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May 9, 2014

Sneak Preview of My New Book: “Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank”

Filed under: Children's Picture Books — Tags: , , — paulayoo @ 2:08 pm
TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK (Lee & Low Books 2014)

TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK (Lee & Low Books 2014)

I’m excited to announce a sneak preview of my latest book (fourth one so far!) that launches this August 15, 2014. It’s my third children’s picture book biography to be published by Lee & Low Books. The book is called TWENTY CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK. It is scheduled for a Fall 2014 release. The amazing illustrator for the book is Jamel Akib.

I had the honor and privilege of interviewing 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus who won, along with his organization, Grameen Bank, for using the concept of “micro credit” to help eradicate poverty in Bangladesh.

I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus when he was visiting Los Angeles.

I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus when he was visiting Los Angeles.

The book description currently is: “Growing up in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus witnessed extreme poverty all around and was determined to eradicate it. In 1976, as an Economics professor, Muhammad met a young craftswoman in the village of Jobra who needed to borrow five taka (twenty-two cents) to buy materials. No bank would lend such a small amount to an uneducated woman, so she was forced to borrow from corrupt lenders who charged an unfair interest rate, and left her without enough profit to buy food. Muhammad realized that what stood in the way of her financial security was just a few cents. Inspired, Muhammad founded Grameen Bank where 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. Twenty-two Cents is an inspiring story of economic innovation and a celebration of how one person—like one small loan—can make a positive difference in the lives of many.”

The book also received a wonderful review from KIRKUS REVIEWS. Wow. Thank you!

KIRKUS REVIEW (June 29, 2014)

Microbanks aren’t new, although they are gaining prominence. Here is the story of the first—or at least the formal first—and the one that gained the most notoriety.

Muhammad Yunus grows up in the far-eastern part of India before Partition, in what is now Bangladesh. Although his father makese a decent living, Muhammad is exposed to poverty every day, from beggars at his door to the poor encampments he sees during his Boy Scout excursions. He graduates university, and each day as he walks to work, he passes a woman making stools from bamboo; she is obviously in dire financial straits. He stops to speak with her, to learn her circumstances. Yoo tells the story clearly and unflinchingly, though compassionately, explaining to readers the dreadful trap of the debt cycle. That is lesson No. 1 in this book: The debt cycle is a global plague. Yunus realizes that a simple monetary gift will not help the women out of poverty, but a tiny loan that brings her and other village women into entrepreneurship can. This is lesson No. 2 and what earns Yunus the Noble Peace Prize. Akib’s artwork is drawn in hot shades of pastel that are at once unforgiving and exhilarating.

A heart-gladdening testament to pulling your own suspenders tight, with a little help from your friends. (Picture book/biography. 6-11)

(Full review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paula-yoo/twenty-two-cents/)

I will post updated blogs as we get closer to the book’s publication date (August 15, 2014). You can also follow all my latest book updates and news on Twitter @paulayoo.

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Stay tuned for more breaking book & TV & music news plus of course, more self-indulgent pictures of my cats. Until then, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :)  

April 15, 2014

Happy April 15, 2014 “Gotcha Day” Birthday to Oreo!

Filed under: Pets — Tags: — paulayoo @ 10:57 am
Here's to the World's Most Interesting Cat - Oreo! Happy April 15th "Gotcha" Day Birthday! :)

Here’s to the World’s Most Interesting Cat – Oreo! Happy April 15th “Gotcha” Day Birthday! :)

In the spring of 2008, an abandoned black and white cat who had been living on the streets for several months started to hang out by the screen door that led to my study. His paws were filthy, he had worms and other disease problems, and he was tired and scared and hungry. He stayed by my window for a month, and I fed him tuna. He showed up at my door every morning at EXACTLY 10 AM.

Then on April 15, 2008, this stray cat failed to show up for his regularly appointed tuna time. I waited an hour. And then another hour. And then I started crying. I was scared he may have gotten hurt. I walked for two miles around our building to find him. When I returned home, he was waiting for me! He was just late!

I realized I was in love with this extremely friendly and sweet-natured cat. So I immediately took him to a vet to get him de-wormed and microchipped. I don’t know his real birthday, and the vet estimated at the time that he was two or three years old. So April 15th is Oreo’s unofficial birthday and official adoption day birthday! Happy Birthday Oreo! Happy “Gotcha” Day!

Oreo now has his own Twitter page (he has over 1,300 followers!) and Youtube’s “Warm & Fuzzy” eHow Pets Channel did a story on us last year. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHpvlG-9PAg

(Keep reading after the break for more adorable details and pictures… You know you want to…! LOL!)

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April 12, 2014

2014 LA Times Festival of Books – Our YA Non-Fiction Panel!

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , — paulayoo @ 8:00 pm
I moderated the "YA Non-Fiction: Where the Truth Lies" at the LA Times Festival of Books with authors Maya Van Wagenen, Georgia Bragg, James L. Swanson & Aaron Hartzler!

I moderated the “YA Non-Fiction: Where the Truth Lies” at the LA Times Festival of Books with authors Maya Van Wagenen, Georgia Bragg, James L. Swanson & Aaron Hartzler!

Let me start off by saying how much I LOVE the Los Angeles Times’ annual Festival of Books. I have been attending this book festival every April since it started in 1996! I’ve attended the festival as a book lover, as a panelist, and now as a moderator!

I moderated today’s panel called “Young Adult Non-Fiction: Where the Truth Lies” with authors MAYA VAN WAGENEN (“Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” Dutton 2014), GEORGIA BRAGG (“How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous” Walker Books 2014), JAMES L. SWANSON (“The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy” Scholastic 2013) and AARON HARTZLER (“Rapture Practice: My One-Way Ticket to Salvation, a True Story” Little, Brown 2013).

(Keep reading after the break for some fun details and behind-the-scenes photos of our panel and book festivities!)

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April 1, 2014

April 2014 Updates

Filed under: Writing — paulayoo @ 6:00 am
Beethoven helps me read all the fun books in preparation for the LA Times Festival of Books panel on YA non-fiction!

Beethoven helps me read all the fun books in preparation for the LA Times Festival of Books panel on YA non-fiction!

Happy April! Can you believe it’s already spring time? 2014 is flying by!

A fun update on everything that I’ve done recently, plus some new announcements. Here we go…

1. LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS: I’m moderating the “Young Adult Nonfiction: Where the Truth Lies” panel at the YA Stage at USC on Saturday April 12th at 3 PM with amazing YA authors Aaron Hartzler, James L. Swanson, Maya Van Wagenen and Georgia Bragg. Info here: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/ Stay tuned for more info on this blog later this month!

2. NAPIBOWRIWEE: My 6th annual “NATIONAL PICTURE BOOK WRITING WEEK” (AKA NAPIBOWRIWEE) takes place this May 1-7, 2014. Check out my April 1st blog featuring this year’s FAQs on the event etc. here: http://paulayoo.com/napi/?p=689

I will be posting daily blogs from May 1-7, 2014 plus some preview blogs this April at the NAPIBOWRIWEE official blog site here: http://paulayoo.com/napi/

3. LAKERS! Confession: I’m clueless when it comes to sports. But I had so much fun attending my first pro basketball game on March 21, 2014 (Lakers v. Wizards). I couldn’t believe how tall the players were and how FAST they were on court! They were also incredibly graceful – at times, it was like watching a ballet. :) Wow! I was RIVETED. It was so exciting! Tickets were courtesy of my TV manager from The Shuman Company… so we were just five rows from the court! OMG! I felt like I was IN the game. Some fun celebrity sightings included former athlete/comic actor Terry Crews. I also felt like I was on an episode of “Entourage” because I even got to “network” with some industry folks, including the agent for actress Jordan Hinson (who played Zoe Carter on SyFy’s EUREKA, one of the shows I’ve written for). Unfortunately the Lakers lost (117-107) to the Wizards, but they put up a good fight! Anyway, I think I’ll start watching some Lakers games on TV now! :) Some fun pictures below:

Me at the Lakers/Wizards game at the Staples Center on March 21, 2014. Five rows from the court! Go Lakers!

Me at the Lakers/Wizards game at the Staples Center on March 21, 2014. Five rows from the court! Go Lakers!

My view of the Lakers/Wizards game on March 21, 2014 at the Staples Center. Wow! Go Lakers!

My view of the Lakers/Wizards game on March 21, 2014 at the Staples Center. Wow! Go Lakers!

4. MUSIC: I have been busy musically with some fun chamber music sight-reading parties, concerts, gigs etc. Unfortunately I can’t talk about some of these professional music gigs due to signed contractual obligations about no social media posts, so you’ll just have to trust me that there have been some fun music gigs. :)

5. WRITING: I just finished revisions on a new middle grade novel and submitted it. Fingers crossed! I’m now going to work on a feature spec script plus finish an adult novel that I had to put on hold. Excited to work on my passion projects this spring.

My fourth book will be coming out from LEE & LOW BOOKS later this year. Stay tuned for more details once I get the official launch date! I can’t wait to share the good news!

And of course it’s April which means… TV STAFFING SEASON! I’m off to do another round of meetings. Fingers crossed for some fun TV projects as well! I’ll keep everyone posted on where I land next. :)

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So that’s my latest update. I hope everyone is having a fabulous spring. What are your writing projects for April? Until the next blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :)

February 8, 2014

February Fun: Cool Music Gigs & Exciting Book Preview News!

I'll be in the Writing Batcave for awhile, but don't worry. My cats are keeping me company! :)

I’ll be in the Writing Batcave for awhile, but don’t worry. My cats are keeping me company! :)

Hello! Some fun updates for this month’s blog plus an exciting preview announcement of my next book! Right now, as you can see from the picture above, I’ll be in the writing bat cave for the rest of this month. Before I go AWOL for the rest of February, I wanted to update everyone on some fun music gigs I did in January, plus a hint about my next book! :)

I had a great time in January playing some really cool gigs! I played in a Glendale Philharmonic concert featuring special guests comedian Emo Phillips and actor/singer Michael Des Barres, plus a cool music video shoot with rising star Aloe Blacc. Here’s a shot of what the video looked like:

Aloe Blacc's "Love is the Answer" music video sponsored by Lincoln Motor Co.

Aloe Blacc’s “Love is the Answer” music video sponsored by Lincoln Motor Co.

BREAKING BOOK NEWS! As for my breaking news on my next book? Here’s a sneak preview announcement:

Stay tune for details on my next children's book coming out later in 2014 from Lee & Low Books!

Stay tune for details on my next children’s book coming out later in 2014 from Lee & Low Books!

NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: My next book is another children’s picture book biography coming out THIS YEAR from LEE & LOW BOOKS. I can’t say much else because we’re still in the final steps of the editing process, but stay tuned for a detailed announcement about the book later this spring!

NAPIBOWRIWEE UPDATE: Also, for those of you who participate in this event, please remember that my famous NATIONAL PICTURE BOOK WRITING WEEK (AKA “NaPiBoWriWee”) takes place this May 1-7, 2014. (For more info, go here: http://paulayoo.com/napi/) Our official souvenir store feature this year’s new logo is NOW OPEN. Go here to order your T-shirts, journals, coffee/travel mugs and tote bags to inspire you in time for this year’s event! http://www.cafepress.com/paulayoonapibowriweeclassic

My annual event, NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Wee), will take place this May 1-7, 2014 at http://paulayoo.com/napi Our store is now open: http://www.cafepress.com/paulayoonapibowriweeclassic

My annual event, NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Wee), will take place this May 1-7, 2014 at http://paulayoo.com/napi Our store is now open: http://www.cafepress.com/paulayoonapibowriweeclassic

(Keep reading after the break for more info and news!)

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January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Filed under: Writing — paulayoo @ 12:01 pm
Happy New Year from Oreo, Beethoven & Charlotte!

Happy New Year 2014 from Oreo, Charlotte & Beethoven!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone is having a great 2014 so far! :) 

I’ve been on a much-needed vacation recently. So here’s a fun blog about my holiday adventures before I settle back into the Writing Batcave.

Let’s start with the most important bit of breaking news… I know you’ve been waiting, so without further ado, here are the official 2013 Christmas photo shoot pictures of Oreo, Beethoven and Charlotte. :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Oreo!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Oreo!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Charlotte!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Charlotte!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Beethoven!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2013 from Beethoven!

As for the humans, this was the 14th year in a row that we went to Las Vegas for our annual XMAS IN VEGAS vacation! Las Vegas is ALWAYS decked out to the nines for the holiday season…

I love the decorations in Vegas over the Christmas and holiday season!

I love the decorations in Vegas over the Christmas and holiday season!

And as usual, Vegas was waiting for me with open arms…

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…? :)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…? :)

(Keep reading after the jump for more fun pictures & stories about our holiday adventures!)

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December 1, 2013

December 2013 Update!

Filed under: Writing — paulayoo @ 8:00 am
Presenting our 2012 Christmas Cats (L-R) Beethoven, Oreo & Charlotte! They're still mad at us for this!

It’s NEVER too early to start dressing up your cats for the 2013 Holiday Season. :)

Hi! I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holiday. I had fun traveling back east to visit family. Now it’s December. And you know what that means… dressing up my cats Oreo, Beethoven & Charlotte in Santa hats! :) (Warning: Stay tuned for a future post featuring 2013 photos of my cats in hats! LOL!)

Some updates on how my year has been going! (Keep reading after the jump for more news!)

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November 12, 2013

Dr. Sammy Lee Medical & Health Science Magnet Elementary School Opens!

The 2013 opening of the Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School in Los Angeles!

The 2013 opening of the Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School in Los Angeles!

Congratulations to Dr. Sammy Lee and his new school!

I just came back from a very fun and moving ribbon cutting ceremony honoring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Dr. Sammy Lee as the inspiration behind the newly opened “Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School” in Los Angeles, CA. The school was created to promote a focus on medical and health science for elementary school students and to honor Dr. Lee’s commitment to overcoming discrimination and never giving up on your dreams. Dr. Lee won two Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal in diving at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. But as a boy growing up in California, he was not allowed to swim in his town’s public swimming pool because of the color of his skin. Dr. Lee not only overcame that racial discrimination by winning two Gold Medals at the Olympics, but he achieved his father’s dream of becoming a doctor as well. His hard work ethic, persistence, and dignity against discrimination have made him an iconic role model for the Asian American community. Dr. Lee was the subject of my first children’s picture book, SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY (Lee & Low Books 2005).

I was honored to be included in the ribbon cutting ceremony as the speaker to introduce Dr. Lee. Here’s a picture of us before the ceremony…

Me & Dr. Sammy Lee!

Me & Dr. Sammy Lee!

(Please keep reading after the jump for more details and pictures on today’s school opening ceremony!)

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November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!

Filed under: Writing — Tags: , , , — paulayoo @ 12:13 pm

 

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Well, it’s November 1st. And we know what that means. It’s NANOWRIMO time! :)

I’ve been participating in the annual National Novel Writing Month for a long time. You can find me at “ViolinGirl.” The website is here: http://nanowrimo.org In fact, NaNoWriMo is what inspired my own version called NaPiBoWriWee (National Picture Book Writing Week) held every May 1-7. To find out more about my NAPIBOWRIWEE event (coming up this May 1-7, 2014), go here: http://paulayoo.com/napi/?p=651

I’ll also live Tweet about my #nanowrimo experience here: https://twitter.com/paulayoo

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, please comment below and join me at ViolinGirl at http://nanowrimo.org!

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Hallow2013Cats1

Oreo, Charlotte & Beethoven as The Grim Reaper for Halloween 2013!

Now onto the really important stuff… guess what YESTERDAY was? Yup! National Dress Your Cats Up In Cute Costumes Day! Also known as “Halloween.” Because we’re on a budget this year, the costumes were home made from scratch using a pair of scissors, an old black bed sheet, string, and some cardboard:

Hallow2013Cats5

 

The final results? Three pretty grim looking Grim Reaper kitties. LOL!

Charlotte is one heck of a GRIM Reaper!

Charlotte is one heck of a GRIM Reaper!

Beethoven was unusually morose instead of his lively self while dressed as a Grim Reaper!

Beethoven was unusually morose instead of his lively self while dressed as a Grim Reaper!

Big brother Oreo looks like he gave up the ghost dressed as the Grim Reaper… :)

Big brother Oreo looks like he gave up the ghost dressed as the Grim Reaper… :)

You can also check out a two-part Youtube video here:

2013 Cats Halloween Part 1 of 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExQO-fUe6u4

2013 Cats Halloween Part 2 of 2 (AKA “The Cats Strike Back”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q_FZv3SQ6U

To see more of my cat videos, subscribe to my Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/paulayoo (You can see them dressed up as Little Devils, The 3 Iron Chefs, and Michigan State Spartans in past Halloween videos on my channel!)

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Good luck to everyone in this year’s NANOWRIMO! Until my next blog, follow me @paulayoo on Twitter! Until the next blog, as always… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! :)

 

September 17, 2013

Fall 2013 Update

Filed under: Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulayoo @ 11:08 am
Greetings from the Writing Batcave! Oreo my editor has some notes on my latest draft. Everyone's a critic! Sheesh! :)

Greetings from the Writing Batcave! Oreo my editor has some notes on my latest draft. Everyone’s a critic! Sheesh! :)

Hello from the Writing Batcave!

I hope everyone had a fabulous summer. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through September. Hence this quick update blog and peek from the batcave before I disappear again. As you know from my summer blogs, I was on a Summer Social Media Sabbatical to get some writing done. It was well worth the isolation. I’m still in the batcave but I’m back to tweeting on a more regular basis. (Follow me @paulayoo). So what have I been up to?

(Keep reading after the jump for more!)

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Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story
Good Enough
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story
Books by Paula Yoo