Early Elementary Books

Theme: Creative Trades: Bargaining, Bartering, Swapping, and Re-using

A New Coat for Anna - (ISBN: 978-0394898612)

by Harriet Ziefert

When Anna’s mother is unable to buy Anna the promised new winter coat after the war because the stores have nothing for sale, the mother has the idea to swap a gold watch for wool from the sheep farmer. Anna must wait until the wool has grown long in the spring, but she becomes very interested in the sheep. Talk about how one of your parents found an alternate way to obtain something you needed.

But I Wanted a Baby Brother - (ISBN: 978-1416939412)

by Kate Feiffer

Oliver decides to make the best of his new baby sister’s arrival by looking for a place to trade her in for a brother. When he sees a restroom sign that says, “Change babies here,” he is sure he is in the right place. Enjoy this humorous account of how Oliver comes to appreciate his new sibling. What do you wish you could “trade in” from your life?

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World - (ISBN: 978-0679880837)

by Marjorie Priceman

A girl imagines the different countries where she can obtain the ingredients for her everyday apple pie. If you live in a state that produces a specialty fruit or vegetable (or have a favorite fruit you enjoy), try to imagine ingredients from around the world for a recipe using it, just like in this book!

The Birthday Swap - (ISBN: 978-1880000892)

by Loretta Lopez

Since Lori’s sister Cookie has her birthday in the summer, their Mexican-American family gets together near the border for a huge celebration/family reunion. While Lori struggles to come up with an appropriate present for her older sister, she gets a surprise herself. Cookie decides to swap birthdays with Lori, who has a winter birthday, so the celebration can be in her honor! This book is also available in Spanish: <i>Que Sorpresa De Cumpleanos!/Birthday Swap</i>.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish - (ISBN: 978-0060587031)

by Neil Gaiman

Nathan really wants his friend’s goldfish, but it takes him a while to come up with something to trade that appeals to his friend. When he offers his silent father, the friend agrees! When she gets home, Nathan’s mother demands that Nathan get his father back. So off he goes, only to find that his friend has already swapped the father for a guitar! Enjoy the humorous hurdles Nathan has to go through just to get his father back.

The Rag Coat - (ISBN: 978-0316574075)

by Lauren Mills

When Anna combats her classmates’ teasing about her new quilted coat made of rags by telling the stories that come with each fabric piece, her cohorts become interested in the background of the coat and stop teasing her. If your family has old quilts, ask your mother or grandmother where the pieces came from.

And What Comes After a Thousand? - (ISBN: 978-1933605272)

by Anette Bley

The Junkyard Wonders - (ISBN: 978-0399250781)

by Patricia Polacco

The Monster Who Ate My Peas - (ISBN: 978-1561455331)

by Danny Schnitzlein

The Sandwich Swap - (ISBN: 978-1423124849)

The Thrift Store Bears - (ISBN: 978-0974895406)

by Olive Evans

Tucker Pfeffercorn: An Old Story Retold - (ISBN: 978-0316585422 )

by Barry Moser

Activities for this Theme

Read a Sesame Street classic tale about trading one’s possessions to buy a loved one a gift. Ask older family members to share the voices in the reading.


Have an apple tasting contest at your next neighborhood or family get together, just like the one in Marjorie Priceman’s book.


Make a paper quilt craft using these instructions and ideas as inspiration. 


Have you ever traded your Halloween candies with your brothers and sisters? Do you sometimes have leftover treats after the holidays? Explore other ideas for how to use the candy you do not want or cannot use.