A Basket of Bangles: How Business Begins
is about a group of young women in Bangladesh who borrow seed money from Grameen Bank to invest in their own home based businesses. The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is different from most banks in the world. At other international finance institutions, if a person wants to get a loan they must first own something worth the amount of money she is trying to borrow (called collateral). But Grameen Bank, which was started by Professor Muhammad Yunus, loans money to groups of people that may not have collateral – as long as they agree to help each other pay the loans back.
“Credit should be accepted as a fundamental right.” – Dr. Muhammad Yunus
In this fictional book by Ginger Howard, a group of five women get loans to start their own home based businesses:
Sufiya wants to sell bangles
Aleya wants to sell soap
Khatum wants to sell milk
Rokeya wants to sell saris, and
Peara wants to sell snacks to school kids.
The bank holds each woman accountable. If one woman does not turn in her weekly payment on time, then the others in the group must pay for her.
What a great teaching tool! With this book you can talk to students about money matters, such as the importance of keeping your financial responsibility and showing how interest is calculated. This story also promotes cultural awareness about the expanding global market to kids living in the Western world. The author includes two Question and Answer pages in the back that are related to her story, such as “What is a taka?” and “Can Sufiya and the bank both make a profit?” A Basket of Bangles
received a 2003 Skipping Stones Honor Award in the Multicultural and International Books category and was listed as one of the Best Children's Books of the Year from Bank Street College.
Looking for another picture book based on a true story? Try The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
by Jeanette Winter (see link below).