Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 29, 2009
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The story is in three parts. The first part tells of Willam's life growing up and that of his father, giving a fascinating glimpse of the village life of subsistence farmers whose culture has changed little in thousands of years. Daily existence includes very real fears of witchcraft, shamans for healing, and strong currents of superstition. Although written in clear, simple narrative (mostly by the co-author, Bryan Mealer, an AP reporter with extensive experience across Africa), it is by no means a child's bedtime story. Malawi, an interior country of 13 million, has minimal health care, primitive agriculture, and no free public high schools. Villagers can be killed by wild animals in the forest. In 2001 the maize crops failed, plunging the countryside into famine and near social collapse, and William loses friends to disease and starvation. The government comes off badly in this episode, incompetent, brutal against the local village chief who complains, and corrupt.
William is a bright boy eager for school, but his family cannot afford the fees. He is forced to drop out. In the second part of the story, doing the best he can in spite of this disappointment, William finds an elementary physics textbook in a local library and sees diagrams of windmills - he cannot even read the English text. From this bit of information, with impressive focus and persistence he manages to build his own version from scraps of wire, an old bicycle hub, and flattened PVC pipe for blades.Read more ›
But this is much more than a story about an African boy who built a working windmill. It's a monument to the human spirit. In fact, we don't even get to making the windmill itself until halfway through the book. In the first half, William tells us a lot about his life in Africa, the terrible famine that swept his land, how he and his family survived, and the clues along the way which eventually led to him making the windmill. Even as a little kid, he was taking apart radios to see how they worked -- with no books or training, just trial and error. Then he saw a bicycle light that ran from a mechanical dynamo -- the kind that generates electricity when you pedal. Experimenting with this, he figured out how to get it to power his radio when he turned the bike pedals.Read more ›
For the first 10% of the book (Kindle doesn't have page numbers) I really was regretting the purchase. The pages were filled with stories of William (main character) as a young boy and the various predicaments he found himself in. The stories told of magic and witchcraft that caused all kinds of terrible things to happen and the overall direction of the book seemed to bounce back and forth from story or idea to another story or idea. I found myself thinking that these stories were so farfetched, how is the remainder of the book going to integrate these magical tales. At that point, I wasn't looking forward to reading more of the book. Nevertheless I persevered and was happily rewarded.
As William grows older (relatively speaking), the story - rather than witchcraft and magic - turns to real life events (famine and hardship) which actually brings you closer to William and his family. Not that many of us can relate to devastating famine where it wipes out entire populations, but it does help us understand what William had to deal with during such a trying time. Some touching moments are created in these pages and definitely rewards for turning the pages.
Once William begins his journey of harnessing the wind, for me, this was the most interesting part of the book. It truly was fascinating to me to not only learn how some of the things we take for granted (like electricity) can play such an integral role in communities that are essentially third world countries but also how one would go about constructing things with no money.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing and inspirational book sad at times but it is great, I would recommend it to anyone 5 stars!!!!!Published 1 hour ago by Yeezy master
It's a beautiful story with a wonderful narration. Very motivational!Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
This was a wonderful read. I felt all emotions...love, joy, sorrow, anger, etc.,...and more importantly, I was reawakened to valuable information needed to make our world a more... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
This boy is amazing. And knowing there are many like him throughout Africa gives hope that a better future is possible for the people there. Read morePublished 25 days ago by NWIAReader
I've recommended this to a lot of educators working overseas with young people. Excellent book.Published 25 days ago by Jackie
I didn't realize what a stunningly incredible story was written about a wonderful young man and how he succeeded in his small world in Africa. It has changed how I view life.Published 27 days ago by M. T. DELAMELENA
William Kamkwamba grew up on a farm in Malawi during a time when drought and famine brought poverty, starvation, and death to many people across his homeland. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jason Tucker