The Fed’s Intergalactic Comic Books Make Economics Fun for Kids

The Fed’s educational comic books are now available for individual households.

The cover of the Fed's latest addition to its educational comic book series.
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 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Far, far away in a distant galaxy, the residents of planet Novus are busy solving economic puzzles.

There’s Rallo, an artist with four eyes who is designing the planet’s currency. There’s Lahna, the antennaed mechanic, who wants to trade her propeller backpack for a donut, and Murt, the friendly flying mailman. All the characters on Novus want the best for their dear planet’s economy but it will take intrepid, earthling problem-solvers to help them.

Key Takeaways

  • The Fed’s educational comic book series, long a staple of classrooms, is now available to households.
  • The comics educate kids on the Fed, bartering, currency, and more.
  • The Fed’s comic book series is available at no charge in both print and online versions.

This other-worldly scenario is the backdrop for a series of alien-themed, educational comics the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been rolling out since 2017. Up until this month, the comics were only available to teachers and school districts. However this month the Fed opened up their distribution of print versions of their comics to individual households to accommodate remote learners.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the creators of the Fed’s comic series will host a virtual event from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT) to discuss the comics and their creation. Registration is free and attendees will receive printed copies of the comic series.

“I've joked that this society has somehow arrived at intergalactic space travel before they arrive at money and banking,” said Thomas Bayne, a communications and outreach associate with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “We try to keep it light and funny and engaging.”

The comics cover concepts such as bartering, currency, the function of the Fed, interest and employment, and more.

“In the new environment, we want to be mindful of remote learning,” said Jenn Kahn, senior associate director of outreach and education at the New York Fed. “We want students to feel inspired, engaged, and to make these complex concepts more accessible.”

Each family can order three printed copies per installment, which will be shipped out on a first-come, first-served basis free of charge. Anyone can download and print any installment for free.

The cover of the Fed's latest addition to its educational comic book series.
 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

The Fed also launched an activity book called “How Do We Get The Things We Want?” To accommodate at-home learners, the new book contains exercises that require very little hands-on instruction from teachers.

Currently, 25 states require economics as part of the high school curriculum. The number has increased steadily since 1998, when only 16 states required the subject, according to the nonprofit Council for Economic Education (CEE). Chris Caltabiano, vice president of programs at CEE, lauded the Fed for making their comics more accessible to a wider audience.

“The Fed has economic educators that are some of the best in the country. They understand the content, they certainly have access to experts to make sure their content is sound,” said Caltabiano. “When you marry the content with pedagogy, you have a good chance of making it successful in the classroom.”

Order installments of the Fed’s comic book series at the Fed's educational outreach webpage.