Elementary: Great For All

Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire

Sundee T. Frazier
2016

Financial Literacy

Fun!

Resilience

Racial Diversity

STE(A)M

“You can do anything you want with your name. It’s yours.”

Cleo Edison Oliver is confident, independent, and enterprising. She is ready to take on the world– and she is open for business. She’s also just a kid, a young African-American girl navigating elementary school. Amid her various enterprising business schemes this novel is also filled with verve and wordplay…

“Uh-oh. Cleopatra ‘I Have an Idea’ Oliver is at it again!”

Cleo will concoct a scheme to sell anything. Avocados. Homemade dog food. Quinoa cupcakes. Anything. There’s even a money-making scheme to pull teeth with a Nerf gun – the Extractor Extraordinaire™!

All of which combines to make Cleo Edison Oliver a fun family read and a great vehicle to teach financial literacy. Students can learn with Cleo all the basics of being an entrepreneur.  How do I turn an idea into a product? What are the costs and hurdles?  How do I advertise and distribute a product?  What makes a good marketing slogan?  You can learn a lot about business and economics from this delightful young businesswoman with a knack for building an empire.

“We all have a reason for being, so find your reason and… live it!”

Beyond the entrepreneurial endeavors, though, is an unforgettable story of family and belonging, as Cleo grapples with a mean kid who makes fun of her for being adopted. Cleo also ignores her best friend, Caylee, in her drive to get more customers, and must work to find a better work-life balance.

The story takes place at the playground level so students are sure to be charmed by Cleo’s ambitions.  Parents and teachers will be fascinated to see how Cleo can teach basic financial principles. She might even turn some of your students into budding entrepreneurs.

Additional Options

  • Includes Financial Literacy resources