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.