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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

eBook - 2009
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the immensely engaging and inspiring true account of an enterprising African teenager who constructed a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his entire community. William Kamkwamba shares the remarkable story of his youth in Malawi, Africa—a nation crippled by intense poverty, famine, and the AIDS plague—and how, with tenacity and imagination, he built a better life for himself, his family, and his village. The poignant and uplifting story of Kamkwamba's inspiration and personal triumph, co-written with Bryan Mealer, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has already won ringing praise from former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore as well as Paolo Coelho, internationally bestselling author of The Alchemist.
Publisher: 2009
ISBN: 9780061937699
Call Number: OverDrive ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From Library Staff

The story of a boy whose determination and courage led to an invention that would improve the lives of his community. There are versions of this story for adults, kids, and beginning readers.
Reading level: Adults

An enterprising teenager in Malawi builds a windmill from scraps he finds around his village and brings electricity, and a future, to his family.

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DBRL_IdaF Feb 10, 2020

When William Kamkwamba was a young teen, famine struck his country of Malawi. His father, a farmer, did not have enough money to pay his school fees. Even as his family, and entire community, faced near starvation, William was determined to pursue what education he could. He frequented the small local library, finding a special fascination with books on science and technology.

He'd always been prone to tinkering, so the aptitude was already in place. With the help of library books, generous friends, and several episode of junk yard scavenging, he was able to build a small windmill to supply electricity to his family home, the first step in a chain of events that would lead him down new paths and benefit his entire village.

Jul 16, 2019

This true story book inspired my heart. William Kamkwamba Was a courageous and never gave up. When him and his family was facing starvation and problems with their farm, he had an idea to make a wind mill that would bring water. When I was reading this book, it made me feel sad. This was because William tried to build a wind mill but needed a part from a bike. William asked his dad if he could borrow a piece of he’s bike, but William’s dad rejected and told him that it was useless. I liked the part when William’s wind mill was a success and he saved his family and other people in the land. I also watched the movie, but it was slightly different from the book. Overall, this book was amazing and I recommend this to people who like true stories and inspiring books.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 26, 2018

This is the inspiring true story of a young man from a tiny village in the African country of Malawi. Grinding poverty, drought, and a culture which placed superstition far above science made schooling impossible and starvation likely; but at the age of 14, William discovers a science book in a tiny library of USA-donated books. It tells about windmills. Over the next several weeks he figures out how to build a windmill from an old bicycle, an electric truck fan, and PVC pipe. He uses this to provide electricity for his family's home. His next, larger windmill provides enough water to allow his family to irrigate crops and have two harvests a year. He becomes famous and gets a scholarship to high school. Along the way, he transforms his village and provides hope to other young people in Malawi.

You won’t find a better story about someone making something out of almost nothing.

Oct 12, 2018

William Kamkwamba has faced so many more hardships in his life than we can even imagine, yet has overcome and conquered. His dream of bringing electricity to his family's home was realized when he was just a teenager and was unable to go to school due to financial difficulties. He used a local library to learn about science and figured out how to use junk from around their farm and in the city junkyard to build a windmill and light a small light bulb. Through God's providence word spread of his achievement and he was invited to apply to be a part of a TED conference in Tanzania. From then on his life and the life of his family and friends improves dramatically. The book drags a bit in providing too much detail for this nonengineer. Looking forward to seeing Kamkwamba speak at Avila later this month.

Nov 05, 2017

This autobiography (with assistance of a 'ghost' writer) is mainly about the series of droughts in the late 90s and early 00s that plunged the author's subsistence farming family into debt and forced the author to quit school. The memoir also touches on the scourge of HIV/AIDS on the population of Malawi and its impact on children. Almost 50 years after 'independence', this sad tale of misgovernment, personal aggrandizement by politicians, and misallocation of resources have crushed much of the population of Malawi with poverty, disease, illiteracy, and hopelessness. The crude machines built by the author simply illustrate how little technology would be needed to turnaround the lives of rural Malawians to sustainable development. This book should have had a glossary of Malawian words to aid readers. A mix of metric and imperial units may create misunderstanding for some readers.

Mar 31, 2017

Besides the inspiring story of a poor African overcoming adversity, this true story shows the day to day life of poverty, including living through a famine-yet it is never depressing.

Oct 03, 2015

I listened to the audio version of this book and really liked it. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the teenager towards science and to the solution of his problems, in particular providing light at home so he could read more!

IdeaLab_Mandy Jun 04, 2014

Inspiring story of a teenager who brought stable electricity access to his small Malawi village by building a windmill. In doing so he changed not only his village, but the course of his life. Don't miss Kamkwamba's Ted Talk from 2009. Serving suggestion: chambo (fish) with cassava

Dec 23, 2011

A wonderful book, well written and engaging. It shows what happens when people have access to libraries!

brendanjon Apr 26, 2011

A great book that is a fun read. I enjoyed learning about a person overcoming major adversity in his life to bring electric power to his home and village and in turn create power over his whole life.

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Mar 31, 2011

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