A BELL FOR MAURY'S BICYCLE | David Maurice Sharp and Franklin Silva

· Podcast Episodes
A Bell for Maury's Bicycle. A story for raising financially savvy kids.

David Maurice Sharp and Franklin Silva are the creative minds behind A Bell for Maury's Bicycle, a unique children's book aimed at inspiring young minds in setting and achieving financial goals.

Introducing children to financial literacy at an early age can start them on a path that will serve them well throughout their lives. A Bell for Maury’s Bicycle is an age-appropriate and fun introduction to some basic financial concepts for young readers and soon-to-be-readers. Follow along as Maury learns the value of buying something he wants, has the patience to wait for it, and finds clever ways to save for his goal.

A Bell for Maury's Bicycle By David Maurice Sharp Illustrations by Franklin Silva

In our interview, David shared a key message he hopes children take away from his project: that when kids actively contribute to shaping their goals, the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled. He encourages young minds to think creatively, seek guidance from their parents, and explore various avenues to achieve their aspirations.

"When children have a goal that they want to achieve, it doesn't just have to be given to them. They'll have a much greater sense of accomplishment for themselves if they're the ones that are helping to make their goal happen, it will be much more meaningful for them and that there are always other ways they can think about achieving that goal. To open their minds and to have as much creativity and to rely on the advice of their parents and to look to their parents for help in confirming the ideas that they have, but the doing it themselves, at least to the extent that they can, is gonna be much more rewarding for them in the end."

David Maurice Sharp is also the author of the book for grownups "The Thriving Artist: Saving and Investing for Performers, Artists, and the Stage & Film Industries". He teaches regular workshops for Entertainment Community Fund and other organizations, and is a frequent guest on financial literacy podcasts. You can learn more about David and his work at David Maurice Sharp.

Franklin Silva is a Brazilian artist whose award-winning pieces have been shown in exhibitions in the US and Brazil. He enjoys exploring both traditional and digital art, taking inspiration from music, video games, science fiction films, animation, and cartoons. You can learn more about Franklin and his work at Home | Franklin Silva.


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Chloe (1s):

Stocks for Beginners, Phil, Muscatello and FinPods are authorized Reps of MoneySherpa. The information in this podcast is general in nature and doesn't take into account your personal situation.

David (12s):

When children have a goal that they want to achieve, it doesn't just have to be given to them that they'll have a much greater sense of accomplishment for themselves. If they're the ones that are helping to make their goal happen, it will be much more meaningful for them and that there are always other ways they can think about achieving that goal. To open their minds and to have as much creativity and to rely on the advice of their parents and to look to their parents for help in confirming the ideas that they have, but the doing it themselves, at least to the extent that they can, is gonna be much more rewarding for them. In the end.

Phil (52s):

Hi and welcome back to Stocks. for Beginners, I'm Phil Muscatello. How many times have we wondered how much better off we could have been if we'd known about investing at a young age? How can you teach your kids the knowledge that you wish you'd been taught? Joining me today are the author and illustrator of a new book, A Bell for Maurie's Bicycle. It aims to gently introduce the basic concepts of saving and investing to young children. Hello David and Franklin.

Franklin (1m 20s):

Hello. Hello.

Phil (1m 22s):

Hello Franklin. Hello David Thanks for coming on and joining me. Franklin Silva is a Brazilian artist whose award-winning pieces have been shown in exhibitions in the US and Brazil. And David Marie Sharp is the author of the Thriving Artist, saving and Investing for Performers, artists and Stage and Film Industries. In 2014, he was named a money Hero for his work in financial literacy for artists by Money Magazine. So you're both in New York at the moment, Franklin, you're not in Brazil, you're in New York.

Franklin (1m 54s):

Yes, I'm in New York right now.

Phil (1m 56s):

Yep. And loving the, the surrealist paintings in the background there that we can see.

Franklin (2m 2s):

Yeah, that's my main movement for Do My Arts. I think I have the free expression for Do that. And it's more interesting for our explorer some topics about arts in general.

Phil (2m 14s):

Yeah. And it's something that David and I have talked because David's been on the podcast or twice before now, we've talked about how creativity is really important for people to understand and people who think about finance a lot need to think a little bit more about the creative side of their lives sometimes. Would you agree with that kind of observation?

Franklin (2m 34s):

Yes, I can agree about this, but I dunno how I can explain more about this.

Phil (2m 43s):

That's okay, we'll get to it. And I think the markets, like David and I were talking about beforehand a little bit surrealistic over the last year or so, whatever is happening in the background doesn't seem to be reflected in valuations on the market. So David Is it ever too young to start learning about money.

David (3m 0s):

I think the answer to that is no. I mean I think as soon as you know, one of the biggest problems that we have, and I think Phil, you and I have discussed this in the past, is that there's such a lack of financial literacy education in pretty much every country that I've talked to people in. And so when we get into adulthood in particular and even later years, there's this sense of embarrassment and shame that we don't know anything about it. So I think the earlier that we can start to introduce those kinds of concepts to people, the less fearful they're going to be of it later in life and the more they're gonna be able to sort of take control of it and have it start working to better their lives for them.

Phil (3m 43s):

Hmm. How long did it take for you to write the book?

David (3m 46s):

I would say probably it was a good six months of concentrated work on the text part of it. I probably had worked on it for about three or so months to get it in close to a final form when I brought Franklin into the process. And then Franklin confirmed this for me if you can, but I think that we kind of worked together for about two or three months. It was a little bit longer with this because we had to sort of develop the concept of the characters in the book and Franklin put a lot of detail into creating the world that Maury would live in. But we kind of had some back and forth there for probably about two or three months.

David (4m 26s):

Would you agree, Franklin?

Franklin (4m 28s):

Yeah. Yeah. I think it was around this time to develop the characters and try to check everything and avoid any mistake. Yeah. And long conversations far decided everything.

Phil (4m 41s):

What sort of age group is the book aimed at?

David (4m 43s):

You know, we had to pick a, an age category of three to eight. 'cause Amazon and, and the other publishers have very sort of strict guidelines for that. We tend to think of it as three and up. So it's intended for young people as they begin to read and early readers, but certainly their parents who maybe don't know as much about financial literacy may pick up a few tips as well as they're reading it to their children. So I would just say three and up is safe.

Phil (5m 9s):

And how did you decide what kind of topics to cover in the book?

David (5m 13s):

I wanted to find a way to introduce some of the basic ideas of financial literacy to children without it being like a textbook. A lot of the early reader financial books that are out there to me read like textbooks. You know, here is what a salary is and I'm like, what three or 4-year-old is gonna wanna read that and be captivated by that? So for me the important thing was to make it a story that children actually want to read and have read to them and get caught up in the story and then sort of integrate elements of financial literacy into it so that they don't, they don't even realize they're being taught those elements.

David (5m 54s):

It just becomes sort of a natural part of the process. So that was sort of key to me. And then it was a question of, okay, how many of these things can we weave into the story without it becoming heavy handed? And that it, it still is a story that reads well and holds their interest but, but has as many elements as I can slip into it as possible.

Phil (6m 15s):

And what are a couple of the lessons? Give us an example of a couple of the lessons that you've woven into the narrative.

David (6m 21s):

So one of the important things to me was that the premise is that Maury gets a bicycle for his birthday and he sees a bell in a shop that he really wants to have for his bicycle. And one important thing was instead of having him go to his parents and say, buy this for me, he goes to his parents and says, how can I get this for myself? So his parents are always, they're never just giving him something. They're helping him to learn ways that he can save up to buy it for himself. So they're already, we're empowering the child to be active and do it for themselves. So that was important to me. I also wanted to make sure that there was a sense of creativity with Maury that was encouraged by his parents.

David (7m 2s):

So they helped him find one way, but they left the world open to him to find other ways to accelerate how he was saving up for his bell. And that's where the mushrooms kind of came into it, right where he finds mushrooms and says, wait a minute, I think these are mushrooms that people like to eat on pizza so maybe I can trade them to my neighbors. So he again, is active in coming up with the idea of it and his parents are encouraging him to do that. And we use mushrooms because ironically, I really love mushrooms and Franklin really does not love mushrooms. So, and we knew that about one another. So, and I was like, well that's a really good way to introduce the idea of supply and demand, right? Because some people are gonna like them and wanna trade. Some people aren't, but again, without being heavy handed.

David (7m 44s):

And I think at the end another really important thing was that Maury thanks his parents for helping him figure out how to do it and also buys them ice cream to thank them. So there's a sense of generosity as well, not just greed, I want everything for me, but I wanna acknowledge that my parents helped empower me to do this.

Phil (8m 6s):

It sounds to me like you've got this hidden agenda in there to appeal to parents as well to teach lessons rather than having a kid just say, buy me this, I want it. Which is what, you know, let's face it, a lot of kids expect these days.

David (8m 19s):

Well exactly, but that doesn't really prepare them for later in life, does it? You know, to, because I don't know about you, but once I got past a certain age, people certainly weren't running around buying me things. So, you know, so I think it that was important to me to, to introduce that idea. And also the concepts that are introduced in this carry through into my other book, the Thriving Artists, which is for adults. So it's my approach to financial literacy I think is carried back to children and flows through to what their parents would be doing so that it, it's kind of seamless in that way.

Phil (8m 53s):

And let's face it, many artists are childlike, aren't they?

David (8m 57s):

Well there's that too, right? There's a sense of wonder and fun that artists have, right? It is very childlike in a way.

Phil (9m 7s):

Franklin, tell us about the creative process in working with David and on the book. Did it change the way that you approach the art thinking about the financial side of things as well?

Franklin (9m 18s):

Well that's very interesting because before I started to create the illustrations page by page, I really need to read the sentence and understand that very well and decided with part, it's the most important or the phrase to show on that page, specific page. And I need to read many times. And that starts to be part about my mind about that topic or about that phrase for creator art. And I think that was interesting experience for me to create images when I read one kind of sentence and try to make that make sense for that kind of situation.

Franklin (10m 4s):

And I think in some way I was able to learn many things because I never tried to take this topic about financial to read and understand better. And I really need to understand what happiness on that history about Maurice on that book. And that was absolutely important for me to learn something while I do my art.

David (10m 30s):

I'll also say Phil, that one of the many discussions that Franklin and I had was we wanted to, for me it was important to go against stereotypes. So we wanted to empower the mother as much as the father in being involved in finances. But also when we were talking about the illustrations, we wanted to make sure the mother was as strong a figure illustration wise as the father. And we also would look at things like Maurice Friends that are attending his event. We wanted to make them very diverse. It was important to both of us to invest those kinds of ideas into the illustrations, even if it wasn't talked about or blatantly known.

David (11m 13s):

And I think that Franklin also managed in the illustrations to slip in some references to Brazil and his background in there too. So we wanted to also reflect both of the cultures that we each came from. So that was kind of important to both of us as well.

Phil (11m 28s):

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David (12m 10s):

Exactly. I think that was important for both of us, right? Franklin?

Franklin (12m 15s):

Yes, of course. And kids really pay attention for details and it starts to create new questions for their parents about, oh, why they friends is like this or what, maybe they play together, they do something. Why everybody's different or why it's that behavior and it kids, it's very curious about everything. So more details we can put in only maj, more questions they will have and probably more answers about his parents can say for them. So that's very important. And we can start with this for them because it's the three or older, right?

Franklin (12m 56s):

So they, it's very curious about everything, about colors, about situations, size, everything,

Phil (13m 3s):

Franklin. Have you noticed any difference in the American attitude to money as opposed to the Brazilian attitude to money?

Franklin (13m 11s):

Yes, yes. For example, I, I can talk about myself when I was a kid, that was okay in some point, but in one situation it's very interesting because sometimes when my mom give me some money, I never use at all for buy anything like Kenny's or other things. And in some parts I always save half with no reason. I never had a goal. I just save with no reason. And I think I do this in all my life and nobody tell me this. My mom or my parents never tell me this. I just saved by my own because I always think, oh, maybe I can use it for this money for something in the future.

Franklin (13m 56s):

I don't know which way, but I can save. And sometimes, oh, maybe I can buy something for my video game or my bicycle or whatever. I can buy any accessory. And I never made a plan. So that was interesting when I read the book to create the illustrations and I talk with myself and I say, why I never create a goal for things I want when I was a child, maybe, I dunno, maybe my parents don't have that culture to think about this and never tell 'em this. So here I can see more people making some kinds of plans.

Franklin (14m 36s):

Doesn't matter if big plans or small plans, but this way for, it's very different about the condition in my city in Brazil and about what I see here in us.

Phil (14m 48s):

And that's really interesting that you naturally gravitated to being a saver without any encouragement whatsoever. Because a lot of people just as soon as they get money, they spend it, especially artists and notorious for not being good with money.

Franklin (15m 3s):

Yeah, yeah. So it's funny because my second brother, he did the same. Maybe I just follow him, you know, because sometimes the young kids starts to imitate the other siblings. I'm not sure if I follow him, but we also did the same. And sometimes when we try to buy something a little expensive, we just, oh, let's buy that together because you'll save some and I save some and we just do that. And that's a kind of interesting thing because we really never make a plan for that. So I'm very happy to have this opportunity to compare many things in my country and many things here or how many things works.

Franklin (15m 45s):

It's very interesting.

Phil (15m 47s):

Was there any lessons that you learned writing the book and illustrating the book with David?

Franklin (15m 52s):

Yes, that's the main thing. It's just put a goal for my stuff when I have any plan. So that's make more sense when we start to save some money for something better or some kinds of goals. And I think I start to spread this more to create. If I don't have anyone right now, I just create a goal to do so. I will save for this, I need to save for that. So that's make more sense. And we see the result in a few months when we start to do this.

Phil (16m 25s):

And have you been able to share any of this information with any of your friends or colleagues?

Franklin (16m 30s):

Usually we do this with close friends. Sometimes they never find a way to about, oh I just have money to pay my bills and I don't find any way for save money. And I just try to have some conversation. I try to tell what I do and sometimes they start to do the same. Starts to save step by step. You know, it don't need to be big, you don't need to take half about your payment to save you just save how much you can. And that's not, and not compromise. If you can eat and pay your bills and you can save $1 per month, doesn't matter. Just tell them this to save how much they can per month.

Franklin (17m 14s):

and it doesn't matter how much. and it just show many things I did before. So I was able to buy my laptop, I was able to buy more stuff to pay more canvases, brush, et cetera. You know, so I just show what I do if they feel comfortable to follow this. So I just try to, I just ask, oh in a few months you tell me the result, if that was good or bad for you. So you know,

Phil (17m 40s):

So David, I think that's a natural segue into Acorns. Tell us about Acorns, which is one of the themes of the book.

David (17m 47s):

Exactly. So instead of using some kind of of money, you know, acorns are sort of the substitute for currency. And again that sort of carries through to my thriving artist book where I talk to people a lot about calculating out their monthly nut and saving up monthly nuts in their emergency cash D. So it seemed like a natural sort of flow through. We debated a lot before we came up with acorns of what exactly kind of nut. We figured that acorns would be the most recognizable from an illustration point of view, but also something that people aren't gonna have a, wherever they are, aren't gonna have a preconceived idea of how much that value is. So we never really talk about the bell cost 50 acorns.

David (18m 28s):

You know, we don't ever get that specific because I wanted to purposely keep it it open so that it could be interpreted by whoever was reading it as the value of whatever they felt the value would be, where in their circumstances. So, and then from there it kind of naturally, I think the nuts decision was the first decision. And then it was like, well what are the characters gonna be like? And then, well it sort of made sense to have Maury be like a kind of squirrel then because he's saving his acorns. So that's that everything kind of evolved out of there. And then I think both Franklin and I are very environmentally oriented. So we wanted it to have, we wanted his him to inhabit a world that was very environmentally friendly and very, very much oriented to nature.

Phil (19m 13s):

How different was it writing a book for kids and especially one that required so much creativity than say the one the the thriving artist book? How did you approach the creativity? Were we feeling freer

David (19m 25s):

In some ways, yes, but in other ways it was important that the voice appealed to that age group. And I've never had children, but I have five nephews and a niece and I've had much younger siblings. So I've certainly been around children a lot. I also was lucky enough to find someone who I've known for many, many years who's a copy editor who also happens to be work on children's books and has a really good voice with children. So she was able to give me some really wonderful comments to the text to say, I don't know that children would use this particular word, or you might wanna gear it towards, you know, you might wanna think about how to explain this in a different way. So I actually enjoyed the process 'cause it was like, how do I explain these kind of, sort of sneak in these complicated concepts in a way that children are gonna read it and enjoy the story, like I was saying earlier, enjoy the story but still be getting the lesson out of it.

David (20m 20s):

So it was a challenge, but it was a fun challenge. And then again, how can the illustration support that and and what information can we convey in the illustrations that maybe isn't quite coming out in the text because it would get too bogged down, but the children noticed those things, right? So it was interesting, it was interesting

Phil (20m 36s):

Process. It's interest. Those little things. Those little things in the background. It's so important for a kid's book, isn't it? I agree. 'cause the kids are noticing, you know, the parents are focusing on the words and reading out the words and then there's this o other things going on in the background that they, you know, yeah. Are really important in kids' minds.

David (20m 52s):

Absolutely. I, I think one of my favorite details that Franklin put into the illustration is one of Maury's friends is a frog. And there's the illustration where they're riding their bicycles and he put the frog in flip flops because he was like, well the frog would live where it's wet. He would have fluid. And I was like, what an incredibly creative and intelligent choice to put. And again, a child would notice that and say, oh yeah, he's wearing flip flops 'cause he's a frog, you know, but the parents aren't gonna probably breeze past that. So,

Phil (21m 20s):

Although I think Franklin would call them heavy honors, wouldn't you?

Franklin (21m 24s):


Phil (21m 25s):

Being Brazilian, being a proud Brazilian.

Franklin (21m 28s):

Yeah. Yeah. That's the common flip flop everybody used there.

Phil (21m 33s):

So this is going to be the first in a series of books, how Are you gonna approach the stock market? Are, you gonna approach the stock market for kids as well.

David (21m 41s):

The intention is yes, to cover, you know, multiple other topics to encourage children to follow the story of Maury and how he explores these other things. I have some ideas about how I want to introduce the concept of the stock market and the concept of ownership and how Maury can get some exposure to that. I haven't worked out all the details of it yet because I think it is a tricky concept because you want them to understand the idea of ownership, but without talking about like Stocks trading on the market, you know, that whole, you know, it has to be done in a, in a way that's, it's careful. But I do have an idea for how to introduce that into Maury's life and to start, you know, sort of planting that seed with children.

David (22m 27s):

'cause children are actually, they're much more capable than we sometimes give them credit for. And as long as reframe it in a language that they understand, they'll pick up on it. And then as they mature, they'll be able to sort of have it evolve into something that's closer to what we as adults would understand the idea to be. So, so that's the idea I, I started working on it. I think Franklin almost had a heart attack when I said I wanted to do a second book at first, but now I think he's more on board for, once we got through the first book with illustrations, right, Franklin it, it became a little less frightening to you to that I was planning to do many more.

Phil (23m 4s):

It's amazing. So many of the guests that I speak to on this podcast talk about starting in investing or thinking about money from a very early age. I mean, one guest I had on recently would go after school with his briefcase every day because that's what business people did. He was entrepreneurial, very a young age. Wow. And I think it really speaks to the way kids, like you say, we shouldn't underestimate them,

David (23m 26s):

Right? They, and they, and they're very observant. They're very observant and they're very, they're very aware. I mean, you always hear about children listening to parents talking, you know, worrying about not having money if they're, if they're having money issues that children are very aware of that and it affects them or aware of how their parents handle money. So that's also a really important, and that's why again, we wanted to have Maury's parents be very participatory in it because, and him knowing that he can ask them questions about it. Because again, just to sort of start breaking down that mystery about it and the shame about it that we kind of pick up with later.

Phil (24m 7s):

And David, you continually working with the artistic community, has writing the book informed anything about the way that you approach money topics in your other work with adults?

David (24m 19s):

You know, I always try to find a way to simplify the message because simple messages and creative messages are what, especially with creative people, right? Their interest has to be peaked. So that was definitely, I think it has helped me to continue to try to find the simplest, most creative way of explaining something to the people in my classes. I'm also finding that there's a lot of people in my classes that are creative types who are having children of their own, who are like, oh, this is great that we now have a tool for our children because they're learning it themselves and they're realizing how helpful it would be to be able to pass that onto their children in a way that the children can understand and still be creative.

David (25m 0s):

So yeah, I would say they both have informed each other, which is, makes it a wonderful project to work on.

Phil (25m 7s):

And what's the main message that you'd like to kids to come away from, from the book and for listeners of this podcast? What is the major lesson That

David (25m 15s):

When children have a goal that they want to achieve, it doesn't just have to be given to them that they'll have a much greater sense of accomplishment for themselves. If they're the ones that are helping to make their goal happen, it will be much more meaningful for them. And that there are always other ways they could think about achieving that goal to open their minds and to have as much creativity and to rely on the advice of their parents and to look to their parents for help in confirming the ideas that they have, but that doing it themselves, at least to the extent that they can, is gonna be much more rewarding for them in the end.

Phil (25m 56s):

And of course, Christmas is coming up, so

David (25m 59s):

Christmas is coming up. Can find Hanukkah is coming

Phil (26m 2s):

Up. It's That's right. Hanukkah's coming up. Everything's coming up. So tell listeners where people can find out more and purchase a copy of this book.

David (26m 10s):

Absolutely. It's available on Amazon all over the world, including the Australian market. And it's also now through most other online book vendors, you can pick up a copy of it. So it's certainly been picked up all over the world by the various vendors.

Phil (26m 27s):

And tell us the name of the book again?

David (26m 29s):

The book is a Bell for Maury's bicycle,

Phil (26m 32s):

Written by,

David (26m 33s):

Written by me, David Maurice Sharp, with illustrations by Franklin Silva.

Phil (26m 40s):

Guys, thank you very much. It's been a real pleasure having you on the podcast to talk about the book in Franklin. Obrigado.

Franklin (26m 47s):

Yeah. Thank you. Good at this.

David (26m 50s):

Thank you.

Chloe (26m 51s):

Thanks for listening to Stocks for Beginners. If you enjoy listening, please take a moment to rate or review in your podcast player or tell a friend who might want to learn more about investing for their future.

Thanks for having us Phil.

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