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

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Operating under the mindset that "financial literacy (that's fancy for ‘money education') is something everyone should have access to a lot earlier in life," this primer sets out to inform kids about the serious financial decisions they'll undertake (or might even already be undertaking) in their lives. Vermond clearly finds the topic fascinating, and her informal and approachable text, which doesn't sacrifice solid information in the name of chattiness, may help win over readers who might otherwise shudder at the mention of compound interest, subprime lending, or credit rating. She provides evenhanded discussions of income inequality, marks the distinction between consumerism and consumption, and talks about how debt can be both a good and bad thing. A report on the global economy, ideas for kick-starting savings accounts, and a chapter on raising money for charity round out this helpful offering. Hanmer's cartoon illustrations add an extra dollop of humor. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2012 - Summer Issue: June 1, 2012

Kira Vermond wrote this book to give children basic financial literacy; but for the word kid's in the title, it would be an ideal go-to for most of their parents as well. In few pages, she manages to introduce concepts as diverse as the recent housing bust, the current recession, microlending, entrepreneurship, and the nuts and bolts of saving, credit, and investing. And that's for starters! The book jumps around a bit from topic to topic, but each is given a thoughtful and thorough introduction with solid examples to back it up, occasionally in comic-strip form. Vermond cites studies that use neuropsychology and behaviorism to assess patterns of spending and saving, but she improves upon most "adult" nonfiction that uses the same data by pointing out that such patterns don't doom anyone to a particular outcome. In fact, according to her fundamental message, financial education is the key to creating one's own destiny.

Because the book is written in such a friendly, first-person voice, Vermond is able to painlessly instill some critical thinking skills simply by explaining her own response to some of the information presented. After breaking down a study by a British think tank that assigned values to various professions based on what they contribute to or take away from society, she comments that the economists "sure made me think. But like everything attached to economics, the buck doesn't end here." She goes on to give solid examples to counter the think tank's theories. At a time when opinions on any subject seem limited to stark black and white, this willingness to see both sides in the interest of understanding is more than a little refreshing.

That's not to say Vermond is lacking in opinions. She encourages hard work and saving money, charitable giving (with some useful caveats), attention to the global impact of items bought locally, and the word "broke" over "poor." Clayton Hanmer's illustrations dot nearly every page, showing the places donated clothes end up, or the concept of "poverty" as angry possessions with high price tags (one reading "way too much") while people stand by counting their change. The Secret Life of Money may be a kid's guide, but five will get you ten we could all learn a thing or two here.?

© 2012 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Ten chapters introduce financial terms, concepts, and strategies: topics include value, savings plans, credit cards, investments, and charitable giving. The message that finances should be discussed openly is useful, but the tone verges on flippant and the font is dauntingly tiny. Spot illustrations, full-page cartoon panels, and information boxes--all in energetic lime green--help relate difficult ideas. Glos., ind.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #4

"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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

Gr 6-10--Vermond gives practical advice, but, more importantly, explores the emotional and social role of money in teens' lives, both culturally and personally. She incorporates the basics on earning, saving, and investing. She explains why people work, with entertaining lab-rat anecdotes, and explains how the reasons impact earnings and the machinations of society. Vermond tells readers that there are infinite ways to earn money, with a whole chapter devoted to early onset (middle school onwards) entrepreneurial endeavors, the bottom line being that readers should earn through a job that inspires them, or for which they have a particular talent. This book is framed around the psychology of earning without being pedantic; in fact, it is full of cartoon concept-expansion sidebars. The author has an engaging, snappy tone and lays out sophisticated financial concepts in an accessible fashion. Speaking of fashion, she uses ample clothes-buying examples to hook tween and teen readers. She shares socially conscious consumer tips, advocates saving, and discusses poverty and "the poor" and why we should care about them. She goes global, skimming the surface of poverty, charities, microloans, and the World Bank and IMF, promoting the positive psychology of altruism. Based on the psychology of earning and spending, the book presents such fascinating concepts as neuromarketing, market bubbles, brand recognition, and behavioral economists. This is a perceptive and timely publication on financial literacy for a new generation.--Meredith Toumayan, Langley-Adams Library, Groveland, MA

[Page 188]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2012 April
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.--Donna L. Phillips Index. Glossary. Illus. 4Q 3P M Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.