Lisa's Reviews > The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
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's review
Sep 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography-memoir, nonfiction, inspirational, bad-government-examples, 5-star
Recommended to Lisa by: I think I saw this book on Reader's Advisory
Recommended for: everyone!
Read from September 22 to October 01, 2011

William Kamkwamba tells of his family's life in Malawi, an impoverished African nation in a long term food crisis. Like many other African nations, Malawi has been caught up in the AIDS epidemic. Also government and government officials serve themselves and leave the people hanging in the balance.

Maps for reference:
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You can see Malawi is surrounded by other impoverished nations:
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When I first started this book I thought I might not read much of it because William focused on his father and uncles and it seemed all of the Malawi men took their meager earnings and drank most of it. The young author was telling his story the way he experienced it, but then he turned to the bigger story of massive food shortages brought on by bad decisions by government officials and I could see some parallels with the current situation in the United States. Not that our problem with food shortages compares in anyway with the starvation and famine in Malawi, but I see problems coming.

The author was 14 in 2001 when the worst famine hit his country. The problem was brought on my bad agricultural practices (clear cutting all of the forests to start) and exasperated by government officials funneling off grain that they intended to sell for their own profit, but inadvertently allowing it to spoil.

This is a fantastic and uplifting story! I found myself choked up in tears of happiness as William found success and I actually felt a Mother's pride for William. Our world needs more Williams...we should all be more like William.

Here William is outside his home in Africa; he often had to climb up his windmill to make adjustments:
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There are some really great and telling quotes, but I could not find many online. That is the problem with audiobooks. I may have to get the actual book.
“I try, and I made it!”

“He then asked he president to stop funding wells and toilets and use the money to buy grain. (Because really, how can you use a toilet if you never eat?)”

“I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.”

“Children everywhere have similar ways of entertaining themselves. If you look at it this way, the world isn't so big.”

An interview with Jon Steward:

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Quotes Lisa Liked

William Kamkwamba
“I try, and I made it!”
William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

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