Tuesday, June 21

Exploring Government & Finance with the Tuttle Twins

In our home, we watch several channels for the news, encompassing both left and right.  It's important to discuss the biases of media, as well as to acknowledge that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of all that is being said....

When we first learned about a new series that featured government and economics for kids, I'll admit to being skeptical.  Aren't they getting enough exposure already?  I mean, when I was a kid, we didn't know anything about this stuff!  Then again, the news wasn't blaring from multiple channels and online services constantly either....it just came on at 6pm.  Ah, the good ol' days....

However, after much consideration and discussion, hubby and I agreed to check it out and give it a whirl.  What we found was a libertarian perspective on political and economical trends, not only in America, but that were applicable worldwide.  The creators of the Tuttle Twins make no secret about their goals. They want to counterbalance (what its creators see as) the left-leaning propaganda found in schools and children's programming. In the words of the founders:

“Our books recognize that the world is full of companies, people, and politicians who want to expose your children to ideas you do not support. This includes school teachers who see their job as ‘activism’ to spread leftist ideas and encourage children to think like they do.”

Elementary Series

There are twelve books in the elementary series.  These are written around a 3rd grade level, so most children can read them independently, but I find that they make great read aloud material.  We read the stories together as a family, stopping along the way to discuss what is happening and how it applies to the world around us.  With my older kids, we discuss current events and the lessons we can apply to them from these stories.

The twelve books include:
  • The Law
    • What are individual rights, and where do they come from? Should the government help people, or should we? Ethan and Emily explore these and more questions as they learn about the law and help your kids do the same. Full of bright, engaging illustrations, this unique book introduces your child to fundamental principles that schools no longer teach.
  • Miraculous Pencil
    • What is the free market and why is it so important? Ethan and Emily embark on a fun field trip to learn how pencils are made using parts from all over the world—and how in an economy, people work together in harmony to produce helpful products that improve our lives. Leonard Read’s classic essay “I, Pencil” comes to life in this engaging adventure featuring amazing illustrations to help children become immersed in the story.
  • Creature from Jekyll Island
    • Markets come to life in the third installment of the Tuttle Twins series, with Ethan and Emily exploring a farmer’s market and county fair to understand just how controlling the Creature from Jekyll Island can be. But what is the creature—and why can it raise prices and steal people’s money? And what exactly is money, anyway? Your children will discover the answers to these and other questions in this engaging and energetic book! Monetary policy, central banking, inflation, and other important topics need not be boring—let Ethan and Emily make these ideas accessible and exciting for your children.
  • Food Truck Fiasco
    • Disruptive businesses must fight against their crony competitors—the ones with friends in government who try and protect them from innovative upstarts. Ethan and Emily Tuttle witness this battle firsthand with their food truck friends as they embark on a campaign to win public support and overturn the laws that shut them down. Incorporating key concepts from the classic Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, this book helps young readers learn about business, regulations, economics, protectionism, competition, and other basic market principles. Learn alongside the Tuttle Twins how government harms the economy, and what one person—or two!—can do about it.
  • Road to Surfdom
    • History abounds with examples of government officials making decisions, well-intentioned or otherwise, that harm others. Unfortunately, these unintended consequences are never anticipated, and rarely considered once they occur. As the Tuttle Twins find in their latest adventure, central planning can ruin people’s lives. Nobel prize winning economist F.A. Hayek’s famous book The Road to Serfdom comes to life in this edition, showing that people get what they wish for, they often get much more than they bargained. Read along as Ethan and Emily investigate a new road built to take travelers to a beach named Surfdom—and the disruption it brings to the entire community.
  • Golden Rule
    • People throughout the world strongly disagree on many things, yet there is one universal principle—a “Golden Rule” as it’s often called— upon which many people do agree: we should treat others the way we want them to treat us. Ethan and Emily Tuttle embark on their first summer camp adventure where they learn this lesson firsthand. Competing teams turn into fighting rivals, but Chief Ron and his camp counselors help the twins and their teammates learn the dangers of aggression, revenge, and blowback—and why peace and friendship are important!
  • Search for Atlas
    • In a world filled with consumers, what happens if the producers give up and leave? And how can people better practice personal responsibility and not have a sense of entitlement about the things they think they deserve? Ethan and Emily Tuttle tackle these questions in their latest adventure, this time as clowns in the visiting circus. Incorporating ideas from Ayn Rand’s hit novel Atlas Shrugged, this book shows how things begin falling apart when socialism creeps in. Join the clown twins as they try to figure out where Atlas went—and more importantly, why he left.
  • Spectacular Show Business
    • While most people prefer the relative safety of working at a job for somebody else, others are more interested in the independence, excitement, and creative problem solving that are all part of starting your own business and being an entrepreneur. But as Ethan and Emily Tuttle learn in their latest adventure, being an entrepreneur isn’t easy—especially when you’re up against some tough competition. Join the twins as they dive into the ins and outs of becoming business owners, solving the many problems that pop up along the way!
  • Fate of the Future
    • The history of the world is a tale of some people bossing others around, but brave thinkers have always offered ideas for a better future where people use persuasion instead. And after Ethan and Emily watch a dystopian film portraying a future full of coercion, they realize that they need to learn how to avoid it. Enter Murray Rothbard, author of Anatomy of the State, whose book teaches the Tuttle Twins that the fate of the future—and all of humanity—depends on thinking of ways we can work together peacefully, to build a better society without relying on coercion.
  • Education Vacation
    • Ethan and Emily Tuttle have spent several years in school being graded on the quality of their work. But after hearing an award-winning teacher discuss some problems with schooling and share a vision for how children are best educated, the Tuttle family decides to embark on a new learning adventure. Long-time educator John Taylor Gatto shares ideas with the Tuttle family from his book The Underground History of American Education. As they soon learn, education works best when we have the freedom to discover our interests and develop our abilities, rather than being shaped into what somebody else wants.
  • Messed Up Market
    • Now that they’ve made some money, Ethan and Emily Tuttle begin to wonder how they can put it to good use and earn even more. So the idea of a Children’s Entrepreneur Market is born, which can help them find other kids who might want to borrow their money to build their small business. But as the twins soon learn—thanks to the ideas from Human Action by Ludwig von Mises—this is risky business. People have different incentives for why they make the choices they do, and certain choices can cause their market to become messed up!
  • Leviathan Crisis
    • The Tuttle twins and their team of heroes tackle a new quest in an adventure game that they soon begin to realize is closer to reality than they might have guessed. A magical battle against the forces of Leviathan and its Idol turns out to be packed with lessons for what’s happening in the world around them. Based on the book Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs, this story finds the twins learning the power of truth in a world filled with fearmongering, ignorance, Trojan horses, and demagogues—a message with substantial relevance to our lives today.

If you know you want the entire series, you can save BIG when you buy all 12 children’s books at once! Plus, get each of our PDF activity workbooks for free — a $60 value.

Parent Guides

Each of the twelve books in the series has an accompanying parent guide. These workbooks include introductory and background information, historic connections, coloring pages, writing practice, word searches, decode the messages, crosswords, mazes, bingo cards, discussion questions, mad libs games, writing assignments, cooking projects, and opportunities for application of the material.


Currently, there are three graphic novels available for kids who prefer that medium, with another three in the works to come out soon.  Both the graphic novels and the cartoon videos have a Magic School Bus or Magic Treehouse vibe, which is not to say that they incorporate magic, per se, unless you count a time-travelling wheelchair. But the kids travel through time with their Grandma Gabby, learning from different people in history, including economist Adam Smith, activist Rosa Parks, and iconic figures such as Gandhi.

As a caveat, some parents may want to know that the jokes incorporated into the videos tend to lean toward the immature, with gags predicated on everything from flatulence to body odor. That said, they aren't inappropriate, and as a parent, while I may have rolled my eyes, I wouldn't stop my children from watching this because of said jokes.  Currently there are nine episodes of the Tuttle Twins Show available.  The cartoons are free to stream online, so there's no loss in checking one out ahead of time!

Things We Haven't Tried Yet...have you?

  • Books for Toddlers
    • These ABC and 123 series each feature colorful, simple introductions to economics and liberty principles for fun, early learning.
  • Choose Your Own Consequences series
    • These story books for teens feature a series of adventures where the readers control the story! With 33 total story endings between the four books, kids will be able to observe the outcomes of different economic and political situations that Ethan and Emily—age 15 in this new book series—encounter and have to figure out.
  • Guidebook Set
    • This illustrated, hardback series of books for pre-teens and teenagers (and adults!) introduces all kinds of important topics: critical thinking, logic, entrepreneurship, hard work, standing up for what is right, and much more! A whopping 806 pages of content will fill your child’s mind with the essential information they need to become well-rounded.
      • Beware Your Bias
      • Courageous Heroes
      • Inspiring Entrepreneurs
      • Logical Fallacies
  • Tuttle Times Monthly Magazine
    • These printed magazines are shipped to your home each month! They are filled with fun information, fully illustrated explainers, projects, interviews, and more.  This monthly cadence is important to help keep the minds of children engaged in the ideas of freedom, providing them with new perspectives and questions to think about as they go throughout their daily life.

If you have older kids, you may also be interested in...

Co-op Classes

Sparks Academy offers two versions of the US Constitution & Government class as part of their online courses. One is a single-semester government course, while the other is a year-long course that also includes a semester of economics and entrepreneurship.

For a peer group setting and /or more structured needs (available for language arts, science, and history)Sparks Academy provides blended classes. These are classes hosted online that include textbook and video elements, discussion feeds with peers, and live, virtual meetings.  Each week, the students are interacting through facilitated discussion in a private forum.  Classes “meet” weekly via shared assignments and moderated discussion during the school year (August 15,2022 – May 5, 2023 for the ’22-’23 school year).

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