November at Plenty is devoted to Things that Give Us Hope, and it’s pretty hard not to feel hopeful while reading teen activist Hannah Alper‘s recently published Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change. Hannah began blogging when she was 9 years old about environment issues and the small things she did to try to make positive change. Now, at the ripe age of 14, she is a sought-after speaker and ambassador for the Canadian charity WE, founded by Craig and Marc Kielburger.
Momentus is a collection of 19 interviews done by Hannah herself, and collects the insights of some robust humanitarian and celebrity names – Malala Yousafzai (Nobel Peace Prize Winner) and Blake Mycoskie (Founder of TOMS) come to mind. At least as inspiring however are lesser known heroes, like Vivienne Harr, who at 8 years old ran a lemonade stand everyday to raise money to end child labor. When she realized she would not reach her goals with her initial price of 50 cents, she changed the cost to “by donation”. Upon realizing what she was raising money for, customers responded. Her results were nothing less than truly momentous: after six months, Vivienne donated over $100,000 (not a typo) to Not for Sale, an anti-slavery campaign.
This example typifies the fundamental message of the book, which is that small, practical actions really can amount to tremendous impact, especially when taken together as a whole. The book also covers a wide range of subjects, including mental health, bullying, LBGTQ+ rights, homelessness, indigenous rights, and the environment.
Craig and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of WE and once quintessential youth activists themselves, write the foreward to Momentus, further driving home the truth that everyone – no matter their age or circumstance – can make a difference. The world is a big place with big problems, but the book’s focus on small steps is actionable and motivating. It’s a great dose of empowerment for everyone, but especially to young people everywhere.