CHERISSE L BERKELEY
Through the eyes of a child, money has no end. The concept of money can be tricky even for adults.
One single father from Barataria is on a mission to change the way children think of and interact with money.
Asif Cassim is the author of the ABCs of Money, a children's book series that teaches children everything they need to know about money. The 29-year-old father of one said he was inspired by his three-year-old daughter, Raina.
"I want to raise my daughter in such a way that she has not only school skills but life skills as well."
On reflection of his younger days Cassim said, "I realised, growing up we lacked some type of education away from schooling. Knowing about money is something I wished I knew earlier. I want to help the younger generation so when they become teenagers and adults they won't be starting from ground zero."
The book series teaches children as young as four how to use, budget, save, and invest money.
Cassim described the series as a build-up. Book one gives children aged four-eight a break down of money. It teaches the different notes and coins that the Central Bank uses.
In the first volume of the series, children learn how to pay and calculate change using note denomination. The book has activities based on realistic examples of transactions that people do on a daily basis.
"It's not a novel or a storybook it's an activity book with mathematical problems in it," Cassim said.
Children also learn how to use notes or coins to make up a higher money value. Giving an example he said, "You know how, five 20s make up $100 or two 25-cent coins make up 50 cents."
The series uses illustrations by Jason Windsor to captivate young readers.
Cassim, whose dream job was to be a teacher, holds a masters in economics. His career started at the Economic Advisory Board, then he move on to the health economic unit. He has been in the marketing department of Republic Bank for the past three years.
Asked why he chose to write a book series he said, "I don't see the purpose of having knowledge and not distributing it." He said because he never fulfilled his dream of being a teacher he started to think about ways he could start being an educator. Realising books are ways to educate, he started using his spare time during the covid19 pandemic to do research on how he could help the up-and-coming generations of children. He then decided to write his book series based on his finance background. He said during his research he did not find any books for children on how money works.
The first-time author has already completed manuscripts for four volumes. He expects volume two to be published in February or early March. Volume two focuses on the use of credit and debit cards.
"Often kids think of cards as just a piece of plastic that can get us anything. They don't know we have to pay with it, or that it has limitations."
Cassim is working with his illustrator and publishers to bring the third and fourth volumes to a reality.