Score: 90/100 (9.0 out of 10)
8 Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur for Kids is a very ambitious and promising children's book by Darren Henry. The book follows a kind, wise, and inspiring 4th grade teacher named Mr. Bedell as he tries to shine a light in the lives of his students.
These students include Paige, Nicole, Jonathan, and Robert, distinctly African-American students full of hope and curiosity.
This hope and curiosity prompts the students to ask many questions of Mr. Bedell like about writing down goals, why being an entrepreneur is more mental than physical, and what kinds of businesses an entrepreneur can create.
This book has so much heart, soul, and promise. The concept behind it is absolutely, positively beautiful and incredible.
Another thing that's beautiful and incredible, to an extent, is the artwork by Mansurul Haque. These are some of the most realistic and appealing illustrations of people to come through our contest. Drawing humans is hard. We've definitely noticed that. Even great illustrators like the Richichi brothers seem to wrestle with it from time to time. However, the illustrations in this book are mostly good to great. The only negative thing we could think of regarding the illustrations was that the facial expressions of the characters are almost always the same with the exception of the cover.
The main thing that really, really, really holds this book back from being top-tier is the writing. This book really should've been proofread, edited, and rewritten. The most glaring problem is with the presentation of dialogue. It doesn't seem like the author understands how to write dialogue properly. There is a sore lack of quotation marks helping to distinguish between when different lines of dialogue begin and end. However, there are spaces between lines and somewhat random uses of bold text to help sections of dialogue or key points to stand out.
Also, actions are often presented in parenthesis similar to instructions in a stage play (i.e. a script). However... this isn't a stage play or a script. These actions could've just been described in a separate sentence or as part of a dialogue tag. Speaking of dialogue tags (like “said”), they are sometimes used incorrectly or inconsistently. The same can be said for some of the punctuation (or lack thereof) in this book. There are a lot of statements—some of them profound—that are either overly wordy or are run-on sentences.
Here are some examples:
* “An entrepreneur is a person who creates a business from their ideas and puts action behind their ideas to bring their business to life.”
The above statement should probably be rewritten as separate sentences.
* “AN IDEA PLUS ACTION BEHIND THAT IDEA WILL EQUAL SUCCESS.”
*“The percentage you give everyday you wake up will determine the future of your life.”
The above statement has a few problems with it. First of all, “percentage” is not a verb, so the question remains: the percentage of what? Effort? Money? Energy? Also, in this context, “everyday” should be “every day.” Lastly, and perhaps most noticeably, the phrase “you wake up” makes this statement overly wordy.
* “ALWAYS ENJOY THIS STEP BECAUSE YOU ARE ONLY A KID ONCE YOU CAN ALWAYS CREATE MORE BUSINESSES FOLLOWING THESE STEPS”
The above statement is extremely wordy and is a run-on sentence.
* “Protect your energy at all times your vision not meant to be shared with everyone.”
The above statement is missing the word “is” and should be two separate sentences or two sentence fragments separated by a comma.
Here are a few of the other errors we found:
On page 1, the words “asked” and “question” are capitalized for no reason. They shouldn't be. Furthermore, the sentence that reads “Good Question Paige said Mr. Bedell” should be “'Good question, Paige,' said Mr. Bedell.” Right after that, there should be a comma after the word “kids” to indicate that Mr. Bedell is addressing someone or a group of people (in this case).
Also, what specific motivation do the kids/characters have to want to talk to Mr. Bedell about becoming an entrepreneur? Did they talk about it in a previous class? Did they watch a movie or documentary about starting a business? This is similar to a problem we noted in Michael Dow's book about growth and human growth hormone—why would the kids specifically want to ask about that, did one of them get into bodybuilding or something?
Characters need reasons and motivations for doing, saying, and thinking things. It is implied that the children in Henry's book may come from a poorer inner-city community with low social economic status, but that's never really discussed. If it were discussed, then the students may have motivations for trying to make money and become more affluent.
We've already covered the problems on page 2.
On page 5, “How do we figure out what our goals are Mr. Bedell asked Nicole?” should be “'How do we figure out what our goals are, Mr. Bedell?' asked Nicole.” There is a question mark at the end of the dialogue tag that has no reason to be there or is misplaced.
On page 7, the word “routine” in the second paragraph is capitalized, however, it isn't capitalized elsewhere on the page. This makes its usage inconsistent. Next, “Please understand kids creating a routine is super important...” should be “Please understand, kids, creating a routine is super important...”
On page 10, the use of “said” is inconsistent and incorrect. It is capitalized in one instance yet is not capitalized in another. This page also demonstrates why the author should have used quotation marks to indicate dialogue or someone speaking. Because of the absence of quotation marks, you get the following:
Happy Friday, kids, Said Mrs. Davis
Thank you, Mrs. Davis said, Mr. Bedell
Notice there's also a comma after said in the second line of dialogue (above) for some reason. It should not be there. It should come at the end of “Mrs. Davis.”
On page 12, the word “Have” is capitalized for some reason. It shouldn't be. If the author wanted to emphasize it, he could've capitalized the whole word, made it bold, or underlined it. Also, “(As he looks at Robert and Robert puts his head down)” is a weakly written section and should be removed.
On page 14, why is the word “Said” capitalized again?
On page 16, a comma comes after the word “said” instead of before it. Also, “NO SIR” should be “NO, SIR.” “GOOD NOW LET'S EAT SOME PIZZA” is grammatically incorrect. It's missing a punctuation after “good.”
We already went over the problems with the statement “Protect your energy at all times your vision not meant to be shared with everyone” on page 17.
With all that said, we really jive with the spirit and soul of this book. It's so ambitious and full of promise. All it really needed was an editor or proofreader to correct the grammatical and structural errors.
In concept, this is a brilliant book!
Check it out on Amazon!