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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  952 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the lo ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Dial Books
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Richard Derus
Aug 05, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
May 02, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
When his family slowly begins to starve due to the severe drought in Malawi in Africa, fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba decides to do something about it. Although despair over the family's situation could have overwhelmed him once he was forced to stop attending school, William used an English dictionary to help him comb through science books at the library that might help him solve the villagers' need for water and for electricity. The mechanically-inclined young man was inspired by the pict ...more
Shweta Nigam
Aug 07, 2015 Shweta Nigam rated it liked it
It's a true story. An utterly inspirational story of a young boy who brought electricity to his village in Malawi at age 14 and there is so much to inspire him - curiosity, ingenuity, the importance of reading and education, appreciation for the bounty we have been blessed with, what it's like to experience a famine, etc. He'll also learn about science, about the culture in Africa and how hard some people have to work to eke out a living. There is no graphic sex or violence. I highly recommend i ...more
Sidik Fofana
Oct 26, 2012 Sidik Fofana rated it it was amazing
SIX WORD REVIEW: Best kid tales are true ones.
Mar 13, 2012 Tasha rated it it was amazing
This picture book version of the nonfiction book manages to translate the story of William Kamkwamba with clarity and inspiration. When a drought hit his village in Malawi in 2001 and 2002, 14-year-old William and his family were in real danger of starving. William had always through about machines and even after he was forced to leave school due to the drought, he kept reading books about them. He thought about what could be done with a windmill in his village, bringing light and water. So he h ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a nominee for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

This wonderful nonfiction book, written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, tells young William's story of life in drought-ravaged Malawi. Instead of accepting things as they were, William visited the village library, learned more about renewable energy, and proceeded to build a windmill that would bring electricity to his village. Although many people called him
Yamaly Perez
Jan 01, 2014 Yamaly Perez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determi ...more
Oct 29, 2015 Keri rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
What a great story,a very inspiring young man. Don't forget to read the afterward as well!
Cillisa Berg
Jun 24, 2016 Cillisa Berg added it
Shelves: rdg-291
This book is about a boy and how he wanted to help his family and his village during a horrible drought in Malawi. William Kamkwamba and his family were corn farmers and had lost all of their crops due to lack of water from the drought so they had nothing to eat or sell. With his family not having any money, William wasn't able to go to school anymore but remembered that there was a library full of books that were sent over from the US. He began to read science books trying to figure out how he ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Jordan rated it it was ok
Based off a true story, William, a young boy living in the village of Malawi, always wanted to know how things worked. Like the radios he had in his room, he wondered, "if I can hear the music, then where is the band?" (2009) When told that he could no longer attend school, William ventured to the library down the road, and started to learn about engines and radios and something called a windmill. "Windmills can produce electricity and pump water." (2009) He told himself that he would build elec ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Shane rated it really liked it
This is a non-fictional book of William who lived in a Malawi village. He was a farmer's boy who longed to learn but was forced to work on the farm due to his financial circumstances. William read books from the local library and learned about windmills and their applications. From everything that he learned from the library, William left to the junkyard and gathered materials so that he could make a windmill for his village. He was successful in making "electric wind" from his windmill and deci ...more
Tylesha Yellowhair
Apr 24, 2016 Tylesha Yellowhair rated it it was amazing
The book begins with the sun setting and a boy returning to his village in Malawi, Africa. William and his family are farmers who rely on the yearly harvest for food. Even though the village they live in has no electricity or running water, William's imagination and playful insightfulness serves as an escape to is personal tranquility. His curiosity about the mechanical elements of the radio, car engine, and windmills motivated him to create his own wind turbine. Through old science books he was ...more
Alstein Le
Apr 25, 2016 Alstein Le rated it it was amazing
Kamkwamba,William. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

This is a based on true story about a boy who had a
This boy is innovative and curious. He likes to take things apart and put them together and wonder how things works. Farmers had to go to bed early because there wasn't any electricity for light. He wondered about engines. He came from a poor family and worked in the fields. The field he worked in can't produce any more food and his family planned to eat only one meal a day. He can't go to schoo
Jessica Aguilar
Apr 24, 2016 Jessica Aguilar rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a wonderful non-fiction story told about a boy who, in the midst of suffering in his village because of no water to grow crops, reads about windmills and attempts to create one in order to solve all the problems the village is having. As mentioned, the story is non-fiction and is also a partial biography, focusing only on this particular event of the boy creating a windmill. Of course, the story has the many parts of a biography. The characterization is done wel ...more
Nga Williams
Apr 24, 2016 Nga Williams rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba is based on the author’s own story and success. William grew up and lived in a country called Malawi. After facing a drought, he and his family could not grow their crops. They were forced to reduce their meal to once a day and William was forced to quit school due to lack of finances. He was terribly upset. However, he remembered the library that was a gift from the Americans. William went to the library and read books about windmills, which ...more
Tasia Thompson
Apr 24, 2016 Tasia Thompson rated it it was amazing
“The Boy Who Harness The Wind” is a story written by William Kankwamba and Bryan Mealer about a teenage boy who tries to save his village from the drought and hunger that has effected not just village but his family. The teenage boy, Malawi, and his family is forced to eat only one meal a day. He is also forced to drop out of school which saddens him as he sees the privileges kids leave to go to school. As Malawi sees the other kids leave fro school and wishes he could go too, he remembers that ...more
Courtnie Love-Sorrell
Apr 24, 2016 Courtnie Love-Sorrell rated it it was amazing
In Malawi there lived a boy named William who lived in a small village without enough money for lights. This caused the villagers and farmers to head to bed earlier than they wanted to. However, William didn’t mind because he liked to dream! He would dream of finding out how things work by pulling them apart and putting them back together. When he wasn’t dreaming he worked in the fields however, the crops were dying because of the lack of water. Without the crops, the people of Malawi began to s ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Deana rated it really liked it
Kamkwamba, W. (2012). The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Dial Books.

The boy Who Harnessed the Wind is about a boy named William Kamkwamba who lives in Malawi. Malawi is a poor place that was struck by a drought, bringing poverty to the town as crops died and there was not enough money for school. Broken and hungry, William remembers about the library Americans built for his people. Here, he immerses himself in books of science, using dictionaries to make meaning of the words. With a newfound determ
Nicole Schmidt
William was a dreamer. He was curious on how things operated and what ‘magic’ went into making them work. William’s family were farmers. As the drought destroyed their crops, the family was short on food and low on money. William was forced to drop out of school. He was very sad that he would no longer be able to learn. He remembered that the Americans built a library. With his dictionary beside him, William read science books he found at the library and discovered how electric items were able t ...more
Haley Lunski
Apr 24, 2016 Haley Lunski rated it really liked it
This book shares the story of a boy named William. He dreams of building things and learning how they work. In his town, he and his family work in the fields. The village has not received any rain for a long time, so the crops are drying up. William’s father tells the family that they are only to eat one meal a day and William has to drop out of school. This upsets William because he loves to learn. As he mopes, he remembers the library in the village. He goes there and learns all about how thin ...more
Courtney Nyetrae
Apr 23, 2016 Courtney Nyetrae rated it really liked it
The village of Malawi had fallen on hard times. There was no rain, so there were no crops. Hardship had fallen, specifically on the family of a child named William Kamkwamba. They were only allowed to eat one meal a day, and did not have enough money to send William to school. At first, William was sad until he remembered the library. He had always been interested in how things like truck engines and radios worked. One day, he came across the invention of the windmill. This inspired William to a ...more
Bianca Pineda
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind recalls he story of a young boy from Malawi named William. William is from a small village in Africa. He is a very curious young boy who enjoyed school and spent his time tinkering. William was also fascinated with magic. In This village their livelihood relied greatly on their crops. After Malawi was hit with a drought, the village ran out of food and money. With time on his hands, William sets out to find a magical solution for his village.

This book is consider
Patrina Yazzie
Apr 23, 2016 Patrina Yazzie rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a fantastic book! Malawi is a small village with a young boy named William who lived with his family on a farm. There was no electricity and had very little rain water to tend to the crops growing. During the day as he worked in the crops he often daydreamed about how engines work from passing trucks. William loved to tinker and explore how to build things. Soon Malawi faced a drought and the people soon faced starvation. William had to drop out of school becaus ...more
Katherine Simonic
Apr 22, 2016 Katherine Simonic rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a non-fiction book because it was based on a true story. The story is about William who lives in a farming village with his friends and family. There is a drought and the crops will not grow. The children are told they can only eat one meal a day due to food shortages, and William must drop out of school due to money shortages. He spends his days at the library and comes across a promising solution to the waterless, dying crops that his family needs to survive.
Erika Aguirre
Apr 20, 2016 Erika Aguirre rated it it was amazing
The book, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind", is the true story of William Kamkwamba. After his people in Malawi faced a drought and caused a food shortage, fourteen-year-old William sought other options to help relieve the stress of his fellow people. William had always enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together, so when he came upon the idea of creating a windmill through books at the local library, he was thrilled. Many of the villagers called him names, and said he was crazy, a ...more
Caitlin Morris
Apr 19, 2016 Caitlin Morris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg-291
Based on a true story about William Kambwamba growing up in the Malawi. Malawi was a hot village, William's family's farm needed water to feed themselves and the village. But without water, no one could eat. The tried to ration the food to one meal a day but the rain didn't come. With no water, there was no food, and with no food there was no money, William had to drop out of school. One day William remember the library and read of many things. William read of windmills that created electricity, ...more
Karlie Jamieson
Apr 19, 2016 Karlie Jamieson rated it liked it
This book is based on the true story of William Kamkwamba who was born in Malawi. During his childhood, the people of Malawi suffered through a terrible drought. William's family didn't have enough money to send William to school nor to feed the entire family more than one meal a day. William mourned not being able to go to school and eventually found his way to the public library in his town where he checked out science books. In one of these books, William learned about wind power and searched ...more
Ann Kirkwood
Apr 19, 2016 Ann Kirkwood rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a children's book that gives the partial autobiography of William Kamkwamba, who brought electricity and water to his remote African village by using the power of the wind after discovering the function of windmills. Out of necessity for fear of starving, William was forced to drop out of school. He is determined to continue his education and visits his local library where he learns about science, physics, and energy. William then visits his local scrapyard to f ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Lexi rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2015 Vishnu rated it it was amazing
Vishnu Gosai
Due 9/1/15

Your Son is Crazy

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba is a story about the author's life. The story takes place in Malawi in the tiny village of Masitala (specific time is not stated but the main character is about 4-6 years old). The book is written in a first person perspective. William is a school dropout at the age of 12 because his family could not afford schooling for him during the famine on 2000. But William did want to face the same fa
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William Kamkwamba was born August 5, 1987 in Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city. William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001-2002, his family lacked funds to pay $80 in school fees and William was forced to drop out in his freshman year. ...more
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