A Basket of Bangles: How a Business Begins

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Sufiya of Bangladesh is desperately poor. She must beg for rice and sleep on the floor of her brother's house. Someone suggests that she start a business, so she travels to the bank. The manager tells her she needs four friends and she can get a group loan, but they must all learn to write their names and memorize the bank rules. Sufiya decides to sell bangles and the others plan to sell soap, milk, snacks, and saris. They sign for their loan and promise to help one another pay it off with interest in a year. Based on micro lending from the Grameen Bank, poor groups of people may borrow money even if they have no collateral. Although the story is fiction, it could very well be real. It is an interesting account of another culture, of promises, and of human perseverance. Lovely watercolor paintings grace each page with bright colors and give a feeling for the country. Howard includes questions and answers about the lending process and facts about Bangladesh at the close of the story. 2002, The Millbrook Press,
— Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Through fictional characters, Howard shows how five poor, uneducated women get a bank loan and start a business in Bangladesh. Their perseverance is admirable, and the similarities and contrasts between opportunities in the U.S. and those in this nation would certainly lend themselves to discussion. Illustrations show the five friends as they go about their work, against a backdrop of the countryside and village. A brief but succinct explanation of various questions readers might ask is included at the end of the book. The intended audience is questionable; while the book is written on a very simple reading level, the concepts and required background knowledge are for an older age group. Unless one's library has ample funds, this is not a necessary purchase.-Alida F. Given, Fairhope Intermediate School, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Geography and economics come together in Howard's (William's House, 2001, etc.) multicultural story of a young woman from Bangladesh. Sufiya is desperately poor-she begs rice from her neighbors each day and sleeps on the floor of her brother's house. But when she takes the advice of a villager and attends a bank meeting, she sees her chance to change things. Sufiya and four friends learn how to get a loan, start a business, and support each other. The five decide on their businesses-selling bangles, milk, soap, snacks, and saris-and then must learn to write their names from Rokeya, the only one of the five who can write. Finally, all the women must be able to recite the rules of the bank, which emphasize saving, investing, health, education, and cooperation. During their meeting with the bank manager, they are given their loans and learn about interest rates and the terms of the repayment. Each of the women finds that the bank rules help them invest and save wisely. They are able to improve their lives, expand their businesses, and repay their loans. Sufiya's story is followed by a question-and-answer section that identifies the story's setting, gives more detail about the food and money featured in the book, shows readers how both the bank and Sufiya can profit from this arrangement, and presents information about the actual Grameen Bank and its founder. While the story of Sufiya and her four friends may be a bit too optimistic about the ease of changing poverty, it does present readers with solid information about the way loans work. Lively watercolors wonderfully depict the village Sufiya lives in. Vibrant-colored saris clothe the women, woven mats cover the floors of the simple grasshuts, and the marketplace is filled with people, animals, stalls, and wares for sale. A good addition to an elementary economics curriculum. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761319023
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Series: Around the World Ser.
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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