Everyday the Dow Falls Further, and the Bad News Spreads
to Europe, Asia, and back around the world to our own retirement plans here. How can we explain this to students? How can we locate what is going on right now, in the crawlers we see on our screens (much less the news on TV or the printed headlines the next day) within the curriculum students get in, say, middle or high school?
Surely every US history teacher has mentioned 1929, and in those high school that have Economics classes, teachers are trained in talking about things like sub-prime mortgages and collateralized debt swaps. But between making the very obvious analogy to the past, and going into technical detail, what can schools offer to their students? What tools do teachers, librarians, authors have to help young people who may not be following the economic news carefully, but may instead have seen families lose homes, lose jobs, or talk about how to tighten the budget and ride out the storm?
Can any librarian post a core list of middle/high school level books that kids should have available? I am thinking of books on 1929, on market cycles, on practical matters like budgeting and larger scale cause and effect matters like how our country faces, and has faced similar crises in the past? In other words — what tools can we give students, and, more broadly, what assurance — how can we place scary news in a larger context of change over time?
This is a perfect moment for nonfiction — our books should offer revealing details, thoughtful context, and a broader perspective, which is just the medicine when the world seems frightening. Suggestions — what nonfiction books should be on display in libraries to help kids think about, and cope with, scary economic times?