Title: Lucky Beans
Author: Becky Birtha
Illustrator: Nicole Tadgell
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; 2010
Suitable for: 8 and up
Topics: African Americans, US History, Depression Era, Family Life, Arithmetic,
Cold wind ripped through Marshal Loman’s old wool Jacket. The snow froze his toes right through his hand-me-down boots.
During the Great Depression, Marshall, an African American boy, uses lessons learned in arithmetic class and guidance from his mother to figure out how many beans are in a jar in order to win her a new sewing machine in a contest.
Links to resources:
Math possibilities. This book was about estimation. Math 4 Children have estimation activities and work sheets.
Find fun online estimation games at PBS Kids.
Lucky Beans coloring pages
Lesson plans and activities can be found here.
More information about the African American experience during the Great Depression can be found here and here.
The Great Depression: An African American Perspective
Why I like this book:
Anyone who has been hit with hard times will appreciate this story. Lucky Beans is about a young African American boy, Marshall, and how he uses lessons from his math class to help his family, especially his mother, who has had her eyes on a new sewing machine. But times are hard. No work, means no money. No money means little food and definitely no sewing machine for mama. Children are introduced to the Great Depression era and how it affected everyone, especially the African American community. There is a wonderful math lesson included in the story as well. Estimation. Children learn how this important skill helps Marshall and his family through tough economic times.