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Thanks, Mate!

A fun story that uniquely merges research on word development & financial literacy to spark needed conversations about early money concepts

Photo of Kevin Mahoney, CFP®
6 2

Written by

“Morning, Mate!”

He heard his sis say.

“Are you excited?

Today’s our big day!”


These city squirrels lived

in a tiny oak tree,

But it was warm and safe

As a home should be.


They had saved seeds

To trade for a treat.

After being so patient

They wanted a sweet.


With a “Woosh!”, they ran off.

But along the way

They passed the playground,

And stopped to play.


Alone on a swing

Sat a new face

A kangaroo from the south

Without friends in this place.


The kangaroo smiled,

“Hi mate, will you help me?”

“I’ve had a long trip

And need food for my belly.“


“Sure, we have enough!”

said Sis, giving a seed.

Mate struggled to share,

But was Roo happy? Yes, INDEED!

[Kangaroo word bubble: "Thanks, mate!"]


With a “Woosh!”, they ran on.

seeds now to take.

When they spotted the park,

And stopped for a break.


Alone in the grass

Sat a new face.

A puffin from the north,

Without friends in this place.


The puffin smiled,

“Hi mate, will you help me?”

“I’ve had a long trip

And need food for my belly.”


Mate took a deep breath,

and tried giving a seed.

His sis felt so proud;

And were all happy? Yes, INDEED!

[Puffin word bubble: "Thanks, mate!"]


With a “Woosh!”, they ran on.

seed still seemed grand.

And their savings was spent

Even better than planned.


Their treat from the market

Was as tasty as guessed.

But it was giving to others

When Mate felt the most blessed.

[Sis word bubble: "Thanks, Mate!"]

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

This story aims to play a role in ending our cultural discomfort with personal financial discussions, which have exacerbated issues such as inequality and poverty. The enjoyable learning and bonding experience that the manuscript creates will lay an early foundation in children for more open discussions about generosity, gratitude, and needs vs. wants.

Share your suggested book title

Thanks, Mate!

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

Research indicates that the number of words spoken by an adult are essential for language learning. This book challenges caregivers to fulfill this role for children, but also gives them the tools and confidence to do so. The primary tool that the book relies on is based on the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy’s “READ” technique. The technique’s steps seem simple, but they’re not intuitive to caregivers who aren’t familiar with the research. To help and guide caregivers, each page in this book also would include an idea for engaging a child on a particular word or concept. This book takes childhood research one step further to focus specifically on early financial and numeracy concepts. Research has shown that, by age 3, children can grasp basic money concepts. Children also understand many numeracy concepts long before they learn formal mathematics in school. Caregivers need to engage in conversations about numeracy and money to make possible future success in these areas.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

My wife attended the University of Pennsylvania for her master’s degree and PhD, so we both spent a significant amount of time in the city during our early careers. She also worked as a nurse at HUP, which enabled her to care for families from around the city. I studied city planning at the time, which provided me with insight into the social and economic factors that have impacted different areas of the city through the years. We now live in Washington, D.C., but we continue to visit our friends and favorite Philadelphia places as often as possible.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

This manuscript is written to provide caregivers with the opportunity to discuss the different experiences of those living in urban contexts. Research shows that, from a very young age, children begin to notice and wonder about certain social issues, many of which are visible and often stark in an urban context. This story carefully includes references to challenging issues such as poverty, inequality, immigration, and hunger, which offers a way for caregivers to introduce these topics on their own terms. Many caregivers also may see their own experiences reflected in some of these elements, and they should feel empowered to give voice to these experiences if they so desire.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I’m a Certified Financial Planner who, two years ago, started a company specifically designed to help young families with their financial challenges. When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I spent significant time researching the new financial decisions that our family would need to make. How much more stressed must parents who don’t have a background in finance feel? I believe that my company’s responsibility should extend beyond its clients, though; I want to play a role in making discussions about money more common and honest. Most personal financial literature currently addresses adults, who already have formed financial habits and biases. For both my company and me personally, it’s a natural fit to engage children directly, in a fun way that also gives them due credit for how much about the world they observe and absorb.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Author: Fatherly, Kiplinger / Quoted: CNBC, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Investor's Business Daily, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I'm a small business owner


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Kevin, noticed you have managed to kill several birds with one stone. Well done. Story line captures the idea of sharing/generosity, the aspect of diversity

Photo of Kevin Mahoney, CFP®

Thanks, Ashanti! Hopefully, you find at least some of them subtle. I want to give caregivers the ability to emphasize the topics that most resonate with them.

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Wonderful. Well done Kevin. Hope they will as you say. I agree.
Can you share your thoughts on my story

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