by the end of 2020,” Ms. Paul said.

“We currently have nine classrooms supported. I’m working on a Spanish translation of the book and developing Kass’s money journey into a second book, which I hope both will be available in 2021.”

The book is available at createfinstew.com/shop or Amazon.com and search, “A Boy, a Budget, and a Dream.”

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.