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.?
"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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
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.