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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition Hardcover – January 19, 2012


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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition + The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (P.S.)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803735111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803735118
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–7—This youth edition of the original adult book of the same title has been skillfully adapted for middle grade readers. Kamkwamba recounts a period from his childhood living in a small Malawi village. His family was poor, but they got by working as farmers. Kamkwamba was in elementary school, about to graduate to secondary school, when the drought and famine of the mid-2000s upset the patterns of local life. The author deftly describes the devastating effects upon his family: they ate insects, and rations were reduced to only a single mouthful daily. Many around them suffered even worse. Somehow, the family struggled through until the rains returned to nourish a new crop, but they couldn't afford Kamkwamba's school fees. He farmed with his father but also discovered a local library, where he taught himself to engineer a windmill to draw water to irrigate the fields. Those around him thought he was crazy as he salvaged motor parts, a PVC pipe, his father's broken bicycle, and anything else he could find. Kamkwamba did successfully harness the wind, managing to light his family's house, charge community cell phones for a small income, and pump irrigation water. A school inspection team saw the windmill and brought educators to see the teen engineer, who was invited to speak at the African TED conference and given a scholarship. This is a fascinating, well-told account that will intrigue curious minds, even the somewhat anticlimactic closing chapters describing Kamkwamba's education. There is also a picture book version of this tale (Dial, 2012), making it of interest to all-school reading programs. An inspiring, incredible story.—Dorcas Hand, Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

"[An] inspiring story of curiosity and ingenuity."
(Publishers Weekly)

"This book will appeal to adults eager to impart an uplifting Third World human-interest story, but it is also sure to resonate with children who will simply love the curiosity, resilience and resourcefulness of this doughty African youth."
(Wall Street Journal)

"A powerful, gorgeously illustrated children's picture book."
(The Boston Globe)

"This is a dynamic portrait of a young person whose connection to the land, concern for his community, and drive to solve problems offer an inspiring model."
(School Library Journal)

"Zunon illustrates handsomely, with contrasting cut-paper-collage details and broad, sere landscapes painted in visibly textured oils."
(Kirkus)

"This picture book in accessible free verse will draw kids who love to construct their own engineering gadgets."
(Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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One of those rare books that just make you smile when you read it.
Droog
While this book is written for "young readers" I think adults will find a lot of inspiration in it as well.
James Patten
This children's story of William Kamkwamba's young life is truly inspiring.
Moose Spot

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Ritchie on January 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I confess to being a big fan of the adult version of "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind." It is one of the most moving stories I've ever read. But how can you translate 30,000 words into a children's picture book?

William Kamkwamba (24) and co-author Bryan Mealer have simmered the adult memoir into a fine-cuisine reduction of just 1000 perfectly-chosen words, illuminated by the oil-and-cut-paper illustrations of the very talented illustrator Elizabeth Zunon, who grew up in the Ivory Coast. Her use of color, composition and form informs while it entertains. While the story is linear, kids will enjoy re-viewing the multi-hued spreads to spot the tremendous detail evident on every page.

Born and raised in Wimbe, Malawi, William Kamkwamba was just 14 when he was forced to drop out of high school for lack of school fees, because his family needed every kwacha (Malawian money) for food to survive a deadly famine. Against this life-and-death backdrop, William, determined to created a future for himself, went to a recently-built community lending library. There he saw a picture of a windmill on the cover of a 8th grade U.S. science textbook called Using Energy. The book said you can use a windmill to pump water or generate electricity. That would help his family overcome hunger through crop irrigation and save money on kerosene for light. The kerosene funds could then be spent on more food.

On the spot he decided to build a windmill, but he had no money or idea how to do so. While trying to solve this puzzle with the help of his loyal cousin and his best friend, he was mocked by members of his community who believed the boy was going mad, though William enjoyed the full support of his parents and six sisters. His quest to realize his windmill forms the core of "The Boy Who...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By xaviervilalta on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
i knew about the story of William through his TED Talk in TED Global in Africa and i thought that it would not be possible to reflect his spontaneous character and curiosity behind his achievements in another format, and in any case a book.
I must admit this book does. It is beautifully illustrated, the colors and the illustration style seem inspired by African artisan paintings which i think it is wonderful. Also the text and the images are perfectly matched, both graphically and meaningfully.
This book blows your mind for few seconds and i believe William is a new standards of 21st century children's super heros.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adital Ela on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
An amazing story to share and spread with the next generation of thinkers and dreamers! The book is enchantingly beautiful and utterly inspiring! Every child should b exposed to its pivotal message!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gabriella GM on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Even if this book had been fiction, it would have been an inspiring and beautiful story. Knowing that it is actually true, and that William and his windmill are out there, somewhere in the world, makes it an absolutely thrilling and touching story; a great reminder for the young and not so young of how courage and imagination are paramount in life, capable of changing our life and the lives of people around us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Stoetzel on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The children's version of this story is beautiful and well-written, with some of the most stunning illustrations you've ever seen. It's is one of those rare children's books that is also delightful for adults to read over and over again. The story sends about a million great messages (without being at all in-your-face about it), including an important one about perseverance. My daughter absolutely loves it, and was inspired just recently to make her own version of a windmill out of wood and duct tape. We haven't quite got it generating power yet!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By misssnailpail on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have watched the TED talks by William, the boy in this children's book. The story, the messages, the artwork are unique and inspirational for children everywhere to find how to connect their imagination with the real world. To follow their intuition and passions, and trust their wisdom. Actually a great read for all because every parent and adult needs to remember that their dreams to provide and create a healthy world for their loved ones are possible to reach. And if ideas seem crazy, just might be ingenious solutions.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Patten on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This story is beautifully illustrated and inspiring on so many levels. It's also full of the kinds of messages I want all of the children in my life to hear: that creative ideas can change the world, and that when you're trying something new, it's okay if everyone thinks you're crazy. While this book is written for "young readers" I think adults will find a lot of inspiration in it as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story will entertained my 5 year old, budding engineer - whom I bought it for. it also challenged my 7 year old advanced reader and inspired me, which I didn't expect at all! in addition, I love the stylistic artwork, the poetic word choice, and the inclusion of native phrases to remind us that people everywhere do not act, talk, and sound like Americans. to top it off, they have included a much more complete narrative at the end. what amazing courage to build something so grand and ridiculous with all the adults calling him crazy! I will have to look him up on TED Talks!
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