The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition

by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, and Anna Hymas

After the devastating drought of 2000–2001 in Malawi, William Kamkwamba’s... read more

After the devastating drought of 2000–2001 in Malawi, William Kamkwamba’s family could no longer afford his school fees, but he continued to use the primary school library in his village. Interested in science, William found two books that inspired him to build his first windmill, which he used to power a small lightbulb at home. He went on to build a bigger windmill and wire his entire house, gaining attention that led to further educational opportunities. William scavenged everything, and not only had to understand the science but also think creatively. In this adaptation for young adults of William’s adult memoir, his voice is engaging and occasionally self-deprecating as he describes a confidence born of enthusiasm that kept him focused even when he faced ridicule, since early on no one understood what he was doing. It also kept him going through failure—an inevitable aspect of his experimentation. The context of William’s life—his community and family and the impact of the drought on his country—is as vivid as William’s optimism in this account that includes inset color photographs, including one of his recent graduation from Dartmouth. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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