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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (2009)

by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer

Other authors: Mary Schuck (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5061425,898 (4.11)259
Biography & Autobiography. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Now a Netflix Film, Starring and Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala??crazy??but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him… (more)

  1. 21
    Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: A different, but equally positive, story of growing up in Africa
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» See also 259 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
This is an excellent children's book (possibly for 8 years and up). Told by William himself, it is a story about social injustice, science, public health, and creativity. William is a genius, he is brave, he asks questions, finds his own answers, and doesn't give up. The world needs more people like William! ( )
  BerrinSerdar | Dec 5, 2023 |
3.5 ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
This is an inspiring story about a boy who defies the odds and brings electricity to his village. This story can teach children how to shoot for the stars and reach their goals no matter how impossible they may seem. ( )
  cieraj25 | Oct 15, 2023 |
William Kamkwamba grew up in a village in Malawi without electricity or running water. His family lived comfortably until the famine of 2002. Like many in the country, his family subsisted on a few mouthfuls of food a day. With food prices soaring, William's father could no longer afford to send him to school, and for the next five years, William relied on a tiny village library and his friend's class notes to try and keep up. Most of the books in the library were donations from the US, and amongst them he found a few physics books. Fascinated with the diagrams, William began scrounging materials to do experiments. His dream was to build a windmill so that his family could have light at night and a pump to irrigate their fields and never go hungry again. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams.

The book starts slow with lots of world building and stories that he heard as a child about witches and magic. The plot picks up with the famine and William's experiments. It's amazing and inspiring to read about his efforts to self-educate and to help his family. The co-author of this memoir lived with William's family for several months and interviewed his friends and family to verify details. The photos and William's crude drawings of his machines are a nice touch. I'm glad my copy of the book included an essay by William at the end which covered the time since the book was first published and the work of his foundation, Moving Windmills. ( )
  labfs39 | Sep 14, 2023 |
I almost gave this book 5 stars. I admit it started off a bit slowly. This was a fascinating look at the life of a young man in an African village in Malawi. I loved reading about how he taught himself the principles needed to build his own windmill and create electricity for his household. He showed remarkable ingenuity and tenacity in gathering the materials necessary and making it work. This is an inspiring story that appealed to my "science side" and my emotional side! ( )
  CarolHicksCase | Mar 12, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
An autobiography so moving that it is almost impossible to read without tears. In understated and simple prose, Kamkwamba and Mealer offer readers a tour through one Malawian boy’s inspiring life.
 
With so many tales of bloody hopelessness coming out of Africa, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind reads like a novel with a happy ending, even though it’s just the beginning for this remarkable young man, now 21 years old.
added by lampbane | editGood, Mark Frauenfelder (Sep 29, 2009)
 
This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kamkwamba, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mealer, Bryanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Schuck, MaryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arthus-Bertrand, YannPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
ブライアン・…secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barata, Saulsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavándoli, MargaritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chike JohnsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
田口 俊樹翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delarbre, AliceTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hymas, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerner, Jamie LynnDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuck, MaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zunon, ElizabethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
池上 彰(解…その他secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
To my family
First words
The preparation was complete, so I waited.
Quotations
I try, and I made it.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the original work, published in 2009, subtitled "Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope." Please do not combine it with the Young Reader's Edition or the Picture Book Edition (published in 2012).
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Biography & Autobiography. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Now a Netflix Film, Starring and Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala??crazy??but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him

No library descriptions found.

Book description
A picture book about William Kamkwamba, a 14 year old boy suffering through the drought that occurred in Africa. William's interest in how things work and the ill effects of the drought lead him to a library, where he learns about windmills. He dreams of building a windmill for his family and village. Good for teaching children about hardships and how to overcome them.
Haiku summary
An African boy
Lights his village with the wind,
Earns my great respect

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