Lunch Money

Last updated Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Author: Andrew Clements
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0689866836
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2006

Synopsis: Sixth-grader Greg Kenton has always had a talent for making money. His latest scheme, creating and selling miniature comic books, looks to be a success. However, problems arise when his classmate and longtime nemesis, Maura, competes with him by making her own mini-stories. Even worse, the principal, who believes that comic books are nasty and violent, bans their sale at school. Greg finds inconsistencies in his school's regulations and works toward change. While his intentions at the beginning are purely entrepreneurial, his outlook on money transforms to the philanthropic as he fights for the right to sell his Chunky Comics to his fellow students. Also, his relationship with Maura takes a new turn as the two enemies pool their talents and find a way to get along. The characters are rich with interesting quirks and motivations, including Mr. Z, a blood-phobic math teacher. Along with providing a fast-paced and humorous story line, the author examines concepts of true wealth, teamwork, community mindedness, and the value of creative expression.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book and you will not be able to finish reading the book during the read-aloud time. Aim to read Chapters 1, 2, and 3. Remind the students that this book will be in their library if they would like to finish reading it on their own.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why might Lunch Money be the title of this book?
•  If you could put a picture of someone on a dollar bill (like this kid and his comic book) who would it be? Why?
•  Do you get paid for chores? What do you get paid for doing?
•  If you had fifty dollars, what would you do with it? What are ways that people make money? What would you like to do when you grow up?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What are Greg's goals? What are your goals? What other kinds of things would you like when you grow up? What are some things that money can't buy?
•  How does Greg earn money?
•  What does he like about money?
•  How does Greg discover that school is a good place to make money?
•  What different kinds of things does Greg try and sell at his school?

Craft ideas:
•  Have students think of a product to sell. Draw up a prototype and an ad.
•  Have students create their own money system. What types of bills would they have and what would they look like? Have them draw bills. Bring ahead option: coins and currency from other countries

Special activities:
•  Read beginning of Chapter 4 and then have students create their own comic book.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!