Review + Teachers’ Notes: ‘Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire’

Home » Review + Teachers’ Notes: ‘Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire’

Title: ‘Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire’
Author: Nat Amoore
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Age Range: middle primary, upper primary
Themes: humour, school, friends, family, adventure, entrepreneurship.

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.

Ten year old Tess Heckleston has spent years coming up with grand plans to make her first million…and then one day a million dollars in cash lands…ummmm…pretty much in her hands. But as with many dreams, the reality, and responsibility, is not as simple as it may seem and Tess and Toby create chaos and learn some big life lessons as schoolyard millionaires.

‘Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire’ is pure fun and will appeal to both reluctant and keen readers alike. Yes it uses the age old trope of kids having to dig themselves out of a dilemma largely of their own design, but Amoore’s take on this is contemporary, super quirky and a rollicking adventure.

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Download our Teachers’ Notes prepared by teacher Melissa Kroeger for Children’s Books Daily in context with the Australian Curriculum as a PDF document here.


  • What character in the book would you want to meet and why?
  • What did you like best about this book?
  • What would you say is the subtle or overt message from this book?
  • What was morally right and wrong about what Tess and Toby did with the money? Discuss your thinking.
  • How is Tess’ family different to your family?
  • Why do you think Tess and Toby are best friends? What qualities in their personalities balance them out?
  • Give three words each to describe these characters:
    • Tess
    • Toby
    • Scotty
    • Olivia
    • Dad
    • Mum
    • Sash
    • Dane
    • Kathy
  • Having learnt a little about diabetes since reading this book, explain what diabetes is and how it can affect people.
  • Why did Tess feel responsible for Olivia going to hospital?
  • Why do you think Kathy chose to be homeless?
  • What do you think should have been Tess’ punishment and why?
  • With Tess’ ‘eye’ for business and money making schemes, what career path do you think she should choose and why?
  • Choose 4 of Tess’ tips you agree with and discuss why.
  • Choose 4 of Tess’ tips you disagree with and discuss why.
  • Write 4 of your own ‘Tips for Life’.
  • If you could write an alternative ending to the book, what would it be?

Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

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