Learn & Earn The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure.

The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Selected by Vermont’s Office of Treasurer for financial literacy curriculum.

“5 stars. There was once a time when we would sit at the knees of elders and listen to stories and parables. … there was always a hidden message buried within the story lines. The tale unfolds like a story being shared by a clever storyteller. … Karl Beckstrand’s picture book story … is exactly what its title suggests: a parable. … In this fast-paced world of trinkets and high tech toys, it is so easy to get caught up with the newest and latest toy. … There is a growing need to take a step back and visualize what’s really important in life. … For one little boy, his ability to make ingenious and useful objects out of discarded things defined him. … A chance encounter with an old woman sitting by a stream turns into a very lucrative enterprise. When the boy asks the old woman what she is looking at, she simply says, ’Trouble and treasure.’ The boy asks for an explanation and she tells him that the scattering of branches in the stream is causing a blockage that the fish can’t swim past. And the treasure? That’s what the boy will discover. … And it’s not what you would think. … It is colorfully illustrated to help move the events along. At the end of the book, once the treasure is revealed, the author allows the reader to peruse some further ideas of how to build one’s own treasure. … A very educational resource and a good story as well.” - Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

(Careers, entrepreneurship) “Masterful … An immensely appealing book because of its readable style … and its realistic but soft Asian-style illustrations.” – Crystie Cook, poet.


(Career ideas, business) A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasurer. Illustrated folk tale teaches how to spot opportunities to help others and make money; comes with ideas for businesses; job ideas, money-making activities; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, career success, and moving up in an organization (for kids ages 4 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn. Teach someone to fish. This how-to book on the value of work bridges the gap between what kids learn in school about jobs, small business, finance, economics, and what they should know (how to serve others). 530 words in dyslexic-friendly font by former Silicon Valley recruiter and award-winning author Karl Beckstrand (Mini-mysteries for Minors [multicultural/bilingual series]), illustrations by Yaniv Cahoua and Karl Beckstrand.


26-page, 8.5"x 8.5" hard or soft cover business picture book on money and saving--also an ebook--with Chinese boy and red panda, Premio Publishing & Gozo Books Sept. 2017 (see online career/money resources: ChildrenEarn.com, worldwide rights © July 2017) PremioBooks.com, Amazon/Kindle, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Brodart, EBSCO, Flipkart, Follett, iBooks, Ingram, Inktera, Kobo, Mackin, OverDrive, Oyster, SCRIBD, txtr, and select retailers. LCCN: 2016949820, JUV009090, JUV006000, JUV012060, JUV039220, JUV030020, JUV063000, BUS025000, BUS012010, BUS060000, BUS019000, BUS075000, BUS048000, BUS029000, eISBN: 978-1370287222, paper ISBN: 978-1536889864, hard cover ISBN: 978-0985398811.  Nothing herein is intended to be investment, employment, or legal advice. Kindle ASIN: B01N0XCPQK 

Parents: Help your kids gain an entrepreneurial vision; go over this book’s ideas (and those on this page) with them. Help them discover their own interests and abilities and then focus them for success.

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Get online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization here.

Author Karl Beckstrand

Author Karl Beckstrand on The Bridge:

What genre is your newest book? Entrepreneurship. I hope it helps bridge the gap between what kids learn in school and what they need to know/do to succeed in life.

What draws you to this genre? Seeing a lack of kids’ curriculum on how money is made—how to earn a living. I used to be a recruiter in Silicon Valley; today’s graduates don't seem as prepared for work as their parents. Many young people don’t know that failure is normal and can nourish future success.

Please describe what the story is about in one sentence. A child with a knack for solving problems learns that helping some hungry fish—who can’t pay him—facilitates his finding a treasure.

What was the time frame for writing your last book? A few days (illustration is the real work—and I had to do some on this book.)

How much research do you do? More for this book than a typical picture book; I had to present valuable tips and business ideas I’ve learned over the years.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? No (but I spend hours on books/marketing every day)

What is the easiest thing about writing? Ideas that ambush me

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? In college ... when I should have been doing my homework

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Every review can be helpful (even bad ones contribute to visibility—and they offer great feedback)

Which do you prefer: Pen or Computer? And how do you stay organized (any methods, tools you use)? I usually write ideas on scraps of paper in odd moments/places, then I write out the story on my laptop.

How do you relax? Volleyball, music, films

What were your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process? When my first publisher died; I had to learn the publishing business.

What would you have done differently if you could do it again? I would have sought more reviews for my early titles.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know? No matter how many achievements I have, I struggle with self-doubt, fears, and (at the same time) self-absorption.

What’s next? What are you working on at the moment? Non-fiction stories of immigrant kids and more bilingual books

Do you re-read books? One book that you would read again & again? The scriptures

Your influence(s), favorite author(s)? I love history, so anything by David McCoullugh is ideal. Other authors I love: Tolkien, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, Clancy, Grisham, Shel Silverstein

What book(s) are you reading at present? Major Problems in American Colonial History by Karen Kupperman

Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed? Write every day and join a writer’s group

Beckstrand has included tips he has learned in “The Bridge of the Golden Wood,” written in dyslexic-friendly font and available in hard cover (pre-order) and ebook via major distributors, Amazon, and PremioBooks.com.

“The Bridge of the Golden Wood encourages kids how to think for themselves … while also thinking of others. … The illustrations throughout the book are absolutely lovely and bring to life the story of the boy in a peacefully enchanting way. The story is fast-paced and would do well for children with short attention spans but is also fulfilling enough for children who are a bit older. The extra activities and money-making ideas at the end of the book are also nice touches to get kids motivated to be like the boy in the story, and help them use their imaginations.” – Rayleigh Gray, blogger

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Entertaining and educative at the same time … a great idea to teach children how to earn money. I remember when I was young, and even just barely married, how much stress I had trying to find ideas of how to make extra money for our small family. In this book, you will find great ideas … children need to get into an entrepreneurial mindset. It will help you to teach your children the value of money and hard work. It will also guide your children to ask more questions and start thinking in a more down to earth manner. … I think that it will be a great fit for all kids from a young age to adults alike. Great job, Karl Beckstrand.” -  Anna del C. Dye, author/blogger

“A great way to introduce the value of serving others and how those efforts lead to a return on the investment. I especially enjoyed the suggested activities after the story. Whether you want to help children learn the importance of inspired service, become entrepreneurs, or just value work, ‘The Bridge’ is a fun illustrated children's book you will want to read to the children in your life.” - Spencer Harden, media strategist

“Very well put together. Love the thought-provoking ideas at the end with examples. Great Book!” - Alan Lew

“The Bridge of the Golden Wood encourages kids how to think for themselves … while also thinking of others. … The illustrations throughout the book are absolutely lovely and bring to life the story of the boy in a peacefully enchanting way. The story is fast-paced and would do well for children with short attention spans but is also fulfilling enough for children who are a bit older. The extra activities and money-making ideas at the end of the book are also nice touches to get kids motivated to be like the boy in the story, and help them use their imaginations.” – Rayleigh Gray, blogger

"Masterful … An immensely appealing book because of its readable style … and its realistic but soft Asian-style illustrations by Israeli artist Yaniv Cahoua. The main character is a little boy who is enterprising and creative by nature. He has his own tools and a rope that is also perfect for swinging over a clean, inviting river. An old woman sitting by a river. … He asks what she is looking at, and she replies, "Trouble and treasure." … the rest of the book enlarges on what the boy does with something that is trouble for the fish. … Because it is a parable … there is also an element of mystery surrounding the old woman. The boy discovers that providing a service for the fish also turns into a service for another human being, and … support for his family. Young children will appreciate this book. I especially liked Yaniv Cahoua's fur textures on the animals and the realistic details of the old woman's friendly face. … Beckstrand's writing is very comprehensible and age-appropriate. He also includes more ideas on how even children can discover their talents and abilities and think about business principles at the same time.” – Crystie Cook, poet

“A beautifully illustrated children's book with a life lesson woven into the storyline. The author creates a story that teaches basic business principles which encourage children and adults alike to see the potential to turn typical day-to-day opportunities into a way to provide for oneself or one's family. A quick read, complete with business ideas to help stimulate … ambition.” - J. Abrams, DDS

“This book is quite unique, and quite the surprise. I have NEVER seen a book like this in all my life. You would think it would only be for children, but … it would be very good for adults too. It teaches good principles and gives some good ideas on how to make money or a living … [find] a job. … The illustrations are superb, and rich in color. The story is a good lead to what can be found at the end of the book. … highly recommend.” – reader

“There should be more books like this, because it's the kind of wisdom children need to succeed in business and in life.” – Ron Knight, author

“Karl gave me a copy of his book for review. I found it to be a charming tale well illustrated. The Bridge is an engaging story that makes some important points about entrepreneurship. One example being that if you can solve a problem for other people, you can not only benefit them but you can also benefit yourself. It is a great introduction for young people about what makes a successful business - solving problems that others will pay you to solve. I liked the discussion points at the end of the book, I can see then being used in a classroom setting.” – Jeff Vanek, author

“A must read for entrepreneurs everywhere. If you have ever needed … success in your life, this parable is for you. Its insights and simple story … answer … the question that stumps us all: How do I start? And what do I look for in a money-making venture? The answers are both simple and profound. Be goal-oriented … seek the wisdom and insight of others, be slow to speak and quick to listen. Learn to see what the possibilities of your problems are in terms of solutions. And when you do that, it will result in success from often the most unexpected source.” - Craig Clyde, screenwriter

“Beautiful illustrations! I love the idea of using this children's book to teach the value of service along with the rewards for hard work!” – Theresa Sneed, author

“[Beckstrand] has done an awesome job making entrepreneurship easily understandable for young minds. Hope this inspires many young readers with valuable ideas.” – Scott Wilhite, filmmaker

“Entertaining and educative at the same time … a great idea to teach children how to earn money. I remember when I was … just barely married, how much stress I had trying to find ideas of how to make extra money for our small family. In this book, you will find great ideas … an entrepreneurial mindset. It will help you to teach your children the value of money and hard work. It will also guide your children to ask more questions and start thinking in a more down to earth manner. … I think that it will be a great fit for all kids from a young age to adults alike.” - Anna del C. Dye, author/blogger

“The right tools are pure gold … a reflective interplay of responsibility and service … The artwork reminds me of the water color stories of my youth. The mysterious old woman calls our hero to his cause, and I can imagine her returning to announce more adventures in a sequel. The story teaches good values. … a nice story to share for Chinese New Year, and … to celebrate Asian heritage. It is a good story to share in a classroom, and I can see teachers discussing … the idea of taking care of the environment, doing well by doing good, as well as the rewards of a job well done. I would like to see this story animated.” – Roger Hackett

“Short and simple … story of a very young boy that finds his first step into the world of entrepreneurship. … It is very effective, especially for the age group of five and above. … well-illustrated images … a small boy who finds a reward for helping the needy. It is almost fable-like and didactic. … cheerful and appealing. … introductory business lessons given at the end. This book is recommended for all the school-going entrepreneurs with a big dream. Have a jolly time reading through … (give it a read).” - Reshov Dey, editor

“Wonderful Book. Very fun book to read for adults and kids. The author Karl Beckstrand has an amazing way to delight readers of all ages.” - Lynda Derushia

“Wonderful … I love parables. Karl Beckstrand has done a wonderful job and the illustrations by Yaniv Cahoua are gorgeous. … A beautiful book on how to be useful … how doing good for others will enrich your life. … a fast-paced children's story … about a child with a knack for solving problems. The child helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. The story is also full of good reminders for adults, too! Help others. If you see a problem … use your strength and gifts to fix it. Follow your own path and good things will come. Turn hobbies (what you enjoy doing and what you're meant to do) into treasure. ... I love that the author included extra activities and money-making ideas for children at the end of the book.”  – Stacey Ritz

“Designed to help children learn about the value of work … and how, by working, you will receive a treasure in return. … an especially good concept for children to learn. There are some additional online resources and ideas for work that might help bring them a bit of treasure. I think children with like this parable of learning how to do service for others. I enjoyed the writing and the colorful and attractive pictures in the book. … enjoy.” – Sonja Nishimoto

“Oh, this book is delightful! ... amazing … will hold the interest of all ages--even my 12-year-old and a 16-year-old. My 12-year-old was so excited that there was a red panda throughout. The illustrations were as engaging as the story itself. After reading the book both boys started talking about what they could do to earn money. Wow! … an instant fan!” – Amy Lofgreen, owner - 480 Insider

“A fantastic parable that can teach kids to do things they love and to look for opportunities to earn money. … It teaches principles--that they will have to put in some work before seeing the rewards—and that, sometimes, it is enough to do something because it is the right thing to do [without] specific monetary gain in mind. The story is simple, well written, nicely illustrated, and will keep the attention of children. … The ideas supplied at the end of the story are … age-appropriate.” - reader

“I read it to my kids (ages 3 and 5). They were both engaged in the story and, as I asked them about it afterwards I could tell that they understood the concepts being taught. It's a great book to show how we can look … and … serve, make money, or both! My 5 year old was interested in the money making aspect. … The illustrations throughout the book are beautiful and, I felt, helped create the peaceful tone of the book.” - Amber Ashton

“A charming approach to teaching children entrepreneurship—and enlightening even for the adult reader! Eye-catching illustrations and helpful ideas round out this imaginative story.” – Betsy Radke

“Love it! The story is about a boy with a knack for solving problems. The boy discovers that providing a service for the hungry fish turns into a service for another human being, and … turns into a support for his family. The story itself is … not complex yet very effective. The story encourages kids to think for themselves … while also thinking of others. … I love the Asian-style illustrations. There is a nice balance between the written text and the visual/unspoken. In addition to helping children think about … having a good work ethic and problem solving skills, this story introduces … taking care of the environment, doing well by doing good, as well as the rewards of a job well done. It would be nice if the story gets translated in other languages so it can be shared/discussed in classrooms all over the world.” – Andra DeBondt

“A delightful tale. … The illustrations are beautiful, and the words are in a dyslexic font making this book accessible to a wide audience. … I loved the inspirational message.” – Shelley Wilson

“A charming short story that shows the creative ingenuity of a young boy to successfully make money. I especially loved the message, ‘trouble or treasure;’ when an opportunity arises, it can either be viewed as … problems or … a promising adventure. … are you willing to take action to find out? The author was very creative in listing money-making ideas and tips on how to implement them at the end of the book. … a fun read, and a great topic for learning.” - Steve Rider

“Amazing--wonderful book. Everyone should have a copy! The theme of the story: work hard and help others. I love the story--- wonderful for children (and a great reminder for adults too).” – reader

“Beautiful, simple and entertaining parable! It teaches children the basic principle of positive attitude. The boy had to find out by himself how to solve the problem without questioning or giving excuses to not do the task. It is a good way to teach young children the importance of having some ambition in life. It also shows the importance of being self-sufficient and responsible. … I love the way the old woman approached him to help her to solve that situation, using the word "treasure" in order to keep him interested! Great message to the young children, learning the value of working, in order to achieve success in their lives!” - reader

“What an amazing idea. As a grandfather I have spent a great deal of time worrying about what I might say or do to help my grandchildren. My Grandpa and Dad owned a family business where I learned by their example how to work and solve problems. How times have changed! I could never take my brood to work with me today. … thanks for the gift you have given me and the generations to come. This is so beautifully presented and yet simple enough for even my youngest grandson of four to understand and enjoy with Grandpa.” – Jeff Gallup

“Children and adults … will find this new folk tale appealing. It has an engaging and interesting storyline as well as a valuable message about important life skills. While the beautiful illustrations give it an Asian setting and make for a memorable theme; the timeless messages of service and learning how to solve problems are invaluable in any country or culture … quite useful in a business or entrepreneurship training environment to help generate discussion and thought on the value of work ethic and problem-solving … very much enjoyed reading it. The discussion pages at the end also help focus readers’ thoughts on ways that anyone, young or old, can help others, earn money, or receive something of value in exchange for their efforts.” – Paula Harper

“I love the parable that teaches children how to start a business—and the resources at the end of the book to help children start. The boy's resourcefulness is a model for children to follow. … I like the lesson that problem solving can present opportunities.” - fan

“Some of the oldest stories … told children how to interact with elders and how to react with strange situations. These tales stood the test of time because they spoke to the reality of the world. … ‘The Bridge of the Golden Wood’ harkens beautifully back to these old fairy tales and expands on them in a manner that brings [us] into the modern world with all its complexity. The artwork by Yaniv Cahoua has a soft golden beauty that is soothing and inviting. The watercolor style [is] fairly simple but the characters—from the fish to the people—are expressive and engaging. The story … is … easy to follow. … intriguing. … The young protagonist is believable and relatable. … The boy is met [by] a stranger in the wood … and is faced with the choice of [helping] or selfishly going on his way. The story illustrates that it is not only the choice in the moment that matters to success … but preparation … as well. At the end of the book there are suggested discussions and projects that … can guide a child … to gain a practical understanding of earning money and providing a service. … [A] pleasant read and a good addition the library of any young scholar.” – Betty Adams

“Very positive messages for young children to learn. The illustrations are interesting as well. Nice to have a book like this with some real positive learning opportunities for young children!” - Sophie Denny

"’It made me want to get money to give it to other people.’ - my six-year-old. ‘I liked the book … the last pages. But I liked the story, too.’ - my nine-year-old. My oldest kids (quoted above) and I read this book and enjoyed the lovely pictures. I thought the Asian setting made the parable more authentic. … the idea of making treasure from present obstacles was well-taught … questions make for a perfect discussion with children about entrepreneurial possibilities and their challenges. Especially helpful for a classroom setting.” - R. Wilding

“I really liked this simple story with engaging illustrations that brought the story to life. The lessons are clear, timeless and beautifully intertwined, yet simply taught: creativity, listening to the wisdom of others, adventure, service, and hard work … A fun, simple, and great story to teach timeless values.” - Darbski

“A genuine story. I don't see many parables these days; I think it is important to have children read stories that tell of a lesson. From beginning, middle, and to end it reminded me of what we as humans can do for this world. What is our impact? How do we not only help each other, but how do we help or sustain what resources we have like fish in this case? … helping has a ripple effect—and we help more than we think we do just by doing one simple act. It was splendid and the illustrations added that much more to the story.” - Mirta.Espinola

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it without knowing that, after the story and beautiful illustrations, there would follow practical advice to children regarding ways to earn money. I love books and seldom let loose of one I like. I believe that many children will keep this book.” – David Christensen, author

 “A nice way to start a conversation with a child about what work is and how to do it. It's a simple story that works on a lot of levels. I also enjoyed the art work.” - Nathan F. Coombs

“Well paced and beautifully rendered with a visual parable that will engage youth of all ages. Beckstrand manages his hidden parable that will intrigue and engage his readers with artwork that draws the reader in. The mentor/teacher relationship… [is] crucial … to emulate.” - Mike Lovins

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