Kids in Business

Patience and per­se­ver­ance are among the hard­est things for chil­dren to learn. How can we make press­ing on in the face of dis­cour­age­ment inter­est­ing to kids? By read­ing them amaz­ing sto­ries of cre­ativ­i­ty and resilience! Pic­ture book biogra­phies show the sat­is­fy­ing results of per­se­ver­ing over a life­time. All ages will be inspired by the true tales shared in these ten pic­ture books.

What Does It Mean to Be an Entre­pre­neur?
writ­ten by Rana DiO­rio and Emma D. Dry­den
illus­trat­ed by Ken Min
Lit­tle Pick­le Press / Source­books, 2016

When Rae observes an acci­dent involv­ing a dog and some ice cream, she imag­ines a dog wash­ing busi­ness, apply­ing her cre­ativ­i­ty to the prac­ti­cal and fun aspects of start­ing a busi­ness. The book aims to “inspire young dream­ers to find the courage to be doers.” The illus­tra­tions work hand­some­ly with the text to give bud­ding entre­pre­neurs plen­ty of ideas and path­ways to start their own dream business.

The Start­up Squad
writ­ten by Bri­an Weis­feld and Nicole C. Kear
Imprint / Macmil­lan, 2019

Resa, Didi, Amelia, and Har­ri­et are teamed up in their class­room to run a lemon­ade stand in the class com­pe­ti­tion to get pre­mier tick­ets to their local amuse­ment park. Resa and Didi are best friends but they think col­or­ful and flam­boy­ant Har­ri­et is weird and Amelia has just moved into town and Resa has already decid­ed she does­n’t like her. The girls make plen­ty of wrong turns in their goal to suc­ceed by earn­ing the most mon­ey but even­tu­al­ly they learn to trust each oth­er and work as a team. The sto­ry is absorb­ing, fun, and ener­getic while the infor­ma­tion on mar­ket­ing, sales, plan­ning, account­ing, and ethics are eas­i­ly learned as a seam­less part of the sto­ry. There are two more books in this series. The Start­up Squad web­site fea­tures pro­files of girl CEOs and busi­ness resources.

Mo’s Bows: A Young Per­son­’s Guide
to Start-Up Suc­cess: Mea­sure, Cut,
Stitch Your Way to a Great Busi­ness
writ­ten by Mozi­ah Bridges and Tram­i­ca Mor­ris
Run­ning Press Kids, 2019

When Mozi­ah Bridges appeared on Shark Tank at nine years old, he was walk­ing a path that would lead to sell­ing his gor­geous bow ties in Bloom­ing­dales and Neiman Mar­cus. He cre­at­ed bow ties for the NBA and Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. This book for mid­dle grade read­ers shares his ups, downs, anec­dotes, and advice on fol­low­ing their own paths to busi­ness success.

What Do You Do with an Idea?
writ­ten by Kobi Yama­da
illus­trat­ed by Mae Besom
Com­pendi­um, 2014

What does an idea look like? In this wild­ly pop­u­lar book for chil­dren (and adults), it looks like an egg, with legs, and a gold­en crown. The child in the book is uncom­fort­able about the egg, unsure of what it is, but the egg hangs around. As the child gets used to the egg (the idea) and gains con­fi­dence about the idea, the egg grows and becomes more sub­stan­tial. By the end of the book, the child’s idea changes the world. A good dis­cus­sion starter.

How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000:
Earn! Save! Invest!
writ­ten by James McKen­na,
Jean­nine Glista, and Matt Fontaine
Work­man, 2016

If you have a bent toward entre­pre­neur­ship, this book includes chap­ters on set­ting finan­cial goals, mak­ing a bud­get, get­ting a job, start­ing a busi­ness, and invest­ing smart­ly. The authors include a one-page busi­ness plan tem­plate, a two-page plan to become a mil­lion­aire, and a per­son­al bud­get track­er. Ready, set, go!

Bee Fear­less: Dream Like a Kid
writ­ten by Mikaila Ulmer
G.P. Put­nam’s Sons, 2020

Inspi­ra­tion from a young entre­pre­neur who was stung by a bee and encour­aged by her par­ents to learn more about bees so she would­n’t be afraid of them. Moved by how impor­tant bees are to our ecosys­tem, Mikaila sold lemon­ade and donat­ed the prod­ucts to orga­ni­za­tions ded­i­cat­ed to sav­ing the bees. She began when she was four. Now that she’s fif­teen, Me & the Bees Lemon­ade is sold around the coun­try. Mikaila has met with For­tune 500 CEOs, secured a deal on Shark Tank, and vis­it­ed the Oba­ma White House. She shares her sto­ry, her con­fi­dence, and her tips and advice for bud­ding entrepreneurs.

How the Sec­ond Grade Got $8,205.50
to Vis­it the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty
writ­ten by Nathan Zimel­man
illus­trat­ed by Bill Slavin
Albert Whit­man, 2017

When Susan Olson’s sec­ond-grade class spins up wild ideas to raise mon­ey for a trip to the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty, she ful­fills her role as sec­ond-grade trea­sur­er by record­ing the details of their efforts (adven­tures) under “Expens­es” and “Prof­it.” The class does its best by col­lect­ing paper, run­ning a lemon­ade stand, sit­ting babies, walk­ing dogs, and sell­ing can­dy. A humor­ous book with an eco­nom­ics les­son wrapped inside.


Kid Start-Up:
How YOU Can Be an Entre­pre­neur
writ­ten by Mark Cuban,
Shaan Patel, and Ian McCue
Diver­sion Books, 2018

From a lemon­ade stand to an Etsy art store, these three entre­pre­neurs walk kids through ten dif­fer­ent start-ups that serve as mod­els for busi­ness­es they can try if they’re inspired … or apply the steps and skills to their own dreams and ideas.

New Total­ly Awe­some Busi­ness Book for Kids
writ­ten by Arthur Bochn­er, Rose Bochn­er, Adri­ane G. Berg
3rd edi­tion, William Mor­row, 2007

First writ­ten by Arthur Bochn­er when he was thir­teen with help from his edu­ca­tor mom, Adri­ane G. Berg, this third edi­tion was also writ­ten by Arthur’s younger sis­ter, Rose. They offer ideas for twen­ty “super busi­ness­es you can start right now!” They offer advice on busi­ness bud­gets, record keep­ing and fil­ing, tele­phon­ing and e‑mailing, using the inter­net to find infor­ma­tion, nego­ti­at­ing, putting it in writ­ing, mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing, net­work­ing, and human rela­tions. The book includes car­toons, games, quizzes, rid­dles, and sto­ries, mak­ing it fun to read.

Lily Wool
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Paula Vásquez
Gibbs Smith, 2017

Lily does­n’t think like all the oth­er sheep. She has her own ideas, her own ways of doing things. When she finds a loose bit of yarn, she lets her imag­i­na­tion take flight as she becomes a gym­nast, a horse rid­er, and an expert at throw­ing a las­so. When her thoughts turn to help­ing oth­ers, her cre­ativ­i­ty shines brightly.

Bil­ly Sure Kid Entre­pre­neur
invent­ed by Luke Sharpe
illus­trat­ed by Gra­ham Ross
Simon Spot­light, 2015

In this 12-book fic­tion series, bud­ding entre­pre­neurs will be inspired by Bil­ly Sure, the inven­tor of the All Ball and CEO of Sure Things, Inc. In the first book filled with illus­tra­tions of cool and wacky inven­tions, twelve-year-old Bil­ly holds a con­test for young inven­tors. Entries like No-Wash Socks and the Sib­ling Silencer make it a tough decision!

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3 years ago

What a great theme for a book list! So many great books here I haven’t seen. I’m a huge fan of “What Do You Do With an Idea.”

Brian Weisfeld
3 years ago

Love this list! Thanks for includ­ing our series. What Does It Mean to Be an Entre­pre­neur? is one of my favorites, I even give it to my adult friends who start businesses!