Girls Mean Business in New Book, 'Startup Squad: Party Problems'

Author of The 'One and Only Ivan,' calls this book about young entrepreneurs “A great read!”

By Kara Murphy June 3, 2021

My daughter means business when it comes to lemonade stands. She loves to make a sign, set up a card table, take out her pitcher of lemonade, beg me for any mismatched plastic cups I can find in the cupboard, and then get to work collecting quarters from thirsty passersby. 

But I knew this year was different when she started talking about business plans and asking about profits and upfront costs.

What? Has my 11-year-old been devouring marketing and business textbooks in her spare time?

Nope. Turns out she'd just finished The Startup Squad: Party Problems, the third novel of this series about friendship and entrepreneurship. In the story, four friends known as the Startup Squad want to raise money―but when they can’t agree on what business to start next they strike off on their own. 

Praise for Startup Squad:

“I loved this story of girls finding their way in the world of entrepreneurship." 

ANN M. MARTIN, author of The Baby-Sitters Club series and Newbery Honor winner A Corner of the Universe

“The Startup Squad encourages girls to dream big, work hard, and rely on each other to make good things happen. It teaches them how to succeed—and reminds all of us that girls mean business!”

SHERYL SANDBERG, COO of Facebook and founder of and

“A great read that is fast-paced, fun, and empowering.”

KATHERINE APPLEGATE, Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan

“Filled with flawed characters and moments of growth…this drama-filled, fast-paced, entertaining read places friendship and hard work at its heart.”


Didi’s idea seems perfect: making place cards for a wedding. But after the wedding planner gets sick, Didi finds herself in charge of everything for a relative's wedding.—and then the caterer cancels and the band goes missing! Didi’s business is turning from a dream to a disaster. Will the Startup Squad come together in time to save the wedding?

Complete with a business plan

The Startup Squad: Party Problems, like the others in this middle-grade series by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear, features tips for kids starting or running their first businesses. The series is written in simple and accessible language for tween girls, as evidenced by my fifth-grade daughter's sudden interest in concepts like market research.

The Startup Squad creators have even come up with a simple business plan to help kids think through their entrepreneurial idea and how to overcome any obstacles in their way.  We printed it out and my daughter spent a happy hour and a half poring over it and filling it out. Her goal is to raise money to buy a new bench for a small neighborhood public space.

For parents, don't miss: Our 7 Best Tips for the Ultimate Lemonade Stand.

I love how this well-written book inspired her imagination, tickled her creativity, and gave her concrete steps forward on a path toward entrepreneurship. 

There's also a profile of a  real-life tween girl CEO at the end of the book, as there are in each of the Startup Squad series books. This book features Simone Bridges, who started Goddess Food Factory, a fun-filled bakery and STEM/STREAM company.

My daughter especially loved this quote from her: "Start today!"

Her lemonade stand? It will be ready to go by the weekend.

Get Startup Squad: Party Problems now!