Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

Book Summary

All his life, Greg has had a strong relationship with money. Some people even think he's greedy. He has a head for business, the self-discipline to save and plan ahead, and he isn't afraid of the hard work required to make a few extra dollars.  Or, say, eight hundred dollars. 
In the summer after fifth grade, Greg hatches an incredible plan to sell comic books to his classmates.  After all, he likes to draw, and there's no way the principal could object to books in school. At first, his sales are looking good, until suddenly Greg discovers that the annoying girl across the street has made her own mini-comic book.  Greg is prepared for the fight of his life--no way is he going to let Maura steal his great idea.

Lunch Money book cover
Lunch Money

Book Review

This book would be an excellent accompaniment to a unit on economics and business for students.  The vocabulary is accessible, and the elements of this story are all family-friendly. The first four chapters establish Greg's money-centric character and introduce business concepts, and the pacing of this part is slow.  When Maura is introduced as a rival in Chapter Five, the story moves much more quickly.

This story is told from several different points of view--Greg's is the most realistic, but Mr. Z's is the most unusual and interesting.  We also get to see parts of the story through the eyes of Maura and the principal.  The book was illustrated by Brian Selznick, the author/illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but there are surprisingly few illustrations for a book about a comic book business.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Commercialism in Schools
  • Economics; Business Principles
  • Business Ethics; Importance of Money Compared to Other Things
  • Hard Work; Perseverance
  • Changing School Culture
  • Rivalry; Competition
  • Overreaction vs. Self-Control

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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