The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil

Teach Your Students About Economics

A free lesson plan for you. Free books for them. Economic education for everybody.

In 1958, Leonard Read, the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote the now-classic essay "I, Pencil" to teach others about how the free market works and why it is the key to human prosperity. This free book brings the classic story to life for kids age 5-10.

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A project of ATKE

The details

How it works

Our generous donors have made it possible to provide free copies of this fun, illustrated book to each of your students. Here's how it works:

  1. Fill out the quick signup form.
  2. We'll contact you to get a few more details about your class.
  3. You will be emailed a teacher's guide lesson plan (Common Core-aligned, if needed) containing a variety of information and age-appropriate activities to help you discuss the free market with your students.
  4. We will send you a package containing a copy of the book for each student, along with a few extra copies for you to keep or share with colleagues.
  5. You fill out a very brief survey after teaching the class to share your feedback and help us improve the program.

The education continues at home; each child keeps their own book and is able to read and continue learning with parents and siblings!


What Your Students Will Learn

What's an economy?

Ethan and Emily, the lead characters, discover how people buying and selling goods and services creates a global, inter-connected economy.

Competition is good

Quality increases and prices decrease through competition, and this in turn leads to cost savings and increased consumer satisfaction.

Division of labor

Nobody could make a pencil entirely on their own—it takes thousands of people working together, dividing the labor up into small tasks.

Spontaneous order

Pencils are made without a Pencil Czar or oversight agency directing their production. This order out of chaos is a feature of the market.

Central planning

Forcing an outcome through government, rather than letting private parties find the best way to allocate resources, rarely ends well.

A path to harmony

The market brings people together in a common cause—people who have never met, or who have different languages, cultures, and religions.

Inspire gratitude and global awareness

Our story helps children appreciate even the common items they have, let alone complex things like cars and houses. More importantly, they become aware of the elaborate processes and millions of people around the world who worked together to produce them.


What other teachers are saying

  • “My students loved this book and we had an engaging discussion about how the everyday products we often take for granted are made and delivered to us.”

    Jenny
    • Jenny R.
    • 4th grade teacher
  • “I read this book with our class and the drawings and story held their attention the entire time. I felt they learned the concepts really well. They're still talking about it!”

    Mariela
    • Mariela D.
    • 2nd grade teacher
  • “Economics for an eight year old? Nobody had thought of this before, but here it is—and it's awesome! This has been such a fun resource for our class.”

    Tom
    • Tom L.
    • 3rd grade teacher
  • “This is seriously such a cute book! More importantly, it's informative—my students liked the activity we did and some did it with their families at home as well.”

    Josephine
    • Josephine A.
    • 5th grade teacher

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does a set of books cost me or my school? We provide copies of the book to each student, along with a few copies for the teacher and a free lesson plan, at no expense. This is a donor-funded program with no financial obligation to you or your school.
  • Can I see what's in the book before I commit? Absolutely! Please email tom@atke.org to request a digital version to review.
  • How long does it take to receive my shipment of books? Two weeks, maximum. We send your order within three business days via USPS media mail, which can take around one week to arrive.
  • What are my obligations? Teachers must distribute the books and implement a lesson of their choosing within one month of receiving the books. Once complete, there will be a very short survey for you to complete to help us improve the program for future teachers.
  • Are the books intended to be kept in the classroom for future use? No, as part of this agreement teachers must provide the books to the children to keep and take home, so they can continue to learn about basic economic ideas on their own time.
  • Can I participate in the program again with my class next year? Absolutely! Because the books are sent home with the children, you can request more books the following year for the new group of students.
  • Do you provide the book in foreign languages? Yes, the book is available in several commonly spoken languages, which we can provide instead of English.

Have a different question? Shoot us an email at teacher@atke.org!

A Note From The Author

Our lives have been improved through the actions of people all over the world working together to produce the products we love and rely on. Sadly, school curricula rarely help children understand how a marketplace of people working together creates prosperity.

That's why we're extremely excited to offer your students this free book, and provide you with a lesson plan to discuss these ideas in a fun, engaging way so your students come away understanding the free market system.
—Connor Boyack

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READY TO BEGIN?

We look forward to supporting your efforts to teach your students about economics.

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