Show Me The Money
Wild Dog, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
For hundreds of years goods and services have been exchanged for money, and “cash is king” was an oft-used slogan. But since the advent of ubiquitous digital devices and particularly the outbreak of the pandemic, how we now pay for those same goods and services has changed dramatically. Payment has become almost invisible as we tap-and-go, use afterpay and seemingly go to a machine in a wall that dispenses money on the insertion of a card. Will there soon come a day when our little people will never know the thrill of tinkling coins in their pocket or the smell and feel of a crisp new note? Already the excitement of finding a threepence or even a sixpence in the Christmas pudding seems to be a memory reserved for us oldies!
Much of Australia’s history and heritage is told in our currency and this wonderful book collects it up and packages it in an accessible read for young independent readers who want and need to know more about this thing that makes the world go round, that seems to be the driving force behind every decision that governs their lives right down to how well their school library is resourced. Going back to the days before European arrival when First Nations followed trade routes along sacred paths and songlines where knowledge and stories were traded as much as goods and goodies, the story of Australia’s currency has been traced through to the recent introduction of New Generation banknotes that are almost indestructible and counterfeit-proof, providing a solid foundation for a fascinating investigation of this essential part of our lives.
Using the resources of the Royal Australian Mint , this book uses clear, sharp illustrations of our notes and coins which are clearly labelled to explain their different features and icons as well as the stories of some of those featured on them. There are defined rules for the production of our banknotes and those who can be featured on them so this book also serves as a springboard for students to design a range of new notes, investigating and justifying their design choices.
An understanding of money, how it is earned and spent, budgeted and used is an essential life skill that we can and must teach children from an early age, even if it seems like our transactions for goods and services are seamless and almost magical these days. Using this book as an introduction and a springboard to all sorts of investigations would be a logical starting point.