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Children's book aims to introduce kids to economic concepts

Feb 17, 2015

Credit Photo: Michelle Ann Photography

Michelle Balconi believes you can make economics something to “chat about” – and you can do it in a book aimed at children.

She’s a writer and a mother from Grosse Pointe Park who has teamed up with renowned Reagan administration economist Arthur B. Laffer and Clinton Township artist Mary Kinsora to create the book Let’s Chat About Economics, a nuts-and-bolts guide to economics.

“We have two children and had never had a book that discussed economics, but the idea came from seeing Dr. Laffer speak a few years ago in Detroit and having that feeling that I wish our children were there to see the presentation,” Balconi said.

She said Laffer spoke that night about basic economic principles and the importance of understanding those principles amidst political talk.

After attending the talk, she had “a really great discussion” with her kids and knew that a book would be worthwhile.

With Laffer's help and commitment, Balconi set out to do just that.

“Ultimately we felt that the best introduction of economics was to explain it with everyday scenarios so children wouldn’t have to make a leap or an inference,” she said.

They created four relatable scenarios and planned out the economic lessons of the book, whose intended audience would be families with third, fourth, or fifth graders.

“We’re hoping that kids begin to see the value of themselves," Balconi said. "If they can understand the value and increase in price of red roses in the month of February, we’re also hoping that they can see themselves as a scarce and unique resource that has tremendous value."