book review: oli’s uncommon cents

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book review, giveaways, giveaway alert, books for children

Money talks, we just have to learn to listen. — Olivia Marie Swank

I received a copy of Oli’s Uncommon Cents a few weeks back for review. I meant to post it on my blog sooner so that I can share the wonderful story with you my dear readers, but, alas, the little man’s high fever + mum’s sickness afterwards prevented me from spending much time online to work on my post. Anyway, here comes my long-overdue post + I do hope you read until the end as a little surprise will be waiting there for you {hint, hint}! 😉

All about Oli + her Uncommon Cents:

Here’s what the synopsis at the back of the book says:

Through the life + death of her grandfather, 12-year-old Oli receives a pouch that holds the lives of abandoned, but unique coins, coins adopted by her grandfather – and now hers. Beating their mint inscription, In God We Trust, Oli’s coins entrust their lives with her as she searches for the matters of the heart.

Set in Northern Idaho, near the Clearwater Mountains, Oli’s Uncommon Cents take readers on the unique journeys. These journeys introduce Oli to people who live in the back woods until winter snows drive them out, like the wildlife, all driven by hunger; these journeys introduce Oli to those who count on the charity found in Cardboard City — + journeys among the ordinary people, people with scars, some hidden, some visible, + others revealed, especially after their lives become intertwined.

Despite the tensions with controlling + egotistical father, she manages to venture on an exploration of her own, + what she discovers are people that her father scorns.  Oli’s explorations lead to life-changing lessons, + he most profound discovery is that some things in life have greater value than they’re worth.

I would also love for you to read the synopsis that was sent to me by the author via e-mail:

Oli’s Uncommon Cents is about a young girl, Oli, who is 12 years old, and a die-hard-tom-boy.  She is given a coin pouch and discovers there are five living coins inside.  Together, Oli and her coins explore much more than places, they explore life.  One of the most visited places they visit is Cardboard City, the local homeless shelter.  Much to her dad’s dislike, Oli finds refuge among those who have nothing.  Her dad feels his reputation as bank president is compromised by having his daughter visit the company of such, “vagrant wanderers”.  To create even greater tension, Oli carries her coin pouch in her shirt pocket, and is often found talking to her coins.  Her dad thinks she is becoming delusional, and makes a threat that changes Oli’s life, and the future of her family.  Readers will follow Oli and her coins as they explore the world of money, and adventure, and learn the importance of self-worth, and how a person’s own worth can affect others. They will discover that a person’s character is often directly related to the choices they make, and all too often, the choices they make with their money.  Throughout the book there are ethical issues for young readers to consider, and perhaps as they do, they will better understand how money can create misery, or hope, in a person’s life.  Oli’s Uncommon Cents is written with a dramatic yet fanciful and humorous presentation, but seizes the opportunity to teach young people about the vices of greed and the wake of mistrust, fear and apprehension it leaves in its path.  In contrast, young readers will be warmed with the valuable sense of self-worth, generosity, trust and confidence.  Oli’s coins become her beloved companions, they teach her that, “money talks, you just have to listen”.  Who else to teach the value of money, but money itself.

All about the author:

Oli’s Uncommon Cents is writer Deborah Allen‘s  very first children’s novel. She has been a business owner for 30 years + when finance burnout sets in, she set off to pursue another passion, writing for kids. Deb is a children’s advocate for many years + have volunteered to champion children’s causes in different forms: as a camp leader, a Sunday school teacher, youth sponsor + a swimming coach. Oli’s Uncommon Cents is the union of her finance expertise and passion for writing. Illustrator Sophie Mattinson lends her creativity to create the book’s beautiful illustrations.

Mum’s two-cents:

I give this book two thumbs up + 5 dog-ears {which is the highest rating this mum can give to a book! ;)} I recommend for every mum to get a copy for their ‘tweeners or teenager children. I love that it is short enough to finish in one sitting + although some parts of the book can get a tad more serious, it is a great read + it will teach you valuable lessons about self-worth, generosity, + life in general. This book will also make you wish you’d gone on an adventure in the mountains with your best friend when you were little. I did! Geepa also made me wish I had a grandpa whilst growing up + wished harder that my Papa is around so the little man will have a wonderful time with him, too. Oli’s cents Penny, Bucks, Nicolette, Dimeon + Two Bits all made Oli’s childhood super-exciting + because of them I shall never look at a one-peso, a five-peso or a ten-peso coin in the same way ever again! Also, if I were to name those coins I’d probably go with Peeso, Pip + Tenny. Peeso is just a play on words, whilst Pip + Tenny are borne of my fascination for Scottie Pippen + Alfred Lord Tennyson. 😉

This book will also teach you how to value money for all that they are worth, but more importantly it will teach you to value those that truly matter in this life. + as Oli simply puts it, “my uncommon cents taught me two important lessons. It’s often the most unlikely folks – that end up being those we trust most…it’s not losing the expensive things in life that breaks us. What bankrupts our soul is when we don’t care for small treasures that – in reality – have great value.

For more information about Deb + her works, you can visit  her blog, Read And Write 4 Kids + follow her on Twitter. You can also purchase your own copy of Oli’s Uncommon Cents from her site at $8, plus $2.50 to cover the shipping costs.

Oli’s Uncommon Cents Giveaway

Thanks for reading this far + to reward you for your perseverance I am giving you the chance to win your own copy of Oli’s Uncommon Cents. I shall be giving away 3 copies of the book + a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate, too. Simply accomplish the tasks in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck mums + happy reading! 😉

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  1. I would name my 5 coins;

    1. penny- Kivuloru (gay slang for keber or like “whatever”, because nobody really notices a penny anymore),

    2. nickel-Saletesa (coz nickel element can be used for teeth and “sali” in tagalog is “join” without 5 cents joined together there would be no 1 Philippine peso),

    3. dime – Niloko(coz 10th is for tithes and a lot of people don’t give their tithes, niloko in filipino is deceit),

    4. quarter – babaloona (something like a moon)

    5. silver dollar – gemini (because the coin is made of silver and gold)

    You can contact me at my email address: 🙂

    Thank you for this contest!

  2. i am a book lover too and this book is interesting,

    i will name my coins,


    why, i have a very hard time memorizing names and remembering things because of my busy life, atleast that would be very impossible to forget, ha ha ha

  3. I will name my coins

    1) silsilyo
    2) mamera
    3) salapi
    4) mamiso
    5) kwarta

    My grandma always use these terms for money.

    1. some words are not even familiar to me, but I like them! thanks for joining mommy + good luck 😉

  4. penny – loneny (for lonely penny – as no one bothers to have it in the pocket)

    nickel – halfhearted nick (because it is half of a dime)

    dime – dime-mention

    quarter – queer quartz

    silver – starry ever (because it’s the glistening guardian/silver lining against poverty)

  5. If ever, I will name them the following…

    penny – startie (start)
    nickel – go-ie (going)
    dime – halfie (halfway)
    quarter – nearie (close)
    silver dollar – goalie (goal achieved)

    I am using these names as each will symbolize financial stages to success. Everyone must have a goal in their finances and you need to start somewhere to achieve it.

    That is why, I always teach my children to pick-up all pennies (coins) as each one is equally important if you want a dollar, a thousand or a million.

  6. If I have to name the coins, I will have to call them:
    silver dollar
    … YES, the SAME. because they were named like that, why should I changed it? Maybe I will just change the way I value them.

  7. i would name them Time,Sun,Moon,Air and Water. I think the elements are perfect name for this. Always go back to the basics! Thank you for having this giveaway!

  8. I’m not very creative but here we go…

    Penny – Pennie, because that’s such a cute name and that way it changes slightly.
    Nickel – Nichelle
    Dime – Goober, because dimes are so cute and little.
    Quarter – Lotterola, I always use quarters for lottery scratch offs.
    Silver Dollar – Bubba, you know why…

    Total crap, I know, lol.

  9. Pingback: Oli’s Uncommon Cents Book Giveaway Extended | mumwrites

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