Can comic books teach kids money skills?

Parents and educators have long known that comic books can improve children’s reading literacy. Now there’s one that can boost their financial literacy, too.

Summer was made for reading. That’s how I’ve felt ever since I was a kid on summer break, and my brother and I would gorge ourselves on Archie and Richie Rich comics that we borrowed from the library. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we both grew up to be voracious readers — and it’s a trick that parents and experts are learning to capitalize on.

So it should come as no surprise that there’s now a Marvel comic, produced in conjunction with Visa, that not only encourages kids to read — but also teaches them about money. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket’s Powerful Plan, and it’s available for free online.

The story features the motley crew of Guardian characters (Rocket, Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax the Destroyer) along with special appearances from Ant-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Hulk — with many financial concepts woven right into the plot. There’s also a handy list of financial terms and a few money-related puzzles and games at the back.

The major comic book franchises have a long history of incorporating kid-friendly lessons into their narratives — from the obvious ones of good versus evil and the value of being different — to more pointed discussions about drugs. In the early 1970s, for example, Marvel tackled the matter in The Amazing Spider-Man, as did DC Comics with its Green Lantern issue, ”The Shocking Truth about Drugs.” So a comic that explains the ins and outs of finances isn’t that far of a stretch. (Indeed, one can similarly imagine an issue entitled “The Shocking Truth about Debt.”)

And, as I’ve previously written, there’s a long tradition of children’s fiction that includes money themes and financial lessons. So go hit the library and get your kids reading this summer — even if it’s just comic books. They’ll get in the habit of reading for pleasure, and they may just learn something, too.

Keep the conversation going

Did you read comic books when you were a kid? What were your favourites? Post a comment below.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of CPA Canada.

About the Author

Tamar Satov

Managing Editor, CPA magazine
Tamar is a journalist specializing in business, parenting and personal finance. She blogs regularly in this space with advice and anecdotes on her efforts to raise a money-smart kid.

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