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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,138 Ratings  ·  283 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.
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
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
Sidik Fofana
Oct 26, 2012 Sidik Fofana rated it it was amazing
SIX WORD REVIEW: Best kid tales are true ones.
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
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
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
Jan 16, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Fascinating tale of a young man who helped his family using the power of the wind.
Sep 10, 2016 Ariana rated it it was amazing
SUCH a great story!
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!
Nov 21, 2016 Danielle rated it it was amazing
William, a boy who grew up in Malawi in a village with his family. He spent the nights dreaming of building trucks, planes, and the magic his grandfather talked about. He worked in the fields with his family but wanted to learn everything he could about engines and how different machine works. However, when the sun came out and the rain stopped, the crops that Williams family worked so hard for in the field was destroyed. In turn, the family could only have one meal per day and William had to dr ...more
Nov 23, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is a true story about a boy, William, who persevered through hard times. Besides being a well written and wonderful illustrated children’s book, this story also allows for the reader to gain a new perspective. We as readers are transported into the life of young man who lives in a small village in Malawi. We quickly discover through the descriptive text, that this is a place where farmers did not have a lot of money. The drawings in the book allows us to visualize ...more
Nov 22, 2016 Courtney rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind was written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. This inspirational picture storybook gives an interpretive nonfiction twist on Kamkwamba’s true story. The book follows the tale of fourteen year old William’s life in a very poor village in Malawi. The village was full of struggling farmers that had no electricity and often had difficulties producing a crop that was successful enough to provide an income and food for their famili ...more
Ana Martinez
Nov 22, 2016 Ana Martinez rated it it was amazing
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind is a story based on true events. When the village of 14-year-old William hits a severe drought that affects the crops in very deep ways. One way in which it affected William is that he was now only going to eat once a day. Another way is that he dropped out of school because of this drought. Because the crops were not growing, his family was unable to keep paying the tuition fees. William found out a way so that he could help fix the dire situation in which they we ...more
Mandy Dooley
Nov 19, 2016 Mandy Dooley rated it liked it
This story is about a 14 year old boy named William Kamkwamba and how he became his towns hero. Him and his family lived in Malawi, Africa with close to nothing. They had to go out and work in the crops each day to try to go plants for food. There was no water in the village and the sun was drying everything up. Soon his family was in a famine and he had to quit school because they had no money. William reminded that there was a library that the Americans gave the town. Hopeless, he went there a ...more
Nov 21, 2016 Addeliese rated it it was amazing
This book is about a boy named William who was about to use his will power and intuition to solve a problem for his community. He lived in Malawi in Africa where food and famine were an going battle. A severe drought hit William's family when he was just 14. It was almost impossible to keep the crops alive. William had to leave school to help out and his whole family was a one meal a day diet. However, William was a smart boy. He remembered some old books that described some inventions the peopl ...more
Weston Broome
Nov 21, 2016 Weston Broome rated it liked it
At fourteen, William Kamkwamba's village of Malawi, located in Zambia, was hit by a terrible drought. The villager’s maze and other crops were becoming dried out and dying. William’s family, like many of the villagers, was left without theirs crops or money for food. William’s family couldn’t even afford to send William to school. William’s curiosity could no be dampened by this, however, and he spent most of his time in the library, provided to the village by the Americans. Thinking only of his ...more
Julie C
Nov 22, 2016 Julie C rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is about a boy named William who lived on a farm. There was no electricity, which meant there wasn't any lights and their farming hours were limited to when the sun was out. One especially bad summer, it didn't rain and all of the family's maize spoiled. The family only ate a handful of food each day and eventually William had to stop going to school as well, as he watched the fed and educated students walk by him every day. As he was just sitting under a tree thin ...more
Jennifer Carrasco
Nov 22, 2016 Jennifer Carrasco rated it really liked it
What an intriguing book! This is a story about a boy living through some rough times while living in Malawi. He lived in a small African town and his family grew maize, but soon there was a drought and no one could grow anything and as an effect of that no one could make any money. William was forced to drop out of school to help his family, but longed to learn and went to the library that was a gift from the Americans. There he reads many books and finds one about a windmill. He gets inspired a ...more
Danielle Brock
William is a poor boy who lived in a poverty-stricken village. The people had no electricity and there was no water to grow their crops. William was very smart, but very hungry. He realized, when his father told him he could no longer go to school, that there was a library given to them by the Americans. He found a book about windmills and realized that with a little ingenuity and a lot of junk he found he could save his village.
This interpretive nonfiction book is based on a true story and tol
Nov 22, 2016 Virginia rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the uplifting tale of William and his search for magic. William has always enjoyed taking things apart to figure out how they work. When a severe drought hits Malawi, his home, he takes it upon himself to search for magic which will help him solve his people's hunger problems. He finds magic in the books of the library, as well finding the magical solution to their real life problems.
The tale is told in the narrative style but is interpretive nonfiction, based
Phillip Cross
Oct 29, 2016 Phillip Cross rated it it was amazing
This is a story about a young boy named William who is growing up in Malawi (Africa). His family is very poor and is now facing famine, but not because of bad financial decisions or laziness. It was because a lot of countries from Europe were exploiting this region for their natural resources during the 19th century. It was also around this time that countries like Belgium and England were instituting slavery and segregation to make sure that multiple generations of poverty and lack of education ...more
Garvin Alston
William Kamkwamba was born and raised in Malawi. His city was very poor and while he worked on the field everyday the thought of something bigger was always in his mind. One night his family had to start eating smaller portions for dinner. The books consist of very magical spirits that can be seen throughout the book. Although the spirits seem up beat they have a struggling side to them due to their location and lack of resources around them. For weeks William struggles with dropping out of scho ...more
Oct 31, 2016 Lynda rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy Aley
Nov 21, 2016 Jeremy Aley rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind tells the story of William, who lives in a poor village in Malawi, Africa. William is a tinkerer who is constantly taking apart and putting together like toys and radios. William always wonders how things work and seeks to understand. As the farmland becomes unusable due to drought, lack of food becomes a real problem. William, using his tinkering skills and a local library, he comes up with a plan to overcome the drought: a windmill.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Nov 22, 2016 Chance rated it it was amazing
This story is about a young boy who lives in a small village in Malawi. His parents are farmers, but they are not in the best financial situation. Due to this, the main character Kamkwamba, has to leave school because his family cannot afford the expenses that come with school. Kamkwamba tries to continue learning through a local library where one day he finds a book called Using Energy and it teaches him about wind power. After reading this he decides to try and build a windmill. He finds out h ...more
Jessica Lam
Nov 22, 2016 Jessica Lam rated it really liked it
This true story is about a boy who lives on a farm. As soon as the sun went down the farming time and working time was over due to not having any electricity to continue working. All of these farmers were very poor and had no electricity, much food, or clean water. They families on the farms struggled due to the lack of resources. The boy decides to take things into his own hands and try and create a better life for his family. This book tries to explain through the life of a young boy that you ...more
Alexa Esposito
Nov 22, 2016 Alexa Esposito rated it it was amazing
The inspirational true story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, motivates readers to never settle or accept less just because of your circumstances. William was poor and lived in a poverty-stricken village where farmers had no light and no water. William had something that was even more valuable: books and ingenuity. This story truly embodies the idea that possibilities are endless if we do not allow ourselves to be crippled by adversity.

The interpretive nonfiction tells the story with text and p
Nov 22, 2016 Rylie rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind introduces a young inventor, William, who found inspiration in dreams. The author uses illustrations that contain extremely lifelike quality. The story takes place in a third world country, and these life like illustrations are used to portray the more harsh lifestyles. There are colors with red and orange tones to portray to hot, scorching weather conditions undergone during the long lasting drought that dried out the food and money supply.

William, our young inve
Marie Hatheway
Nov 22, 2016 Marie Hatheway rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a true story about a teenage boy with a little education and a lot of heart who becomes a self-taught engineer. With his family on the verge of starvation during a famine in Malawi, William checks out a book from the local library that inspires him to experiment with creating energy from wind. Since there is no translation for ‘windmill’ in the Malawian language, he calls it "electric wind". The entire village, including his own friends and family think he's ins ...more
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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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