Kids have the best ideas! How might these great idea generators harness their professional potential in the years to come? In the same way we talk about different jobs with kids, it’s helpful to talk about what entrepreneurship means and what that could look like as a career path. Between picture books, chapter books, and memoir-guides written by young entrepreneurs, there are many books sure to inspire young readers and spark them to think more about their own big ideas. Read on for some favorite book resources, and here's info on Whole Kids Foundation’s Young Entrepreneur grant program and recipients.

What Does Entrepreneurship Mean?

What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? By Rana DiOrio and Emma D. Dryden and illustrated by Ken Min

This picture book for ages 4 to 8 covers the basics of what being an entrepreneur is all about, with concrete examples and illustrations of what it does and doesn’t mean. This is helpful for introducing the concept of entrepreneurship to younger readers and suggesting how entrepreneurs are making the world a better place. A “what you can do” page in the back offers steps for organizing thoughts and getting started.

Be a Young Entrepreneur Written by Adam Sutherland and illustrated by Mike Gordon

For older picture book readers, this book is packed with practical tips and information, additional resources, and examples of young entrepreneur success stories. Covering concepts such as mission statements, brand building, marketing, finances and more, this resource offers a strong foundation with lots to consider for readers motivated to launch their business ideas.

It All Starts with an Idea!

What Do You Do with an Idea? and What Do You Do with a Problem? Written by Kobi Yamada and Illustrated by Mae Besom

This book duo reminds us that problems hold opportunities, and the conviction to stick with an idea may lead to something big. The first book looks at the promise held in a big idea. An idea follows the narrator everywhere, growing as the narrator wrestles with it and eventually decides to nurture it. In the second book, a dark cloud of a problem follows the narrator. Problems aren’t fun, but this story asks us what we can learn from them and shows us how solving a problem can help us grow.

Lemonade Stands and More

Rufus The Writer by Elizabeth Bram and illustrated by Chuck Groenink

In this fiction picture book, Rufus decides to set up a summer story stand. He writes stories and trades them for treasures with friends. This charming book celebrates creativity and encourages readers to ask themselves: what goods and services can you trade with friends?

Louise Loves Bake Sales by Kelly Light

Art-loving Louise bakes cupcakes to raise money for a class field trip in this fiction picture book. She has a vision for a rainbow of colorful cupcakes, but her little brother gets involved and messes up her plan. Louise, however, is very creative and adaptable (modeling essential skills of an entrepreneur), and ends up coming up with a way to salvage the situation and make some really cool cupcakes.

The Lemonade Stand Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

This book has everything young entrepreneurs need to plan an A+ lemonade stand, including recipes and practical tips on setting up the stand itself. With helpful step-by-step illustrations and photos and quotes from kids who’ve made and tasted the recipes, this collection includes lemonades and drinks, as well as sweet treats, snacks and crafts.

The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear

This chapter book about a sixth-grade trip and fundraising project follows a team of four girls as they navigate the challenges of putting together a successful lemonade stand. Along the way they learn about teamwork, how to pitch and sell their product, competition and more. The book includes tips on marketing, sales, and merchandising, along with a profile of a real-life girl entrepreneur.

Young People Following Their Dreams

Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid by Mikaila Ulmer (long-time friend of Whole Kids Foundation!)

This memoir and business guide chronicles Mikaila Ulmer’s experience as the founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade. With photos from her journey, lots of practical tips, and “buzziness ideas” throughout, readers will love learning how a bee sting motivated Mikaila to set up a lemonade stand to save the bees. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s lemonade recipe, she developed her own version using honey and flaxseed. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Mikaila is also an award-winning activist and demonstrates how a mission-driven business can flourish.

MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks

With 100 recipes inspired by dishes made by contestants ages 8 to13, this cookbook features photos of young chefs in action on the MasterChef Junior television show along with stories of how they created the dishes. Including quotes from contestants sharing favorite memories of their experiences cooking on the show, this book offers young readers the encouragement to be brave, choose adventure, and follow passions, while learning as much as possible along the way.

To see more of my favorite cooking and gardening books for kids, please join me @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. And please dig into more of my book picks for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter!

Kate Rowe loves picture books, reading, gardening, cooking, and talking about all these things! She shares picture book recommendations paired with food adventures @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. She is a writer, editor, and parent of two book-loving garden helpers.