Picture book biographies about bankers are a rarity, but Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus is worthy of the attention.
In Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank, Paula Yoo begins with the everyday acts of kindness his mother demonstrated by sharing food with the poor. Her exampleprimed Yunus to notice inequalities around hi and his father’s interest in education placed him a position to act.
As an Economics professor at Chittagong University had an impact, but his realization that twenty-two cents was keeping a talented artisan, Sufiya, in an inescapable cycle of debt and poverty is what changed the world. The microcredit solution he and his students developed has reached millions and spawned a global response to poverty.
For a topic so new to its reader, the text is rather dense and the addition of a glossary would have been helpful. Yoo does a good job of explaining the barriers poor women in Bangladesh faced when borrowing money, but the text explaining the workings of the Grameen Bank assumes more background knowledge than the intended audience is likely to produce. Nevertheless, it is an informative biography and a good topic to spark conversations about how we can help those in need and the barriers they face. And, clearly others disagree with me. It received a 2015 South Asia Book Award for positive portrayal of South Asia.
Additional Microcredit Resources for Youth
A Basket of Bangles: How a Business Begins by Ginger Howard
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Kate Milway
The Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins