The Bookbag, Books for Ages 4 to 8, January/February 2007

The bad news is we’re slow getting our short-list of favorites published. The good news is that we have been caught up in reading some really great books. So on with the show …

Exploratopia by Pat Murphy, et al. You may already know about the Exploratorium, an inter-active, hands-on museum for kids. Well, this is the do-it-home version of the museum’s experiments. Although billed for older kids, parents and teachers will find plenty of ideas for helping pre-readers study and understand the world around them. “This book is a valuable resource for [people] looking for interesting projects that capture student curiosity and reinforce the process of logical problem solving. Curious students will find the book a treasure-trove of fun things to do.” (Little, Brown and Company, 2006)

The Bee-Man of Orn by Frank B Stockton. The Bee-Man is an elderly, unkempt, recluse who has allowed swarms of bees to turn his small hut into a giant beehive. One day, a young “sorcerer-in-training” visited him and told the Bee-Man that once upon a time he was someone special and that he, the “sorcerer” would help the Bee-Man discover who he once was. “This book is a triple treat. Frank Stockton’s fairy tale is a model of the genre. P.J. Lynch’s illustrations provide children with unforgettable images. The DVD “Making Fairy Tales” that is included with the book adds to the thrill of the story.” (Candlewick Press, 2003)

Royal Koi and Kindred Spirits by Richard Wainwright. The Takeda family has raised world class Koi for generations. They have decided to start a joint venture with an American customer and friend to raise Royal Koi near Washington DC. Although saddened about leaving Japan, the Takedas are excited about their new venture. “This is as wholesome and positive a story that one can find. The author and the illustrator are masters of their respective crafts. This is children’s literature at its very best.”(Family Life Publishing, 2005)

Unicorn Races by Stephen J Brooks. Every little girl will see themselves as young princess Abigail. Mom thinks she’s asleep, but Abigail and Lord William (her lavender unicorn) have traveled far into the night to watch the unicorn races and celebrate with the fairies. “The illustrations are captivating … keeping our five-year-old glued to the pages for days on end.” (Purple Sky Publishing, LLC, 2007)

The Bookbag, Books for Ages 8 to 12, January/February 2007

There weren’t a lot of finished profiles that hit the threshold of making our short list this time. We have already had a couple for March that you’ll be seeing shortly. Still, there are some worthwhile reads.

Exploratopia by Pat Murphy, et al. This book is so great it is worth mentioning in both of our Bookbags. For curios pre-teens, there is no end to the hands-on opportunities to learn. (Little, Brown and Company, 2006)

Mia the Meek: The Mia Fullerton Series by Eileen Boggess. Mia Fullerton has reached high school. She’s set goals for herself, not the least of which is getting rid of her nickname “Mia, the meek.” Lucky for us, Mia is taking us along on her journey. “The author clearly understands the trials and tribulations that face adolescent girls. This is a wholesome and enjoyable read for adolescents and adults. This is a great read for adolescents and parents. ” (Bancroft Press, 2006)

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper. Grace and Conner Tempest, 14-year-old twins, have unexpectedly become orphans. No sooner had they taken the family boat to start a new life when disaster struck. A great storm capsizes their boat, leaving them to be rescued by pirates (Connor) and vampires (Grace). “Stories with vampires and pirates typically rely on blood and gore to attract and excite the reader. Not so with this story. It is entertaining and fast paced. The characters are believable and the vampires and pirates prove themselves to be empathetic and caring in regard to the twins.” (Little, Brown and Company, 2006)

Authors are Entrepreneurs, Too

Carolynn Duncan has launched her second Hundred Dollar Business Venture. She is going to start, operate and wrap-up a micro business. Why are we posting her info … because authors are entrepreneurs, too, and if you are a fan of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s and Christine Hohlbaum, you know that creativity is at the heart of promoting your book … so take a creative look inside and read on!

The Entrepreneur Story.” This is our second Hundred Dollar Business venture, and follows our model of using 30 days and $100 to start, operate, and wrap up a micro-business.

The Update

Our goal is to gather 100 entrepreneurs’ stories (1 from each of the 50 states, 1 from each continent, and the rest from any location), edit and publish the book (digital and print versions), find 100 customers, and ship the book by March 13th!
The project is off to a great start– 39 entrepreneurs and 10 customers have signed up, and we are actively working on publishing options. We are moving forward on a tight schedule, but things are right on track. For daily updates about how the project is coming together, check our blog at

Guidelines To Help You In Writing The Profile

To help you share your story with us, we’ve developed the following guidelines. (If you’ve already sent your story to us, feel free to skip this section).
The first portion of the book will describe the Hundred Dollar Business concept and our experiences with it. The second part is all about entrepreneurs like you!

Please don’t worry about your writing skills or style. We’re not looking for the next Hemingway or J.K. Rowling, we just want your most heartfelt story. The most important thing is for you to explain why you love entrepreneurship & how you got started, so that the book will be capture your experience vibrantly.

Ok example: I started my business in 1997. I have two employees. We make cheese that is easy to digest. We like making it, I guess. (Not bad, but not exciting.)

Great example: When Ethan began to show signs that he was ready to crawl, I worried that the tile floors would be too rough on his knees. Sewing had always been a hobby, so I made him a pair of pants with built-in foam padding in the knees and shins. They were so useful that I made him several pairs. If he wasn’t sleeping, he was wearing those pants. Moms in my neighborhood fell in love with them, and it didn’t take long before I had more orders than I had time to make. I had finally found my business calling.

(This is from Marina Westerdahl’s story, and really speaks of her motivation & experience– the full version will be available once “The Entrepreneur Story” is published.)

Some Questions to Consider:

What happened to make you start a business?
What kind of business did you create?
How much capital did it take to start?
Have you had a nausea-inducing crisis or mistake that you’d tell us about?
Did you have a mentor or mentors?
How long did it take to become profitable?
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
What would you do differently now?
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Can you think of one sentence of advice you’d offer someone who’s got an idea and wants to start a business?

Please respond in roughly 600 words. (Note: This is about one page of 12 pt. font text.)

Other Information:

Since we’re doing this project in 30 days (fingers crossed!) we’re hoping you’ll be able to work on this over the weekend and have it back to us by Monday evening, February 19, 2007. If that won’t work for your schedule, please let us know.

We love hearing your stories as they come in– the experience of becoming involved in entrepreneurship is always interesting, and it really does inspire others to try starting their own business!

If you know of any entrepreneurs across the United States (we are looking to find entrepreneurs from each state in the U.S.) or in other continents (specifically, South America, Africa, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia), please invite them to contact us at

(Here is a map which shows the states/continents we have representation from so far.)

Thanks again for participating in this exciting project! Please contact me if you have any questions.

Carolynn Duncan
The Hundred Dollar Business