Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies

S.B. Hilarion
BookBaby (2021)
ISBN: 9780578932781
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views Kids (05/2021)

“Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies” is part of the Raising Young Scholars Series by SB Hilarion. In this third volume, philomaths (lovers of learning and studying) Hao and Sabine receive $500 from the Nascent Scholar Award and $500 from their grandparents. After donating $50 to charity, they use their $950 to buy currencies as they visit six of the seven continents of the world with their family. Along the way, they meet a flamboyant cast of characters that make the journey memorable and fun. Astronaut Maya, Waiter Later, Visitor Fussbudgety, Curator Klimta Picassa, Faerie, Chef Moody, and even Dackal the dachshund, add interest and fun to the reading.

There are many elements to enjoy on this journey. First and foremost are all the colorful banknotes and coins! The author notes that the designs a country selects for its currency reveals how that country wants to be seen by the world, which immediately intrigued me. I must admit I scanned through all the pictures first, then went back are read the trivia surrounding the different monies. As I was glancing through all the pictures, I couldn’t help but think the U.S. currency was a bit “drab” compared to some of the currencies around the world. Imagine my delight when I learned Sabine echoed my exact sentiments toward the end of the book! “Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies” is visually ideal and will appeal to kids of all ages!

That said, along with the illustrations, there is a lot of information featured on these pages. It’s definitely not a book to rush through and it’s obvious there were many hours of research involved. It also looks like a lot of love and fun when into the project!

The author makes the amount of information more appealing by adding color blocks of text, like this! This ensures it’s easier to read and highlights information of significance, such as fun facts, opinion, dialogue between the characters, etc. Great feature!  

Reading this book brought me back to my own childhood. My paternal grandfather was a coin collector as a hobbyist after he retired, and the entire basement of his home was devoted to his coins. I remember my brother and I going down to the basement and spending hours looking at the different coins he had catalogued; sometimes he even gave us a bucketful of pennies to go through in search of “wheat” pennies, minted in the U.S. from 1909 to 1956. These pennies depict two stalks of wheat on the reverse side and are said to be more valuable than other pennies. How fun—I hadn’t thought about wheat pennies in years!

There are lots of helpful and fun resources at the end of the book, such as an update from Hao and Sabine on new currencies issued in 2020 and those scheduled to be issued in 2021. A detailed world map spotlights pictures of the currencies in an artistic collage format and continental currency maps make for striking visuals on each chapter’s main page. There’s also a comprehensive glossary by chapter and a bit of trivia fun at the end of the book.

The author originally intended this book for publication in 2020, but, as with many during the uncertainty of a global pandemic, postponed the release and continued working on the manuscript throughout. The result is a deeper appreciation of each one of the countries visited and their contributions to the world. It is the author’s hope this book will allow readers to embrace our differences and similarities all over the world.

“Hao and Sabine Buy the World’s Currencies” is a must-read for all students without a doubt, but I recommend it for all ages! SB Hilarion’s Raising Young Scholars Series is a wonderful series for young learners and I can’t wait to see what Hao and Sabine bring to readers next.

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