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Entrepreneurship: Books For Kids

From the classic lemonade stand to more structured avenues like selling Girl Scout Cookies there are lots of ways for kids to get involved in being a little entrepreneurial. Start them young, allow them to fail (and see it's not the end of the world, but really an incredible lesson in how to do better next time!), and let their ideas pop out of the box (sure you can pick dandelions out of my yard for me at $0.05 per full plant + root!) and you'll be sure to have budding entrepreneurs in no time. Looking for a little inspiration? Here are a few books you may want to check out to peak their entrepreneurial spirit.

What Do You Do with an Idea? book
#1
What Do You Do with an Idea?
Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I love this entire series of books, but this one is definitely my favorite. It's beautifully illustrated, inspirational, motivational and clever. That being said, it's definitely geared towards a little older audience.

A young boy comes up with an idea and he keeps it safe until one day he realizes the amazing power it can have.

Lily Wool book
#2
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

Lily Wool is different—in a good way. She has lots of ideas and is quick on her feet when things go wrong. I love how this book encourages exploring your passions and thinking independently.

Thoughts from The Goodfather

Lily Wool is such a playful and inventive tale! I love the message of the story, that Lily Wool embraces her differences to find her unique voice and contribution among the members of her flock. As a business owner myself, I also love her resourcefulness in opening her seamstress shop!

A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children's picture books.

The Toothpaste Millionaire book
#3
The Toothpaste Millionaire
Written and illustrated by Jean Merrill
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Why Should I Recycle Garbage? (PB)

Once Upon a Company book
#4
Once Upon a Company
Written and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Tells how a seven-year-old boy and his sisters started a wreath-making business which, over the course of six years, grew to include other businesses, marketing, wholesaling, and investing, and netted more than $16,000.

Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur book
#5
Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur
Written by Luke Sharpe and illustrated by Graham Ross
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old genius inventor and budding businessman Billy Sure hosts an online contest for fellow kid innovators to share their own inventions and the winning submission will be produced by his company, Sure Things, Inc., but with so many fascinating entries, Billy wonders how he will ever choose a winner while helping other kids achieve their dreams at the same time. Simultaneous and eBook.

  1. The Donut Chef - When his competitor sets up his business right next door to the first doughnut shop in town, culinary chaos ensues as the original doughnut guru and the newcomer try to outdo one another with their crazy creations, including Gooey Coca-Mocha Silk and Peanut-Brittle Buttermilk.

  2. When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree - "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator's careful--and funny--instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all.

  3. Even Aliens Need Snacks - In the follow up to his breakout picture book, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, Matthew McElligott brings back the young monster barber in a new tale where his culinary concoctions bring him galaxy-wide fame. Creating snacks that make most humans queasy, this chef has found a new clientele--aliens. Readers will delight in McElligott's gently offbeat humor and unique artistry as spaceships full of hilarious creatures line up for a taste of the intergalactic cuisine.

  4. Even Monsters Need Haircuts - Just before midnight, on the night of a full moon, a young barber stays out past his bedtime to go to work. Although his customers are mostly regulars, they are anything but normal--after all, even monsters need haircuts. Business is steady all night, and this barber is prepared for anything with his scissors, rotting tonic, horn polish, and stink wax. It's a tough job, but someone's got to help these creatures maintain their ghoulish good looks. Perfect for Halloween, this is a hilarious story about a boy who follows in his father's footsteps . . . in his own monstrously unique way.

Tops and Bottoms book
#10
Tops and Bottoms
Written and illustrated by Janet Stevens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

There's definitely some nostalgia here for me, but I absolutely love this book! It has its own folksy feel from the original tales, emphasized and added to by the rich illustrations (this is a Caldecott winner after all!) while still being relevant and modern. Is anyone else loving Father Hare's sweet carrot shirt?! While I don't necessarily condone Father Hare's wily business practices, in the spirit of a true folk tale the deserving are fed and the not so deserving learn a lesson... this time about doing your own hard work.

Hare turns his bad luck around by striking a clever deal with the rich and lazy bear down the road.

Caps for Sale book
#11
Caps for Sale
Written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of readers. This easy-to-read story about a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity. Children will delight in following the peddlers efforts to outwit the monkeys in this new, enlarged, and redesigned edition, and will ask to read it again and again.

Rufus the Writer book
#12
Rufus the Writer
Written by Elizabeth Bram and illustrated by Chuck Groenink
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This a unique tale of storytelling, friendship, and entrepreneurship. Young business minded readers will enjoy seeing Rufus' clever version of the traditional lemonade stand. I love that the story shows young readers that they can innovate using their unique interests and abilities rather than feel obligated to do the same thing that has always been done.

Rather than a lemonade stand, Rufus sets up a story stand one summer and makes a series of trades with his friends--a story for a shell, for a kitten, for a surprise, and one more as a special birthday gift for his sister.

Camila's Lemonade Stand book
#13
Camila's Lemonade Stand
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Camila's Lemonade Stand is a book about entrepreneurship, tailored to Pre-K imaginations Camila is a plucky kid in the Career Launcher Crew, seven fearless children in search of their futures. When she finds herself with no money for the Ferris wheel, friendly sprite Itsy shows up to give her some good advice: she can start a business What happens when Jaden opens a competing cookie stall? And will the dark clouds on the horizon rain out their fun? With endearing characters kids love, and charming illustrations by Lizzy Duncan (Tollins series, HarperCollins), Camila's Lemonade Stand is a wonderful first introduction to the key principles of entrepreneurship. Grounded in the key principles underpinning every successful venture, the MyCareerLauncher goal is to plant the seeds of the next generation of entrepreneurs. "Your product is terrific. There is huge potential in teaching children to think like entrepreneurs. And how needed it is these days MyCareerLauncher will help form linkages among parents and educators - and engage grandparents as well. I love the approach " -Parents.com Blogger Dr. Richard Rende, Brown University Camila's Lemonade Stand is the first in a unique series of six early learning career guides for Pre-K kids. The series is the first in a comprehensive preschool to college career discovery program. Featuring delightful characters and compelling narratives, and backed by rigorous research, MyCareerLauncher engages children in a quest for their best-fit careers with the power of their imaginations. Don't miss the forthcoming Companion Guide for parents, grandparents and teachers More information at MyCareerLauncher.com. Discover a path where your passions can shine with MyCareerLauncher

How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty book
#14
How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty
Written by Nathan Zimelman and illustrated by Bill Slavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

These are some very entrepreneurial kids! The story, told from the perspective of the second-grade treasurer and reporter, is humorous and full of the details and perspective of an elementary child. Fair warning, that the varied entrepreneurial endeavors do get a little long so this is probably best suited for elementary age children with a little longer attention span, who are probably the best audience for the humor anyway.

Chronicles the triumphs and setbacks of the second grade as they try a variety of schemes to raise money for a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

  1. Monkey Business - A music festival is coming to town, and Annabelle and her friends can't wait to rock out--that is if they can earn enough cash to buy the expensive tickets. In this day and age, a regular old lemonade stand isn't going to cut it. They'll need to get creative, but agreeing on a strategy is harder than Annabelle thought, especially when her best friend, Rachel, has strong opinions that threaten not just their business model, but their friendship as well. With big plans--and big changes--afoot, there's no time for Annabelle and crew to monkey around! Capturing the ups and downs of friendship, family, and middle school in her pitch perfect storytelling, Leslie Margolis keeps readers coming back for more of life according to Annabelle Stevens.

  2. The Startup Squad - Girls mean business in a brand-new middle grade series about friendship and entrepreneurship! All the great leaders had to start somewhere. And Theresa (“Resa” for short) is starting with the lemonade stand competition her teacher assigned to the class—but making it a success is going to be a lot harder than Resa thinks. The prize: line-skipping tickets to Adventure Central. The competition: Val, Resa's middle school nemesis. And the biggest obstacle to success: Resa's own teammates. Harriet is the class clown, Amelia is the new girl who thinks she knows best, and Didi is Resa's steadfast friend—who doesn't know the first thing about making or selling lemonade. The four of them quickly realize that the recipe for success is tough to perfect—but listening to each other is the first step. And making new friends might be the most important one... The back of each book features tips from the Startup Squad and an inspirational profile of a girl entrepreneur!

  3. Breaking the Piggy Bank - Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam decide to create their very own start-up—a lemonade stand!—in this fifth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series. Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam have been hard at work in their craft studio—so busy in fact, that their supplies are starting to dwindle. It’s time to stock up! In order to add a little money to their piggy bank, the friends decide to combine their skills and use the last of their allowance to create their very own business: a lemonade stand! But something’s not quite right. While the stand looks fabulous, the lemonade is…not. Can these crafty entrepreneurs save their business before it’s too late? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

  4. Splat the Cat and the Lemonade Stand - You know Splat the Cat from his bestselling picture books and Level One stories. Now get ready to graduate with Splat into Level Two readers and find out what funny adventures Splat will get into next! School’s out, and Splat can’t wait to visit the waterpark, but first he needs make some money—selling lemonade! Splat opens a lemonade stand to make enough money to buy a ticket to the Super Jump Water Park. But when Spike opens another lemonade stand right across the street, Splat is in for some friendly competition. He’s going to have to think fast to beat his rival! Splat the Cat and the Lemonade Stand is a Level Two I Can Read book, geared for kids who read on their own but still need a little help. Beginning readers ready for Level Two will love this fun Splat the Cat adventure.

Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock book
#19
Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock
Written by Sheila Bair and illustrated by Barry Gott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Gramps teaches his twin grandsons the value of saving money when he pays each a dollar a week to help with summer chores, then matches every dollar each boy saves.

Kat Wolfe Investigates book
#20
Kat Wolfe Investigates
Written by Lauren St John
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When twelve-year-old Kat Wolfe starts a pet-sitting agency, she soon finds herself unraveling a mystery, in this first book of a new middle-grade series from award-winning author Lauren St. John. After a break-in at their London home, Kat Wolfe and her veterinarian mum decide it’s time to move to the country. Dr. Wolfe’s new job on England’s Jurassic Coast comes with a condition: They have to adopt Tiny, a huge Savannah who resists Kat’s best attempts at cat whispering. Kat starts a pet-sitting agency to make pocket money, but then the owner of her first client, an Amazon parrot, vanishes from his gadget-filled mansion. Only one person shares Kat’s conviction that he’s the victim of foul play: Harper Lamb, an American girl laid up with two broken legs thanks to her racehorse. Kat and Harper team up, but what starts out as mystery-solving fun turns deadly for the duo. When all clues point to a nearby army base, can they count on their unruly animal friends to save the day—and their lives?

Payback on Poplar Lane book
#21
Payback on Poplar Lane
Written by Margaret Mincks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski prides himself on being a professional businessman. Tired of the cliched lemonade stands that line his block, he decides to start a better business with the help of an intern. But his intern of choice, the quiet and writerly Rachel Chambers, turns out to be more than he bargained for. Rachel is innovative, resourceful, driven--and when she's had enough of Peter's overbearing management style, she decides to start a competing empire next door. As their rivalry and sabotage tactics become more outrageous--Slander! Espionage! Lemonade threats!--Peter and Rachel ultimately learn the hard way that "nothing gold can stay" and that friendship is more important than money. Alternating perspectives reveal what really motivates each character to win. And Peter's memos and "business tips" as well as excerpts from Rachel's melodramatic novel-in-progress generate fresh hilarity and tension at every page turn. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy with heart, reminiscent of your favorite classic middle-grade series.

Jelly Bean Summer book
#22
Jelly Bean Summer
Written by Joyce Magnin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Joyce has had it with her family (especially with UFO-sighting Elaine who loves her guinea pig more than her own sister). Her solution? Move out of the house and pitch a tent on the roof for the summer. But when she spots a boy watching her from a neighboring roof she's stunned-and intrigued. Brian recently lost his brother, and the two instantly bond over their messed-up families. To help Brian repair his brother's truck, they concoct a scheme to build and sell tickets to a UFO display. Even Elaine agrees to help... until unexpected events test the limits of Joyce's family ties.

Miss Fox's Class Earns a Field Trip book
#23
Miss Fox's Class Earns a Field Trip
Written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Anne Kennedy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Miss Fox's class wants to go to Roller Coaster Planet--but they have to earn their way to the park. When their fund-raising attempts go awry, the class discovers their earnings are going down, not up! This fun picture book introduces kids to budgeting.

  1. Sammy Startup - It's time to handle business with Sammy and his trusty management team as they embark on a new venture. A hot tamale and a meeting in the park provides the team with inspiration for a refreshing new business idea.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!