I wasn’t a child entrepreneur like one of my business partners of Aquent, John, who bought soda wholesale as a kid and tried to sell it in Central Park from his wagon. The business was brisk until other food sellers sent over the police to shut him down because he was selling without a permit.
His entrepreneurial spirit followed him to Harvard. He got his father, who was wrapping up the family business in Taiwan, to ship him a crate of inexpensive headphones. I remember when he had to go to the docks in Boston to retrieve them from customs. He convinced a local store selling speakers to sell them on consignment. Periodically, I would accompany him as he went to collect a check. We’d eat out from that money so this was a welcome reprieve from our boring dorm food.
I learned how to be an entrepreneur from John. We bootstrapped a business that started off as desktop publishing out of our college dorm room into a multinational corporation. Now, thirty-four years later, Aquent is the world’s largest company staffing creative, digital, and marketing talent with 37 offices around the world.
I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is both nurture and nature in that entrepreneurs need personality traits that include optimism and fearlessness. Mentors are also important to help provide a roadmap for the unknown. Education whether it’s through books or the classroom is also helpful to learn concrete skills like accounting and finance.
I think entrepreneurs learn from the laps of their parents, just like kids learn to read, if they are lucky enough to possess parents with that skill set. My own kids have asked about business and entrepreneurship since they were little — some more than others — and this has resulted in questions like Who Owns the Money? I’m proud of them for launching their own business, indigo clothing co.
Today, I have author Carter Higgins, with a book list for kids on entrepreneurship. We are also giving away a copy of her new book, Bikes for Sale. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
I’m a huge fan of Carter Higgins. Not only does she write in lyrical prose, but she always manages to find a new, interesting spin on her stories. Honestly, her books never disappoint! Her latest book was sparked by seeing a sign of Bikes for Sale. From that innocuous sign that could very be outgrown bikes, she has created a story of entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and friendship. Bikes are involved too! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
p.s. Related posts:
Carter Higgins on Entrepreneurship
The dedication in Bikes for Sale says this:
For the bike riders in my neighborhood: Sallie, Beverly, Wendy, Kate, and Brooke.
The six of us lived in three pairs of sisters: big and little, big and little, big and little.
We lived next door to each other and just down the street. We did everything together on bikes or roller skates and only wore regular shoes if it was time to set up shop.
The Anything Store is what we called it. We used sticks to hollow out acorns and strung them on yarn to make necklaces and bracelets. We sold rocks as paperweights. And we created artwork on small pieces of construction paper, let the glue dry on the back, and told our customers that if they licked the glue, it would become a sticker.
We didn’t sell that many if I remember right. But the stick-collecting and lemonade-stand-ing have roots in The Anything Store, that’s for sure.
Here are some other books for young entrepreneurs in your neighborhood.
Books for Kids about Entrepreneurship
Project Startup (Eat Bugs #1) by Laura D’Asaro, Rose Wang, Heather Alexander, and illustrated by Vanessa Flores
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“This was a great mix of business skills and 6th grade friend drama. We all know (or possibly were) a Hallie; any of your students who are wearing cat ear headbands right now would be her friend. Jaye was born in China, and Wang’s portrayal of her difficulties with her mother and her classmates are sensitively done. She represents so many girls who don’t want to cause a stir and are willing to be somewhat unhappy if they can retain friends who are “popular”. The arc of her friendship with Spencer is also realistic. I really appreciated the roles that the parents and grandmother played in this book: driving children to practice, helping with homework, overseeing work to be done.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Enemies by Svetlana Chmakova
Middle school is complicated for Felicity. Her younger sister seems to win at everything she does, while Felicity can’t seem to finish anything she starts. Friendships are also complicated. Things are really awkward with her best friend in elementary school, Joseph Ko, and she doesn’t why. Still, she floats between groups and that helps to keep the drama to a minimum. That is until she decided to enter a business plan competition to show everyone including herself that she can be a winner too. Only, now her friendships are intermingled and the stress to come up with a good idea increases. This might be a good time to reassess who is an enemy and what makes for a good friend. Failure isn’t an option, or is it? [middle grade graphic novel, ages 10 and up]
The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
These girls were financial icons to the six of us, or me at least. Claudia had a phone in her bedroom! They had a secretary and made money and pooled it for the common good! They were amazing. The originals are still just as good as ever, and the revamped graphic novel series proves that kids are still just as interested in financial literacy and hidden candy. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
Alexander Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
Well, Alexander is no keen entrepreneur, but his mishaps are an excellent look at what happens when you spend more money than you earn. Can’t we all relate to this?! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas
Everyone’s had a lemonade stand, right? This book takes that childhood staple and sets it in an unexpected season. The writing is bouncy and fun to read out loud, and the illustrations are surprising and cozy. Definitely a good twist on an old favorite. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Monstore by Tara Lazar and James Burks
This is a funny, twisty take on what not to do as an entrepreneur! The booming voice of the shop owner hollers, “No refunds! No exchanges!” and our main character is in a monstrous bit of trouble and fun. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
One Hen by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
After Kojo’s father dies, he has to quit school in order to help his family on their farm in Ghana. Thanks to a small loan from neighbors, Kojo buys one hen. That one? Turn into one of the biggest farms in the area. It’s based on a true story and an inspiring look at micro-loans and citizenship. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina and Claudio Muńoz
Before Meg Medina won a Newbery (!), she won an Ezra Jack Keats award for this beautiful book. Like the title tells us, Tía Isa wants a car, and her niece—our narrator—is determined to help. How else can you get to the beach with the folks you love? It takes some saving, some waiting, and some hope. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
All action starts with an idea, right? My neighborhood friends and I had one. Kojo had one. Pauline and John-John had one. This is a perfect book to read in those tenuous moments between having an idea and figuring out what to do with it. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
What Does it Mean to be an Entrepreneur? by Rana DiOrio and Emma Dryden, illustrated by Ken Min
Are your little ones ready to get to work? This handbook is both practical and empowering. Let it invite your youngsters to put that creativity to use. Their ideas are just as good as any grownups. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
(Just maybe don’t let them tell people to lick glue.)
Kitten Chaos (Must Love Pets #2) by Saadia Faruqi
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“This was a solid realistic fiction choice with Kids Doing Things. I liked that the girls had a business plan, even though it wasn’t always easy to follow. The way they got clients was realistic. I enjoyed the storyline with Dada Jee and the fact that it hadn’t occurred to his family that he might be homesick! The farmer’s market was a fun setting. Of course, the kittens are the biggest draw here.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Bikes for Sale GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away a copy of her new book, Bikes for Sale. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
Carter Higgins is the author of A Rambler Steals Home (HMH) and three picture books from Chronicle Books: This is Not a Valentine (Lucy Ruth Cummins), Everything You Need For a Treehouse (Emily Hughes), and the forthcoming Bikes for Sale (Zachariah Ohora). She is Emmy-winning visual effects and motion graphics artist and spent a decade as an elementary school librarian. She writes about picture books and graphic design at her blog, Design of the Picture Book. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @carterhiggins.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.