By Julie Kish
FINNA LIT: Creativity. Entrepreneurship. Lifestyle. Money
A 42-page picture book written by Sean Lewis
Tellwell Publishing, 2023
Scarborough teacher and writer Sean Lewis is grateful for the financial hardships he faced growing up poor in Scarborough. It inspired him to write a dynamic and engaging picture book that teaches young people about money.
The book FINNA LIT (short for Financial Literacy) is written for students aged 9 to 13 and uses colourful illustrations and straightforward dialogue to teach the reader valuable lessons.
When Sean, a Grade 7/8 teacher at Knob Hill Public School, realized his students had limited knowledge of money matters, he immersed himself in discovering a way to bring financial literacy lessons into the classroom. He introduced his students to the stock market, and they had fun investing with fake money. His fascination with the television show “Shark Tank” ignited his entrepreneurial spirit, and he wanted to instill this spark in his students.
Sean grew up in a Scarborough home that didn’t always have adequate food. There was a time when he and his family were homeless and lived in a shelter motel on Kingston Road. At 16, he had his first job and contributed half of his income to the household. He is grateful for the financial hardships he faced growing up and for the lessons he learned.
Young people will be able to relate to the storyline in FINNA LIT, which begins with the main character, Dell, trying to make enough money to buy a trendy hoodie and cool shoes. He uses his wits and creativity to make money but changes his mind about how to spend it.
He decides he wants to run his own business and uses the money to move closer to achieving this goal. Dell has a no-quit work ethic and learns to deal with obstacles and setbacks. He also teaches his friend Link how to be more financially responsible.
Brightly coloured and skillfully drawn illustrations accompany the engaging storyline. Sean worked closely with the illustrator to ensure there were plenty of small details to delight the readers.
He plans to introduce the book to his students and intends to write a series of picture books teaching more financial literacy lessons. He is writing a teaching guide with specific learning objectives to help other teachers use FINNA LIT in a classroom setting.
Parents will also find this book invaluable when helping their children learn to be financially responsible. Sean believes teaching young people to make intelligent choices with their money can help them become economically independent.
FINNA LIT is available for purchase online at Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.ca.