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Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire by Nat Amoore

schoolyard milionaireTitle: Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire

Author: Nat Amoore

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 4th June 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: The hilarious story of one bag of cash, two best friends and a whole lot of trouble.

Finding a million dollars in your backyard – every kid’s dream, right? That’s what me and my best friend Toby thought too.

Jumping castles at school. Lollipops for our adoring fans. Wearing sunglasses indoors (‘cos that’s what all the millionaires do).

There’s a lot you can get with a million dollars . . . including a whole lot of trouble.

Bonus tips on how to be a schoolyard millionaire inside!


Tess is the middle child of five – she has two older siblings – Dane and Sash, and two younger ones – Liv, who has diabetes and relies on Tess to remind her about poke time, and Jake, the baby, who chews on furniture. Tess is often left to her own devices and spends a lot of time with her best friend, Toby. Together, they’re always coming up with ways to make money. But when Tess finds a million dollars buried in her backyard, Tess thinks all her dreams have come true – jumping castles, lollies, donations to the hospital and guide dogs…it all seems too good to be true – until the money and everything Tess is doing with it starts to cause trouble – bigger trouble than Tess could ever have imagined she’d get into.

Nat Amoore has created a fun story, that has moments of seriousness within it as well, and has incorporated diversity throughout with Toby, his mothers, and Olivia – showcasing the broad spectrum of people that we can meet in life as kids and adults alongside the fun of finding a million dollars as a ten year old.


Things get serious part way through the novel, forcing Tess to put as much as she can into charity, and hide the rest somehow – but will this work? Nat Amoore manages to use humour, deep emotions and childlike wonder and determination to make sure Tess ends up doing the right thing, well, sort of – in the best way Tess knows how, which is what makes it entertaining and relatable.  It’s filled with fun and humour – an adult world seen through the eyes of a child who thinks she can just fix things – and she does, for some people. But we all know it can’t last forever – and Nat Amoore manages to make sure that Tess does what she wants to do, but in showing the good and the bad consequences, Tess, and the reader, learn that not everything always works out the way they expect or think it will. There are consequences to everything.

It is a fun and insightful book – filled with family, friendship and love as well as ideas of what is right and wrong. It explores these themes in a way that makes sense to kids and is accessible to them – it’s not didactic at all but leaves room for readers to come to their own conclusions. Kids will love this book for the fun, the friendship and the outrageous things Tess does, but also, because they’ll see themselves in the characters, and the diversity explored and illustrated – the characters just who they are, and that is wonderful.

I loved this book – and having listened to Nat on One More Page, if this were an audiobook, I reckon Nat could narrate it, and it would be perfect – knowing her voice, I could hear her as I read the book, and this made it even more fun.  I’m really looking forward to her next book, out in June, and Nat will also be participating in my isolation publicity series to coincide with the new release.

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