CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 38 . . . . June 1, 2012
Is there any young person out there who has not been on the receiving end of a resounding 'no' to a request for a new toy, electronic gadget, and/or activity? Not likely. This book, The Secret Life of Money: A Kid's Guide to Cash can help kids come to terms with the reality of 'no' and 'yes' responses to financial requests.
Kira Vermond takes the reader on a journey through the complex world of money. She starts with a brief history of money by exploring some of the interesting forms of money people have used in the past. The reader is then introduced to concepts of how money fits into day to day life, what it means to work and earn money, running your own business, how and why we spend, the nature of credit, saving money, and finally the big picture of money matters from a global perspective. The author uses relevant and fun examples about young people who started their own business, families who have won lotteries, kids saving their money and others making a difference in the world by donating money. All of these examples and the pages of this book are complemented with the entertaining illustrations by Clayton Hanmer.
The Secret Life of Money makes a significant contribution to the current demand in our society for young people to receive education in financial literacy. Some advocacy groups and organizations have emphasised the importance of educating kids about money early. Young people see their parents, peers, relatives, and others dealing with money matters on a daily basis. Even many of the video games kids play reward them with tokens like money or points equated to money, which they can cash in for virtual products. The current economic climate has put the subject of money in the forefront of news headlines. Vermond explains to young people how they can have a say, play a role and even control financial matters in all of these situations.
I highly recommend this book because of its readability and the importance of the subject matter. Vermond has taken an everyday occurrence, handling money, and presented the true complexity and importance of financial literacy. Many adults may learn something new from reading this book as well. I did.
Heidi Henkenhaf, who holds an MA, is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of British Columbia.
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