Some advice about life to someone too young to understand

I have written another children’s book as my two youngest grandchildren turned one. This is the note I therefore wrote to the artist who did the pictures for Economics for infants.

If I haven’t told you this already, what I liked most about your artistry for Economics for Infants is that you got the point exactly right in each of the drawings. There were no end of concepts I have a serious problem explaining to students who study economics with me. But you, who only read the primitive text with no outside explanation, got it exactly right. I now use some of your drawings in my class.

So now I am attaching another children’s book, which I have titled, My First Book of Economics. And while it’s also designed as a “children’s” book, it is as much for adults as anyone. It is about the basics of how a modern economy works, with people exchanging what they produce – such as a series of drawings – for money, and then how the money is used to buy things the artist wants for himself – such as a ticket to the movies. We are all both producers and buyers, and the only reason most of us can become buyers is we were producers first. That is the story, and the book is attached which I am hoping you will also illustrate as you did the first.

I will also add this which you may not appreciate since you are still young but I only too well understand since I am no longer young. And that is you never know what will eventually have made your life extraordinary to yourself when you yourself are old. But the fact that you have this amazing artistic talent is something that ought to give you pleasure in itself, but also is something for which others will recognise you for, and from which you can gain an infinite amount of life satisfaction. There are people whose names are only known today because they illustrated children’s books a hundred years ago. You should look up the name John Tenniel as an example of what I mean. I am not Lewis Carroll but you might well be a modern Tenniel. I can only hope you take up this commission and find the time to illustrate this book, and I can only hope you are as inspired this time as you were last time.

BTW Economics for Infants would make a very good Christmas present for like-minded friends not to mention for those who are not. And it’s not really for the children anyway. But you will have to wait till next year for My First Book of Economics and that will depend on whether I can get someone to do the pictures.

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