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Correction to This Article
The age of Michelle Singletary's daughter, Jillian, was misidentified in the photo caption of this article. It has been corrected.

A Book Club Kids Can Really Get Into

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Beware parents, your children are under attack.

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The predators -- advertisers, credit card issuers, retailers -- are waging a war, and if they can get to your child early enough, they can do a lot of harm.

So when you're tucking in your young ones at night and reaching for a bedtime story, add to the nightstand a collection of books that will entertain them yet also protect them from those intent on turning them into lifelong debtors and uncontrolled consumers.

And I have just the books -- "The Millionaire Kids Club" series by Susan Beacham and Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (Advantage World Press). These books are my choice for the Color of Money Book Club for April, which is National Financial Literacy Month. The books are available online at Amazon.com, http://www.msgen.com or http://www.themoneycoach.net.

Beacham is chief executive and founder of Money Savvy Generation, a company that develops products to teach children basic personal finance principles. Khalfani-Cox is a personal finance expert and the best-selling author of "Zero Debt."

"The Millionaire Kids Club" books, written for children ages 3 to 12, are about four friends, each with a different money personality. Sandy is a saver. Dennis likes to donate. Stephanie likes to spend, and Isaiah likes to invest. Together, these multiracial friends formed a club to talk about money-related issues.

Before I selected these paperbacks, I wanted to field test the series. Each book is 32 pages with large, colorful illustrations. Without any discussion, I plopped the volumes on the table one evening while my 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son were doing their homework. I didn't tell them what the books were about. No lecture. I just asked them to read the three books and let me know what they thought.

They loved them.

Well, my daughter had one criticism. "I thought the kids had big heads," Jillian said.

But she quickly added: "I thought the books were a fun way to learn how to save money."

"I thought they were really awesome," my son, Kevin, said.

Jillian particularly liked volume 2, "Putting the 'Do' in Donate," which has an endearing story line about the kids trying to raise money for a cash-strapped food pantry.

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