The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

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Stars: *****

Summary: 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.

This incredible book was published October 09 by HarperLuxe, a division of HarperCollins. I fully intended to review it in October but things didn’t work out that way. I love reading about life in Africa and reading stories of people who are very poor come into their own and succeed makes me hope for the future.

The book is not only about how William made a windmill but starts from when he was younger and spending his days playing to as he gets older and tries to continue his schooling, through a famine, spending his days reading books from the library, learning about electricity, trying things out for himself, working his way up to a windmill, getting electricity into his home and eventually getting noticed. The last few chapters cover what people noticed him and what was done afterward.

The story was very interesting and I rooted for him when he was figuring things out and feeling sad and worried when his city was going through the famine. William Kamkwamba is a remarkable man and I bet his parents are so very proud of him. I fully agree with the following testimonial about the book:

This book should be required reading in our schools where far too many students drop out because they, apparently, do not value education. Mr Kamkwamba doesn’t just tell about the windmill and how he built it, he describes life and culture in Malawi, the struggles and horrors of the hunger season (which puts faces and hardships on the word, famine) and because of the famine the lack of fees that would allow him to continue in school. He foresaw that life could be different-better and pursued his dream to completion. This is a wonderful, positive story. Thanks for giving me an early opportunity to read it, learn and have hope in young people again.

Dorothy @ Books & More in Albion, MI

Dorothy Dickerson

Thanks to HarperCollins and Shelf Awareness for the opportunity to read this book.

Links of Interest
Browse Inside or View Discussion Guide or visit The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
On Twitter? Follow the book @malawindmilbook or the author @wkamkwamba

Buy The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind on

Other Reviews
Ramya’s Bookshelf, The Novel World, Killin’ Time Reading, Starting Fresh (talks a lot about what the author is up to now)

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.