Paula Yoo is a children’s book writer, television writer, and freelance violinist living in Los Angeles. Her latest book, Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank, was released last month. Twenty-two Cents is about Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Grameen Bank. He founded Grameen Bank so 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. In this post, we asked her to share advice on what’s she’s learned about banking, loans, and managing finances while writing Twenty-two Cents.
What are some reasons why someone might want to take out a loan? Why wouldn’t banks loan money to poor people in Bangladesh?
PAULA: People will take out a loan when they do not have enough money in their bank account to pay for a major purchase, like a car or a house. Sometimes, they will take out a loan because they need the money to help set up a business they are starting. Other times, loans are also used to help pay for major expenses, like unexpected hospital bills for a family member who is sick or big repairs on a house or car. But asking for a loan is a very complicated process because a person has to prove they can pay the loan back in a reasonable amount of time. A person’s financial history can affect whether or not they are approved for a loan. For many people who live below the poverty line, they are at a disadvantage because their financial history is very spotty. Banks may not trust them to pay the loan back on time.
Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces! Here’s a lucky thirteen list of our favorites (all featuring diverse characters or by diverse authors):
- Half World by Hiromi Goto – Melanie Tamaki lives with her mother in abject poverty. Then, her mother disappears. Melanie must journey to the mysterious Half World to save her.
- Vodnik by Bryce Moore – Sixteen-year-old Tomas moves back to Slovakia with his family and discovers the folktales of his childhood were more than just stories.
It finally feels like autumn is here and if you don’t mind us saying, we’ve been “fall-ing” for all the diversity-related stories that have been in the news recently! Here are a few that we were especially excited to read:Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ rights to education, and Indian children’s right activist Kailash Satyarthi, both won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their fight against the oppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education. In light of the recent violence that has broken out between India and Pakistan along the border of the disputed, mainly Muslim region of Kashmir, the Nobel Peace Prize committee said it was an “important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”
Happy Friday everyone! We’ve chosen a poem from Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving to kick off the weekend:
It took six years
to grow my hair this long.
A few quick snips
Amanda Boyarshinov is one of the creators of the blog, The Educators’ Spin On It, a site that makes everyday moments into teachable opportunities. She has a Master of Reading Education for grades K-12 and a B.A. in Elementary Education. Additionally, she has her English Speakers of Other Languages (E.S.O.L.) endorsement and has received her National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education. In this post, we’ve been given permission to share her steps on building a family theme Love Book Basket, as well as how to create an “I Love You” book.
HOW TO BUILD A FAMILY THEME LOVE BOOK BASKET
1. Choose a Book
Select themed literature that is appropriate for your child’s age. Younger children may enjoy shorter stories. Older children may like more detailed picture books. Consider both non-fiction and fiction text. Lee and Low Publishing Company sent me the 3 books to read with my children for this article. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Banned Book Week started yesterday.
For those of you who don’t know,
“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” –American Library Association
Here at Lee & Low Books, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite banned/challenged titles (in no particular order).
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – banned for use of racial slurs and profanity.
- Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling – banned for depictions of witchcraft and wizardry/the occult.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – banned for racism, sexually explicit language, and profanity.
Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops! With cooler weather comes fun indoor activities, like catching a great jazz show. We asked Frank Morrison, illustrator of our new picture book biography, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, to share some of his favorite jazz numbers with us. Many of the artists below played or arranged with Melba Doretta Liston; others inspired Frank while he created his illustrations. So sit back with your cup of apple cider and let the rhythm carry you away!
- John Coltrane: “Out of This World,” plus Coltrane’s albums The Inch Worm, Big Nick, and Giant Steps
It’s Friday everyone, and you know what that means! Poetry Friday! Today, we’ve chosen a poem from our new fall title, Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving, to share with you:
The puppy we’re raising
is the cutest I’ve ever seen—
cuddly and playful,
Last year, we shared an infographic and study on diversity (or the lack thereof) in the Tony Awards and theater. Here’s what it looked like:
An interview with award-winning writer, actor, and filmmaker Christine Toy Johnson illuminates some of the challenges that actors of color often face on and off Broadway:
No Asian American female playwright has ever been produced on Broadway. Ever. . . . I believe that the only way we’ll see our roles increase is if more of our stories are produced (written by and/or about us), and/or if more playwrights/directors/producers are open to having people of color play non-race specific roles they write/direct/produce.
In 2010, Djuan Trent made history when she became one of four African-American women to win the pageant title of Miss Kentucky. Earlier this month, she made history yet again.
On her blog, Life in 27, Trent opened up about her sexuality and announced that she was “queer,” becoming the first contestant to publicly come out as queer.