I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Book Title: KidVenture: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue by Steve Searfoss
Category: Middle Grade Fiction (ages 8 – 12)
Genre: Fiction (Business Adventure Story)
Publisher: Self-Published/KDP, 125 pages
Release date: January 2020
Content Rating: G – I am a parent and pay close to attention to the media my children consume. I set out to write a book series that was clean and family friendly. KidVenture teaches the value of hard work, the importance of saving money, how essential it is to keep your word, and the need to find cooperative solutions with partners in order to be successful at business. This is a book that entertains but also educates and inspires.
Chance Sterling launches a pool cleaning business over the summer. Join Chance as he looks for new customers, discovers how much to charge them, takes on a business partner, recruits an employee, deals with difficult clients, and figures out how to make a profit. He has twelve weeks to reach his goal. Will he make it? Only if he takes some chances.
KidVenture stories are business adventures where kids figure out how to market their company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with. As the story progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key metrics which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story.
I wrote my first KidVenture book after years of making up stories to teach my kids about business and economics. Whenever they’d ask how something works or why things were a certain way, I would say, “Let’s pretend you have a business that sells…” and off we’d go. What would start as a simple hypothetical to explain a concept would become an adventure spanning several days as my kids would come back with new questions which would spawn more plot twists. Rather than give them quick answers, I tried to create cliffhangers to get them to really think through an idea and make the experience as interactive as possible.
I try to bring that same spirit of fun, curiosity and challenge to each KidVenture book. That’s why every chapter ends with a dilemma and a set of questions. KidVenture books are fun for kids to read alone, and even more fun to read together and discuss. There are plenty of books where kids learn about being doctors and astronauts and firefighters. There are hardly any where they learn what it’s like to run small business. KidVenture is different. The companies the kids start are modest and simple, but the themes are serious and important.
I’m an entrepreneur who has started a half dozen or so businesses and have had my share of failures. My dad was an entrepreneur and as a kid I used to love asking him about his business and learning the ins and outs of what to do and not do. Mistakes make the best stories — and the best lessons. I wanted to write a business book that was realistic, where you get to see the characters stumble and wander and reset, the way entrepreneurs do in real life. Unlike most books and movies where business is portrayed as easy, where all you need is one good idea and the desire to be successful, the characters in KidVenture find that every day brings new problems to solve.
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This book would make an excellent resource for middle grade classes. Many schools and homeschools take time to introduce students to business terminology, economics, and entrepreneurship. This story could be used a chapter at a time. Teachers will love that the chapters could make wonderful discussion time and even group assignments. It’s very heavy on math with lots of calculations. The story concerns a family: mother, father, son, and daughter. The boy wants to earn money to buy a special bike and the book takes us through his journey to learn how to grow a small business. Children will find it entertaining and could become inspired to follow with a journey of their own.
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