Illustrated Children's Book on Muhammad Yunus' Life and Work, “Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank”

By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Jamel Akib
Published April 1st 2014 by Lee & Low Books

Paula Yoo - Author
is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. She is a television writer and freelance violinist living in Los Angeles. Her TV credits include The West Wing and Eureka.

Jamel Akib
is the illustrator of Krishnaswami's Monsoon, for which he won the Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for Illustration, as well as Tan to Tamarind. His award-winning work has also appeared in numerous museum and gallery shows in England, including several Best of British Illustration exhibitions. A full-time illustrator of English and Malaysian ancestry, Akib now lives with his family on Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Growing up in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus witnessed extreme poverty all around and was determined to eradicate it. In 1976, as an Economics professor, Muhammad met a young craftswoman in the village of Jobra who needed to borrow five taka (twenty-two cents) to buy materials. No bank would lend such a small amount to an uneducated woman, so she was forced to borrow from corrupt lenders who charged an unfair interest rate, and left her without enough profit to buy food. Muhammad realized that what stood in the way of her financial security was just a few cents.

Inspired, Muhammad founded Grameen Bank where people could borrow small amounts of money to start a job, and then pay back the bank without exorbitant interest charges. Over the next few years, Muhammad’s compassion and determination changed the lives of millions of people by loaning the equivalent of more than ten billion US dollars in micro-credit. This has also served to advocate and empower the poor, especially women, who often have limited options.

Twenty-two Cents is an inspiring story of economic innovation and a celebration of how one person—like one small loan—can make a positive difference in the lives of many.

REVIEWS FOR TWENTY-TWO CENTS:
By Kirkus Reviews
Microbanks aren’t new, although they are gaining prominence. Here is the story of the first—or at least the formal first—and the one that gained the most notoriety. Muhammad Yunus grows up in the far-eastern part of India before Partition, in what is now Bangladesh. Although his father makes a decent living, Muhammad is exposed to poverty every day, from beggars at his door to the poor encampments he sees during his Boy Scout excursions. He graduates university, and each day as he walks to work, he passes a woman making stools from bamboo; she is obviously in dire financial straits. He stops to speak with her, to learn her circumstances. Yoo tells the story clearly and unflinchingly, though compassionately, explaining to readers the dreadful trap of the debt cycle. That is lesson No. 1 in this book: The debt cycle is a global plague. Yunus realizes that a simple monetary gift will not help the women out of poverty, but a tiny loan that brings her and other village women into entrepreneurship can. This is lesson No. 2 and what earns Yunus the Noble Peace Prize. Akib’s artwork is drawn in hot shades of pastel that are at once unforgiving and exhilarating. A heart-gladdening testament to pulling your own suspenders tight, with a little help from your friends.
By Booklist
In this illustrated take on the unusual topic of microcredit banking, Yoo and Akib bring to life the remarkable work of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. The account begins with Yunus’ birth in Chittagong, India, in 1940, and moves chronologically through his education in Bangladesh and the U.S., the founding of the bank in 1977, and his Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Threaded through the narrative are glimpses of the moments that sustained and inspired him: his father’s advice to “learn from the world,” the shocking poverty he saw all around him, political activism, and the potential he recognized in the determination and integrity of working women. Akib’s pastel illustrations are at once impressionistic and realistic. The rich, light-infused colors brighten this biography just as Yunus’ work brightens the lives of real women and families whose destinies have been transformed. Best suited for a middle-grade audience, this eye-opening picture book provides an affecting look at how simple ideas can change the world.
By Publishers Weekly
In detailed and inviting prose, Yoo shares the story of activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus, beginning with his childhood in the city of Chittagong (then part of India). Yoo describes Yunus’s growing awareness of the injustice of global poverty and of the power of peaceful protest to incite change. Scenes include Yunus’s presence on the steps of Capitol Hill, where he rallied for peace between Bangladesh and Pakistan, and his return to a ravaged Bangladesh following the war, where his compassion and economic knowledge lead to the development of Grameen Bank. Akib’s grainy, jewel-toned chalk pastels contrast a sense of scarcity and deprivation with one of warmth and humanity. Yoo makes the significance of Yunus’s contributions understandable, relevant, and immediate.
By School Library Journal
This poignant picture book biography describes Muhammad Yunus, the man who developed microcredit, or the economic movement that gives small loans to the impoverished and that is breaking the cycle of rural poverty around the world.Born into a middle-class family in what is now Bangladesh in 1940, Yunus studied economics in America as a Fulbright scholar, where he saw Vietnam War protests and was “impressed by the students’ belief that they could make a difference.” Returning to Bangladesh after its brutal war for independence, Yunus was overwhelmed by resulting poverty, drought, and exploitation by moneylenders. He met a struggling craftswoman. Though she only needed 22 cents, she was denied a loan because her illiteracy and poverty made her a “banking untouchable.” In response, he founded Grameen (Village) Bank to make small loans to the poor, and the concept of microcredit was born. Honored in 2006 with a Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus accepted and in his speech celebrated “the hundreds of millions of women all around the world who struggle every day to make a living and bring hope for a better life for their children.” Yoo’s text is straightforward and detailed, and her story of a true hero of the modern world will resonate with students, while the accompanying illustrations enhance the narrative through line and color in soft chalk pastels. Back matter includes a bibliography of sources, an afterword with information about poverty in America, and an update on Yunus’s life since his retirement in 2011. This hopeful and inspiring tale sheds light on an important but little-known subject who made a huge difference.
By The Horn Book Guide
This inspiring biography of Bengali “Banker to the Poor” Muhammad Yunnus begins with precepts he learned in his childhood. Yunnus’s path to becoming an economist known for small, low-interest loans to the impoverished (micro-credit) and to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is backdropped by striking chalk-pastel illustrations in vibrant colors.
By Geo Librarian
Twenty-two Cents is an inspiring story of economic innovation and a celebration of how one visionary person–like one small loan–can make a positive difference in the lives of many.
By OmniLibros
Accurate and authentic soft chalk pastels enhance this true story.
By The Lit Ladies
Paula Yoo has written a beautiful book, Twenty-two Cents, about Muhammad Yunus and his work in Bangladesh to help people borrow money, as low as 22 cents, and pay it back without huge interest rates. The book is PERFECT for elementary-school aged children. I was touched by this man and his story and how Paula Yoo was able to put such difficult concepts into ideas kids could understand. The wonderful illustrations by Jamel Akib just add to the book’s beauty.
By Sally's Bookshelf
In this book, Paula Yoo tells the story of Muhammad, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his service to his community and the wider world. But it's more than a biography; she infuses each page with cultural context and brings the reader into a world where 22-cents can make the difference between feeding a family and starving. Put this one on your "must read" list!
By Richie's Picks
It’s inspiring to read about someone who saw a problem, identified it, and came up with a brand new solution rather than just accepting things the way they were. As a child and adolescent, I occasionally read books that caused me to see things differently, books that changed my life. Investing ten or fifteen minutes in reading TWENTY-TWO CENTS could well have a similar effect on many of today’s young people.
By Mitali's Fire Place
Without overstating Yunus' humble and yet not impoverished background, Yoo and Akib make it clear that this world-changer didn't come from privilege. Children in all circumstances will be inspired by Yunus' life and by the difference he has made throughout the planet. I pay attention to cultural details about my own Bengali heritage, and Akib didn't disappoint with his accurate depiction of practices like giving and receiving with the right hand, squatting to chat, and sitting cross-legged to learn. In the final pages, he paints a panel of proud young brown women whose faces and postures speak volumes about empowerment and hope.
AWARDS FOR TWENTY-TWO CENTS:
2014 Junior Library Guild Selection
2014 CCBC Choices Annual Best Children’s Books of the Year – Cooperative Children’s Book Center
2015 Best Children’s Books of the Year – Bank Street College of Education
2015 Notable Books for a Global Society – Children’s Literature & Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association
2015 Best Multicultural Books – Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Books
2015 Skipping Stones Honor Award – Skipping Stones: An International Multicultural Magazine
2015 South Asia Book Award – South Asia National Outreach Consortium
2015 2015 Social Justice Literature Award – International Literacy Association

For details see the following link: https://www.leeandlow.com/books/2851

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