What You Need to Know:|
• Middle school takes a back seat to stock trading when 7th grader, Lindy, is stuck at home with mono.
• Wall Street terms like Nasdaq, margins, hedging, and short selling are used and explained throughout the story.
• There are references to the fact that Lindy is Jewish, but it doesn't play a major role in the story.
• Check out the curriculum guide with activities that meet Common Core State Standards.
• It's a great choice for classroom or book group discussions.
• To learn more about The Short Seller, listen to this NPR interview with the author.
Warning: readers may ask for $100 when they read this book. At least that's what happened in my house! It wasn't for a toy or a game, though. It was to use for investing, just like Lindy does in The Short Seller. Of course, things get a little out of control for Lindy, so make sure your child understands all the rules of trading, even the boring ones.
Lindy is a pretty typical 7th grader until she comes down with a case of mono. She's bored and lonely, so when her father asks for some help with his stock orders, it's a welcome diversion. When she gets $100 to pick her own stocks, her interest grows. Before long, though, it becomes more of a habit than a hobby, and she's in the hole for $25,000 of her parents' money. Suddenly, in addition to normal struggles with school, friendships, and siblings, Lindy is struggling with more grown up concerns like earning back her losses and avoiding legal trouble.
The Short Seller maintains a good balance of educational value and pleasure reading, as it offers a valuable introduction to the stock market and a realistic portrayal of middle school life. While it raises interesting ethical questions about borrowing, betting, and greed, it also presents positive examples of friendship, loyalty, trust, and compassion. Despite a few unbelievable coincidences and a cover that looks a little juvenile for the topic, this book will make kids think and is definitely a worthwhile read. The only thing I might have added is a glossary of terms in the back - maybe in the next edition?
Elissa Brent Weissman
2013, 256 pages
Character/Values, Ethics, Friendship, Math, School
• Does Lindy's dad do the right thing when he encourages her to trade stocks?
• Why does Lindy think the math used in stock trading is more interesting than the math she learns in school?
• What would you do with your time if you had mono and had to stay home from school?
• Who is to blame for the fall out between Steph and Lindy?
• Do you think that Lindy gets addicted to trading stocks?
• How is stock trading different from gambling?
• Are you a risk taker? What are some situations where you have taken risks?
• In what ways are Steph and Cassie different in how they treat Lindy?
• As Lindy's tutor suggests, what's more unpredictable the stock market or middle schoolers?
• Is it ever OK to borrow something, money or possessions, from someone without asking?
• Should Lindy have been convicted of insider trading?
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