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For Jenny Bowen, a single 1996 newspaper article planted the seed. The piece about dysfunctional Chinese orphanages overcrowded with abandoned girls sparked the activist impulse of this empty nester mother of two. Even a pair of Chinese adoptions could not sate her sense of charity: Before long, she, her husband and her new children had moved to Beijing to launch a foundation for improving the lives of children in orphanages. After some strenuous wrestling with bureaucratic strictures, her Half the Sky project gained traction and even official support. This first-person narrative presents the heartening, yet unsugared story of lives transformed by good works. Editor's recommendation.