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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,179 ratings  ·  449 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 ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  2,179 ratings  ·  449 reviews


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Richard Derus
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

***2017 UPDATE***Not only is this a perfect read for the political climate prevailing today, it's got a film adaptation written and produced by, and starring, the excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor! Whaddaya mean, WHO?! The Operative from Serenity! Mordo from Doctor Strange! Lola in Kinky Boots! That's who!

The Publisher Says: 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
...more
MissUnderstoodGenius
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 ...more
Barbara
May 02, 2012 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 ...more
Bettie


Description: 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 local hero who harnessed the wind.

Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it
...more
Joana
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, tells the true story of William Kamkwamba and how his imagination and motivation helped save the small village of Malawi, Africa. William was a boy who enjoyed building things and taking them apart, he wondered what made things work, and he also believed in magic. William was only 14 years old when a drought hit his small village, and without water there were now crops, and without crops there was no money. William stopped going to school in order to save money, ...more
Jennifer
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
Mar 26, 2013 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
...more
Elizabeth Ducie
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the last twenty percent of this book. It was great to see William triumph over all the challenges and finally get his education and future sorted. But I struggled with the early parts of the book. I am a scientist and very technically-minded, but the detailed descriptions of the engineering were difficult to follow without pictures and got a tad tedious in the end.
Sidik Fofana
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
SIX WORD REVIEW: Best kid tales are true ones.
Lindsay Ercanbrack
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trevor Harcrow
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a fascinating real life story about a boy from a poverty stricken area in Africa. People's crops are dying, and the already dire situation becomes even worse. The boy has to quit school in order to work, which is an all to real issue for children in these poverty areas. However, instead of being resigned to his fate, he instead figures out a way to bring electricity to his community, by creating a windmill out of old discarded junk.

We can see the use of color
...more
Mackenzie Pence
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-335
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an informational, true story about a boy who overcomes great adversity to make a difference for his community. William is a thirteen-year-old boy who loves to learn but has to stop attending school when his family can no longer afford to send him. He starts to go to the library in his community and through his eagerness to learn about the world around him, he figures out how to design a windmill using parts from the junkyard to save his community from the famine ...more
Mandy
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and so much better than the film. Still a sameful difference in wealth and prosperity between African countries and the west. Fabulous true story.
Teya
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will date it a million stars!
Reid
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like this book. It is about a boy named William Kamkwamba who lives in Malawi, Africa. He starts reading books about science, his life dream is to become a scientist, and when a drought comes to his town he puts all his life into building a windmill so he can power his house. Will he be able to do such a thing?
Tori Turner
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
• A synthesis (not summary) of your book WRITTEN IN YOUR OWN WORDS that includes the genre of the book and the grade-level(s) in which you would use this book,- This folktale is a book about a boy from Malawi, William Kamkwamba. I would use this with the 3rd-4th grade because it is a simple picture book but has some complicated language/terms.
• 2-3 specific ideas for how you would use the book in your classroom or how other educators could use this book instructional (these need to be YOUR
...more
Eli G.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, is about a young boy named William who lives in a tiny village in Malawi, Africa. His family is very poor, and doesn't have electricity. When a flash flood hits William’s village, famine strikes and many challenges arise. Most of the people in the area have little or no food. William must come up with a solution to help his family, and therefore he builds a windmill to create electricity and to water their crops so his ...more
Nickolas Florez
Fourteen-year-old William's Malawi village was hit by a drought, and so all of the villagers' crops begin to fail. Without enough money for food, his father asks William to drop out of school so he can help support his family. To learn, William spends his days in the library and figures out how to bring electricity to his village. William comes across a junkyard full of parts to make the windmill. Will he be able to put what he learned to the test?
William Kamkwamba's story from his past of a 14
...more
Yamaly Perez
Jan 01, 2014 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 ...more
Marie Hatheway
Nov 22, 2016 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 ...more
Tasha
Dec 01, 2011 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 ...more
Heather Singh
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the true story of William, a young boy in Africa. William taught himself how to make a windmill so that he could make 'electric wind'. The story is motivational and inspiring. When reading to a child it would be wise to discuss how it is a true story. Children will be fascinated to learn what a young man was able to do. The book is written with a narrative tone and moves quickly through the book.

The art covers the pages edge to edge and is beautifully done.
...more
Sarah Jane
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
William’s story takes place in Malawi at a time of drought and famine. He comes up with an idea that could help his village but his neighbors think he is crazy. Will his plan work? Will he give up? This is a truly inspirational story of how one boy’s desire for an education led him to take action in order to help his family and his village


This non-fiction book wonderfully tells the real life story of how William Kamkwamba helped bring water and electricity to his village by erecting a windmill.
...more
Ciara
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, was about a young man named William Kamkwamba. William lived in Malawi, Africa with his family and fellow community. The story shows the events that occurred and how he brought about his life changing idea for the people around him. As times got worse, he still kept his head up and kept innovating, creating and crafting his idea into something that will soon help everyone around him in many ways.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was a telling of a true
...more
Judy
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of an amazing achievement in one young person's life. William's accomplishments defintitely warrant 5 stars but I found the initial chapters hard to read, the telling of the famine long, heart-wrenching and, actually, arduous and I nearly gave up reading altogether while struggling through the descriptions of the process of building the windmills. However, I skim-read several chapters and found some interesting snippets in the final chapters.
Keri
Oct 29, 2015 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!
Dolly
Feb 10, 2014 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.
Angela
Nov 23, 2016 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
Ana Martinez
Nov 22, 2016 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 ...more
Lexi
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a memoir written by William Kamkwamba. The story is about Kamkwamba’s experience growing up in Malawi, Africa. In this tiny village, there was no electricity and all of the families would rely on the weather to grow food to eat from their fields. There ended up being a terrible drought in 2001 and 2002, which destroyed all of the crops that they depended on as a food source. As a result, the Malawi people began to starve and were lucky if they were able to eat ...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