Gates, Melinda. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. New York: Flatiron Books, 2019.

Got some high school students who are interested in taking on the world and making it a better place? Melinda Gates isn’t a bad source for advice. In The Moment of Lift, she describes her journey through philanthropy, lessons learned about how to approach problems, and how to determine the best places to invest resources. She’s discovered that listening to the people you’d like to help is at the foundation of it all. It is evident in the title that Gates’ work focuses on empowering women around the world, but even if the reader isn’t interested in those causes, the lessons for working in philanthropy can be applied to projects large and small. Some shocking topics are discussed here including forced marriage, child brides, female mutilation, and abuse, but there are no graphic descriptions.

Young adults will be encouraged by the stories of how Gates, one of the world’s most wealthy and powerful women, had to start at the start when it came to learning about new issues. No one begins a new endeavor with perfect knowledge, or sometimes any real knowledge about the solutions that will work best. But what makes this more engaging than a how-to manual are the personal stories that brought about learning and epiphanies for Gates, herself, told in a matter of fact, humble style.

The Moment of Lift is an important addition to high school collections, especially for those schools who have a service-learning program. It’s clearly written in language accessible to high school students, and it is informative, heartbreaking, personal, and very inspiring.

Dewey: 305.42                                            Interest Level: Adult

Awards and Reviews: Booklist starred; Kirkus Reviews; Library Journal; Publishers Weekly Annex.

Younger Readers might like: 111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh
Middle School Readers might like: Because I Am a Girl: I Can Change the World by Rosemary A. McCarney
Fiction Pairing: Among the Fallen by Virginal Frances Schwartz