Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Money

The Secret Life of Money

A Kid's Guide to Cash

by (author) Kira Vermond

illustrated by Clayton Hanmer

designed by Samantha Edwards

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2014
Money, Business & Economics
Recommended Age
9 to 13
Recommended Grade
4 to 8
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2012
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


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.

About the authors

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.

Kira Vermond's profile page

Clayton Hanmer is an illustrator whose crude, energetic comic style has given him a surprisingly broad range of clients from The Globe and Mail to Owl Magazine. He is also the illustrator of The Secret Life of Money by Kira Vermond (Owlkids Books, 2012) and Not Your Typical Book about the Environment by Elin Kelsey (Owlkids Books, 2010). He lives in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.

Clayton Hanmer's profile page

Samantha Edwards' profile page


  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association, Red Maple Award
  • Short-listed, British Columbia Library Association, Red Cedar Information Book Award
  • Short-listed, Childrenʼs Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award
  • Commended, VOYA's Nonfiction Honor List
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens Selection

Editorial Reviews

Casual yet comprehensive...Readers landing a first job or opening a bank account should find insightful tips for developing a healthy and levelheaded relationship with money.

Publishers Weekly

Highly recommended, this is a fun and engaging book.

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...Highly recommended.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

Comprehensive, easily read, engaging, and approachable respect for children as intelligent learners capable of understanding concepts many adults find confusing. In fact, adults might consider reading the book not only to foster dialogue with their kids, but to learn a few things themselves.

Quill & Quire

A user-friendly guide packed with so many invaluable tips that adults may want to browse it too...Highly recommended.

The Midwest Book Review

An excellent resource for teachers from grades 5 to 10 who teach both math and business related subjects.

Resource Links

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.


Kira Vermond successfully accomplishes a nearly impossible task – making the subject of money fun, humorous, and easy-to-read for excellent addition to the topic for children ages 10 to 14. Readers will walk away better informed about global financial issues and empowered about their role in impacting themselves and their world.

Canadian Children's Book News

A perceptive and timely publication on financial literacy for a new generation.

School Library Journal

This chatty guide to money works to make the subject appealing to middle-schoolers...A good guide for beginners and browsers.

Kirkus Reviews

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.

ForeWord Reviews

Librarian Reviews

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

In her first book for children, financial columnist and OWL Magazine contributer Kira Vermond successfully accomplishes a nearly impossible task — making the subject of money fun, humorous and easy-to-read for kids.

Bursting with sidebars, call-outs, diagrams and comic strips, The Secret Life of Money is a visual playground thanks to the lime-green and grey-scale illustrations done by Toronto illustrator Clayton Hanmer. The graphics lend themselves to a flip-and-browse approach to the book as much as a cover-to-cover reading. While the decidedly chatty tone and highly creative anecdotes are beguiling, this does not detract from the fact that Vermond has created an unquestionably comprehensive overview of the subject. Key concepts of inflation and compound interest are cleverly covered at the same time as larger philosophical questions. Vermond challenges readers to think about money holistically, inviting them to consider whether winning the lottery automatically means a better life, whether salaries actually reflect how much good a job does for other people and the environment, and just what exactly the difference is between consumption and consumerism.

This timely and completely up-to-date title is an excellent addition to the topic for children ages 10 to 14. Readers will walk away better informed about global financial issues and empowered about their role in impacting themselves and their world.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.

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

Author Kira Vermond discusses an array of topics, including how to save money and how to find or create part-time jobs to earn money. She explains why we’d rather earn compound interest on our bank account than pay compound interest on our credit cards. She also talks about credit cards, poverty, inflation, economic bubbles, microloans, why we should donate money and so much more.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

Other titles by

Other titles by