In a topic uncommon for most children’s books, Pat Segadelli’s new “Gio & Banks: Scarcity, Choices, and Tradeoffs” introduces important economic concepts through a relatable story.
Segadelli, a graduate of Gonzaga University, teaches AP Macroeconomics and AP World History at Gonzaga Prep, and his wife Ashley is a former second-grade teacher. Two years ago, they decided to combine their areas of expertise.
“We started to come up with a children’s book series that introduced some basic economic concepts to a second- or third-grade audience because there’s not a lot of financial literacy in the classroom,” Segadelli, 35, said.
Their idea was just that – an idea – until the pandemic hit. The pandemic provided people with free time to follow ideas that they were previously too busy to pursue, and that was the case for the Segadellis.
“We thought that we should try to make something of the idea,” Segadelli said. “And so throughout the last 22 months, we got our manuscript edited, and we are doing the best we can to market it.”
“Gio & Banks” follows a young boy, Gio, who struggles with decision-making in moving to New York with his mom. Gio expresses his frustration that he wasn’t able to bring all his toys with him during the move.
However, a friendly bear, Banks, teaches Gio the concept of scarcity. He explains in simple terms that economics is about scarcity and choices. Banks says, “The mini basketball hoop you couldn’t bring with you when you moved … are your tradeoffs – what you had to give up.”
Although topics like scarcity can be intricate and confusing, Segadelli reaches audiences through charismatic characters and bright illustrations.
Segadelli hopes that in making economic concepts easy to understand, students will be more informed decision-makers later in life.
“It’s important to get students to understand what economics is but more importantly what economics is not,” he said.
Segadelli said a common misconception about economics is that it only involves money. However, he describes economics as “the study of people, the study of choices, decisions and how people interact within a society.”
Segadelli hopes if teachers have “Gio & Banks” in their classrooms, students will understand how to make important choices.
Segadelli said in the classrooms where “Gio & Banks” has been read, feedback was positive. “It generated a lot of productive conversations the teachers say they wouldn’t already be having,” he said.
The Segadellis hope they can transform the “Gio & Banks” concept into a book series with each book introducing a new topic. Segadelli said the next installment in the series might introduce the concept of supply and demand.
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