INSPIRING READS ON RISK-TAKING, COURAGE, AND INNOVATION FOR KIDS AND TEENS
Books to empower kids and teens to see the possibilities beyond their comfort zone.
Your girls will always face times when they have to take risks, either planned or by surprise. You can prepare them for these moments by setting the foundation for their success, providing advice, and encouraging them to read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books that touch on the topic. Why? Because smart risk-takers overcome their fear of failure, see mistakes as learning opportunities, and develop a growth mindset. Here’s our recommended list of fiction and non-fiction books featuring plucky characters and real-life innovative entrepreneurs who bravely take risks.
Recommended for ages 2-6. Izzy Gizmo is about a young girl named Izzy who loves inventing and tinkering with machines. As she sets out to help a bird with a broken wing, she uses her creativity and problem-solving skills to devise a solution. Even though she encounters setbacks and obstacles along the way, she doesn’t give up. Instead, she tries new approaches until she finds a solution. This picture book celebrates the joy of invention and encourages kids to stay curious. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Recommended for ages 4-7. A charming children’s book about creativity, self-expression, and the power of believing in oneself, The Dot follows a young girl named Vashti who is convinced she can’t draw. Still, with the encouragement of her teacher, she discovers the joy of making art and the limitless possibilities that come with it. The book’s message is simple but powerful: Everyone has the potential to be creative; sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement to unlock that potential. A classic, The Dot makes a fantastic addition to any home library, reminding young readers that anyone can make their mark on the world. Buy it on Amazon.
Marsha is Magnetic by Beth Ferry
Recommended for ages 4-7. A STEAM-minded picture book, Marsha is Magnetic follows a girl named Marsha who feels like an outsider in school and struggles to make friends. So, she uses the scientific method to figure out her friendship dilemma. In the process, she learns to embrace her unique qualities and connect with others in meaningful ways. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-Of-Foot Girl by Megan Reid
Recommended for ages 4-8. This children’s book shares the inspiring story of Althea Gibson, the first African American tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament. A great introduction to the life and legacy of a remarkable athlete, Althea Gibson follows Althea’s journey from her humble beginnings in Harlem to her rise to tennis stardom. The illustrations transport young readers to the tennis courts where Althea made history, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. This picture book biography also highlights the importance of perseverance, determination, and courage in adversity, making it a valuable lesson for all readers. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Recommended for ages 4+. The Book of Mistakes teaches young readers how and why “the biggest blunders can spark the brightest inspiration.” The book’s minimal, playful text and illustrations prompt kids to embrace mistakes and see them as opportunities for growth and creativity. The story follows an artist who makes a series of errors in her work. But, rather than give up, she finds ways to turn those mistakes into something new and unexpected. This book makes an excellent gift for kids (teens and adults, too) who need encouragement to take risks, try new things, and embrace their unique creative journey. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Mae Makes a Way: The True Story of Mae Reeves, Hat & History Maker by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Recommended for ages 7-10. Written in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Mae Makes a Way is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that tells the true and inspiring story of Mae Reeves, a black hat maker who defied the odds and became a successful entrepreneur in Philadelphia during the early 20th century. Along the way, young readers learn about Mae’s challenges as a black woman in a segregated society and her determination and resilience in pursuing her dreams. The book also celebrates Mae’s legacy as a trailblazer and a pioneer, highlighting the importance of representation and diversity in the fashion industry and beyond. When your girls are done reading, they can visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and appreciate Mae’s permanent exhibit. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Grace Stirs It Up by Mary Casanova
Recommend for ages 8-10. The second book in the series, Girl of the Year by American Girl, Grace Stirs It Up is perfect for young readers interested in uplifting stories about baking and entrepreneurship. The story follows Grace as she navigates the ups and downs of starting her own business. As she faces obstacles and setbacks in her baking endeavors, she learns the value of persistence and the power of support from those around her. Buy it on Amazon.
Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First by Luke Reynolds
Recommended for ages 8-12. Fantastic Failures reminds readers that success is often built on a foundation of failure. By featuring famous figures who experienced setbacks and failures on their path to success, this book uplifts kids and tweens to reframe their understanding of failure, seeing it not as a roadblock but as a necessary part of the learning process. In addition, the book emphasizes the importance of persistence, resilience, and a growth mindset, showing how these qualities can help anyone turn failure into success. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Katie and the Cupcake Cure The Graphic Novel (1) (Cupcake Diaries: The Graphic Novel)
Recommended for ages 8-12. When Katie’s best friend Callie joins the Popular Girls Club, Katie finds herself feeling lonely and uncertain. However, with the help of her new friend Mia and her love for baking, Katie learns to overcome her struggles and pursue her dreams. This graphic novel’s illustrations bring Katie’s world to life in a charming way. The story is heartwarming, with themes of friendship and perseverance. A must-read for anyone who needs a little push to go after their dreams, no matter how big or small they may be! Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
The Startup Squad Series by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear
Recommended for ages 8 to 13. The Startup Squad book series follows the adventures (and misadventures) of friends Resa, Harriet, Amelia, and Didi as they navigate their entrepreneurial journey and learn valuable lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and innovation. From running a lemonade stand to selling t-shirts to producing calligraphy and party planning, the girls realize they can achieve anything when they work together and support one another. Each book in the series also features real-life young girl entrepreneurs who provide practical advice and tips for kids and teens interested in starting and running a business. You can buy it as a signed boxed set on Amazon or a personalized signed box set from our website here.
The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman
Recommended for ages 9+. An entertaining and informative guide for young girls, The Confidence Code is jam-packed with fun lists, quizzes, illustrations, engaging interviews with real girls, and practical advice from the authors. This guidebook helps girls overcome their fears and take risks, from speaking up in class to trying new things outside their comfort zone. The book also emphasizes the importance of making mistakes and learning from them, as well as the power of perseverance in achieving one’s goals. A must-read for young girls who want to become their best, most confident selves. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh
Recommended for ages 10+. A collection of ten diverse and compelling stories written by talented authors, Flying Lessons & Other Stories explores themes of identity, family, friendship, adolescent struggles and triumphs, and resilience with characters from various cultural backgrounds and experiences. The collection includes stories by well-known authors, like Kwame Alexander and Jacqueline Woodson, and up-and-coming writers. The range of writing styles and perspectives amplifies diverse voices and stories, ensuring that the characters are authentic and relatable to kids and teens. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague
Recommended for ages 12+. This empowering graphic memoir explores the author’s journey to find her identity and purpose as an artist. Written and illustrated by Liz Montague, Maybe An Artist tells the story of her life as a black woman navigating the complexities of the art world. Her story is an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt marginalized or uncertain about their place in the world. The book is also a call to action, urging readers to recognize the importance of diverse voices in the art world and to support underrepresented artists. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.
Need more book recommendations? We have a list of books for kids and teens who want to learn about finance, business books with actionable startup tips for kids and teens, and even a recommended list of the best fiction books every young entrepreneur should read.