Shop Small: Books About Small Businesses for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year and it could be the most important Small Business Saturday yet. With the ongoing pandemic and threat of Coronavirus — the quarantine and restrictions that have been put into place for months now — small businesses have been suffering; reports show they are closing by the thousands, partially and permanently. Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities, and this year it’s vital to show that support. For November, we thought we’d celebrate small businesses by highlighting some books for children and teens that have small businesses at their core. Remember to shop small, especially as the holiday season begins to approach!

Brown, Calef
Pirateria: The Wonderful Plunderful Pirate Emporium. 2012 (Picture Book).
When pirates need superior wares and treasure for life at sea, they head on down to Pirateria. This is a story about a pirate emporium, where you can find treasure chests, peg legs, planks, eye patches, head rags, vests, pantaloons, satchels, gem pouches, and doubloons — all at prices that can’t be beat. This picture book will take you on a rhyming journey through Pirateria — a small business that’s there for all your pirate needs.

Jaigirdar, Adiba
The Henna Wars. 2020 (Teen).
A school competition invites students to create their own businesses, and old friends Flávia and Nishat both choose to do henna. Nishat wants to do a henna business because it’s her culture and her grandmother taught her; Flávia decides to do henna because it’s trendy. A crush, coming out to her parents (with less-than-great reactions), sabotage, and school stress makes Nishat’s life more hectic as it gets tangled with Flávia’s as their small businesses go to war. Covering heavy topics such as cultural appropriation and racism, this book helps teens starting their own small businesses to have that conversation, as well as showing what small businesses can mean to individuals.

Lord, Emma
Tweet Cute. 2020 (Teen).
Pepper runs the massive Twitter account for her family’s booming fast-food chain Big League Burgers; Jack starts running the Twitter account for his family’s small deli when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, using the social media profile to try and take down the chain one tweet at a time. Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war, helping Jack’s family’s small business in the process. Little do the two know that, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles on their business accounts, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. This book takes a look at the struggles small businesses often face, from starting one to keeping one running.

Panetta, Kevin
Illustrated by: Savanna Ganucheau
Bloom. 2019 (Teen Graphic Novel).
Ari used to love working at his family’s bakery, but now that he’s graduated from high school, he’s ready to move to the big city. While interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, a laid-back guy who loves baking. As they work together in the bakery during the busy summer season, Ari begins to appreciate the bakery once again — as well as Hector. This graphic novel highlights the importance of a family business while making you hungry for some baked goods.

Pelley, Kathleen T.
Illustrated by Paige Keiser
Raj the Bookstore Tiger. 2011 (Picture Book).
Being a bookstore tiger is hard work, but Raj is up to the task. He spends his days patrolling the shelves, sitting in laps at story hour, and sleeping in the window displays. Raj is proud of his work, until Snowball comes along — the new cat in the bookstore. Snowball informs Raj that he’s just a marmalade kitty-cat, and times become tough for the bookstore tiger. But Raj and bookstore owner Felicity, with the help of poet William Blake, knows how to fix things with a very special book. This picture book takes you on a journey through a bookstore, showing the importance of independent bookstores and the booksellers and cats that work there.

Polacco, Patricia
Something About Hensley’s. 2006 (Picture Books).
No matter what you need, Hensley’s has it. It’s almost magical the way the manager, Old John, seems to know what the townsfolk need before they do. When Molly and her family moves to town and Molly’s mother can’t afford the treatment for Molly’s asthma, Old John finds a way to give the family exactly what they need. This picture book shows the importance of small businesses and the people who work there — who will do anything they can to get you what you need.

Vivian, Siobhan
Stay Sweet. 2018 (Teen).
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to the local ice cream stand, Meade Creamery. Founded in 1944 by Molly Meade, the stand was started because Molly wanted to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys went off to war. Since then, the stand has been managed exclusively by local girls, and this summer it’s run by Amelia and her best friend Cate. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia is worried the stand can’t go on. But the arrival of Molly’s grandnephew Grady and his request for Amelia to stay on to help continue the business gives her hope. A story about how small businesses can bring people and a community together for many years.

West, Kasie
Maybe This Time. 2019 (Teen).
Sophie Evans works for the local florist, arranging bouquets and centerpieces for all the events in town — weddings, funerals, barbecues, New Year’s Eve parties. Andrew Hart is the son of a big-time chef, attending the same events that Sophie attends over the course of a year as his father helps the local catering business get back on its feet. While romance brews for Sophie and Andrew as they meet at all the major celebrations in their small town, the small businesses they both work for are at the heart of the story, showing how important those small-town businesses can be in bringing a community together.

And if you have a young one in your life who wants to start their own small business, here are a couple for you:

Berstein, Daryl
Illustrated by: Rob Husberg
Better Than a Lemonade Stand. 2012 (Children’s Nonfiction).
This resource includes more than fifty simple business ideas, complete with tips about supplies, time needed, what to charge, and how to advertise. These ideas show how to start a business with little or no start-up costs, attract and retain customers, develop negotiating skills, and more. Originally written and published when the author was fifteen, this book is a good starting point to help the kid in your life start their own business.

Yamada, Kobi
Illustrated by: Mae Besom
What Do You Do with an Idea? 2014 (Picture Book).
Have you ever had an idea that seemed a little too big? This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. If you have an idea for a business, this book will help in getting you to welcome the idea, give it space to grow, and see what happens to it next.