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The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash

The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash

5.0 1
by Kira Vermond, Clayton Hanmer (Illustrator)

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If discussing money is a difficult task for adults, it’s doubly so where kids are involved. Not only is the subject loaded with cryptic jargon (mortgages? Bull markets? Huh?), but it often fails to click with how a kid sees his or her world. Many preteens and young teens do not yet have a job, and even if they do, their responsibilities with their earnings


If discussing money is a difficult task for adults, it’s doubly so where kids are involved. Not only is the subject loaded with cryptic jargon (mortgages? Bull markets? Huh?), but it often fails to click with how a kid sees his or her world. Many preteens and young teens do not yet have a job, and even if they do, their responsibilities with their earnings are miles away from grown-up money issues. In other words, not only is money a little overwhelming and mysterious, it’s also seen as something they can't do anything about.

The Secret Life of Money is written to address this last point in particular. It’s central message is that money affects us deeply and that even kids can have an effect on it, too. This book uses odd anecdotes, engaging comics, and a wealth of surprising everyday connections to help young readers see and understand cash from an entirely different angle. From the history of different currencies to why we buy what we buy, from how charities and credit cards work to saving and investing, and a whole lot more, readers will gain not only an appreciation for the myriad ways that money changes, influences, and (even) betters their lives, they will arrive to an understanding of the control they have over it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Cash is complicated, but in a seriously fascinating way. It makes us happy, sad, fearful, and even embarrassed.” Casual yet comprehensive, this informative guide to money presents the basics behind earning, saving, and spending wisely, while providing a crash course in economics. Employment, credit ratings, stocks, taxes, and investment (“Time... is also one of the most important ingredients to investment success. And that’s why you age makes you an incredibly powerful force”) are all discussed in clear, concise sections featuring cartoon spot art of impish characters, while concepts like inflation, economic bubbles, and microloans are illustrated in comic panels. Interviews with bankers, entrepreneurs, and other experts offer real-world background on some of the topics discussed. Readers landing a first job or opening a bank account should find insightful tips for developing a healthy and levelheaded relationship with money. Ages 9–13. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Whether you already know how to read the stock markets, or you’re starting from scratch, this book is going to give you the goods to see money in a whole new way.”
— from the book
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
This informative guide presents financial concepts in a breezy, conversational tone. The basics of earning, saving, and spending money are followed with some of the more complicated economic issues, including managing credit cards, investing in stocks and bonds, compound interest, and taxes. Specific examples, such as comparing hourly rates of pay and the number of working hours needed to buy a $150 iPod will be meaningful to readers. Quirky cartoon characters appear throughout the book and some concepts, such as "Economic Bubbles," "Inflation," and "Microloans" are presented in cartoon panel format. Psychological influences in dealing with money issues are presented in ways that enable readers to interpret the details as they could apply to their own lives. Factual listings, sidebars, personal anecdotes, and other relevant inset boxes contribute to the informational value. This Canadian author has been conscientious in addressing readers in her own country and in the U.S. Includes a glossary, an index, and reference to a website. A good reference source for teens. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
VOYA - Donna L. Phillips
Aside from sex, money may be the next toughest subject for adults to address with kids. This little green book will support that difficult conversation about banks and budgets. Vermond considers not only the economics of money but also its social and psychological impacts. Through anecdote, analogy, interviews, and personal experience, she conveys a range of concepts, including a brief history, working and earning, credit and saving, and sharing the wealth responsibly. Though this is a Canadian publication, Vermond has a clear sense of her dual audience, including both Canadian and American examples. She does the math, and Hanmer clarifies it with effective comic illustrations that will work well for a wide age range and should not leave the book feeling quickly dated. Designer Samantha Edwards has built a solid structure that will make the book suitable for pleasure reading or classroom use. Chapters begin with a thought-provoking quotation and include both fun and useful sidebars, comics, and lists. The effect may feel like patchwork to some readers, but it is clearly no crazy quilt. A teacher's guide will be available for download, but it was unavailable at the time of this review. For both its substance and structure, this will be a useful text for U.S. educators and librarians looking for nonfiction resources to support the Common Core Standards addressing literacy in the content areas. Reviewer: Donna L. Phillips
Kirkus Reviews
This chatty guide to money works to make the subject appealing to middle-schoolers but is regrettably short on sourcing. Vermond first defines what money is: More than just dollars and cents, money is "an agreement between people in an economy." Since we can't steal the things we need, she explains, there are multiple ways to make money. Money can be earned by jobs that reward workers for their time and special skills. Alternatively, you could be an entrepreneur and take on the risk and rewards of starting your own business. Of course, there's also imaginary money, aka credit, and its associated perils of debt and interest. The importance of saving is highlighted, from simple self-control and delayed gratification to investing and the advantage of compound interest. The text zips along, accompanied by two-color line art and frequent sidebars, with information on such topics as ancient money and interviews with financial experts. The author has a talent for explaining finance in an enthusiastic, easy-to-understand manner, yet with no works cited or references listed, there are questions about where these facts and figures come from. A good guide for beginners and browsers, but not suitable for research. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Owlkids Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Kira Vermond is an award-winning writer and longtime freelancer from Guelph who rarely has a free moment to relax. With over 1,000 articles under her belt, Canadians have read her travel, career and money columns for The Globe and Mail and Chatelaine and listened to her career advice on CBC Radio weekday mornings for years. In 2010, Chatelaine and John Wiley published her book Earn, Spend, Save: The savvy guide to a richer, smarter, debt-free life. Kira also contributes to OWL Magazine, Today's Parent, Parents Canada, Canadian Family, PROFIT, FORUM Magazine, and many other consumer and trade publications.

Clayton Hanmer is a Toronto-based illustrator and graphic artist. He has illustrated and designed numerous titles for Owlkids Books, including Elin Kelsey’s award-winning Not Your Typical Book About the Environment, and his own activity book, CTON’s Super A-Maze-Ing Year of Crazy Comics. He writes and illustrates "CTON's Corner," a popular feature in OWL Magazine each month. The winner of many industry awards, his work appears in such diverse publications as National Geographic Kids, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus and the New York Times.

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The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mom_of_two_NJ More than 1 year ago
This book could be as informative to adults as it is to children, either building on current knowledge or establishing concepts completely new to readers. The flow of the book from topic to topic is exceptional, and Kira Vermond's combination of humor, research, and inspiring stories (included throughout) make the book easily digestible. I'd love to see a workbook to coincide with this book to help parents establish goals with their children and develop plans for achieving them together!