Bee Fearless by Mikaila Ullmer

In Bee Fearless, Mikaila Ulmer tells how she grew a multimillion-dollar business out of a lemonade stand–but not by herself.

Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid by Mikaila Ulmer with Brin Stevens. Putnam, 2020, 219 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12

Recommended for: ages 8-16

Mikaila was only four and a half when she got her big idea. The stimulus was a bee sting—actually two stings, within a week! They made her paranoid about going outside, but her parents sensibly suggested she face up to her fears by learning about bees. She gained more than she bargained for, mainly a real sympathy for the tiny creatures whose numbers were decreasing, with severe consequences for the environment. She decided to raise money to save the bees with a classic neighborhood lemonade stand. But this lemonade would have a twist. Instead of sweetening her hand-squeezed drink with sugar, she’d use honey. It was about the bees, after all. Finding the right recipe took some time, and finding the nerve to talk to total strangers took more time, but before Mikaila turned five she was pitching her product at venues like the Acton Children’s Business Fair in Austin.

Ten years later: a corporation, a charitable foundation, and a multimillion dollar business.

A successful business idea is like a lightning strike: it’s impossible to predict what will catch on and take off. A cute four-year-old in a black-and-yellow-striped costume is going to sell herself some lemonade. But if she has the advantage of savvy, involved parents, a business-friendly community, and a solid business plan, she can create some of her own luck. Such as an invitation to pitch her nascent company on Shark Tank, resulting in a $60,000 buy-in from one of the Sharks. A lot hard work and sustained vision got her to that point. Other young entrepreneurs won’t get that far, but Mikaila’s story, generously salted with hard-earned advice, should inspire them.


The Ulmers attend church and stress the value of generosity. However, the one quoted scripture verse, I Cor. 4:8, is out of context.Also at Redeemed Reader

See our starred review of The Year Money Grew on Trees, one of our favorite novels about free enterprise and hard work. Also Lawn Boy.For financial advice, see The Money-Smart Family System.
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