Imagine teaching your children about the benefits and how-to’s of saving, earning, and spending money with the help of a pair of superheroes.
Two Okanagan women had such a vision.
They got a story down on paper and have come up with a book that, without being made public, has found its way onto a best sellers list.
Kristine Lidstone of Vernon, and Kirsten Regel of Kelowna – both employees of VantageOne Credit Union – are the co-authors of The Adventures of Cashman and Supersaver. Their book introduces children to the basic financial concepts of earning, spending and saving money.
“Kirsten and I came up with the idea a few years ago,” said Lidstone, who has been making live presentations on the subjects to school-aged kids for years. “We wanted to do something that would have a big impact on children and their knowledge of financial literacy. We decided to write a children’s book using characters that were timeless. That’s where the superheroes come into play.”
So, to the spoiler alert.
The book is about one of the superheroes wanting to buy a bicycle, and figure out ways to get money to purchase it. Along the way, they are helped by their dog and cat friends, Loonie and Toonie.
When the reader gets to the end of the book, they can practice what they’ve learned with some fun, interactive learning worksheets. There’s also a QR Code the reader can scan that will take them to the VantageOne financial literacy web page.
The book is aimed at kids aged three to 12 and both women have received positive feedback from the target demographic.
”I told the story in my elementary school preentations and received feedback from the kids and the teachers saying that these were relatable characterss and had brought up more conversation about money,” said Lidstone. “Kirsten read the story to her two sons, who had some great suggestions. I read it to my granddaughters who also had some input and loved the fun worksheets.
“We wanted the kids to love the characeters, understand the messages, start the earning, spending and saving conversations and have some fun with the worksheets.”
Added Regel: “It aligns nicely with presentations Kristine is doing, and the work she’s been building up with the school district over the past 17 years.”
Originally, the women thought they would be self-publishing. But when the idea and final draft of the book was pitched to VantageOne CEO Glenn Benischek and the company board of directors, the women went a different route.
“Glenn said he thought we had something here,” said Regel. “Our book was taken to Friesen Press (based in Manitoba).”
The fabulous illustrations in the book were done by Vernon designer Stephanie Tambellini.
The ladies have 500 copies of the book on their first order, and the book is available for purchase on Indigo, Coles and Amazon sites. Okanagan branches of the Okanagan Regional Library will have the book available to be put into kits and taken out, and Lidstone and Regel are hopeful to get their book on the shelves of Vernon School District libraries.
Before the book is released to the public, the ladies have found The Adventures of Cashman and Supersaver on the Friesen Press best seller list for three weeks.
“The reaction (to the book) has been wild, especially because we haven’t officially launched,” said Regel. “We’ve talked to staff, updated our board, and when we sit down and talk to people about why we built the book, people go crazy. They say they ‘wish we had this in school.’”
The book rolled out to VantageOne staff Nov. 1 and 2, and there will be a public launch Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the VantageOne main branch in Vernon on 33rd Street.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to VantageOne’s Boost Kids Club.