08 October 2009

29. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Thank you so much to William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers for sending me the advance reader's edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind [creating currents of electricity & hope] by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. This is the most wonderful story of how the hopes and dreams of one determined young boy changed the lives of many.

William Kamkwamba was just a young boy in a small village in Malawi. His family, like most of the villagers, were poor farmers and could not pay for William to continue his education beyond the elementary level. While William was discouraged by this, he ventured to the very small library in the elemntary school which had only three floor to ceiling shelves of books. He read science and physics books learning about windmills and decided to try to make one in hopes of creating enough electricity to power one light bulb so he could study after dark. He later hoped he could help his family through one of the many droughts and famine which affected his own family and the other villagers. Often having only mouthfuls of food each day, William went throughout the junk yards and nearby small town looking for parts to use in creating his windmill. His family and friends thought this was certainly strange behavior and while they loved him, they had little faith in his success. But using the most rudimentary equipment, William was successful and built first one windmill at his home and then a second windmill at the elementary school. Visiting the school, Malawian officials sought to meet the young man who was so dedicated to his own learning. Ultimately William was placed in an upper level school and also invited to attend a TED Global Conference. Finally meeting with other inventors and scientists at this conference, William was introduced to a multitude of knowledge - Google for one, but more importantly William stood with other Africans who were also inventors and he was pround of his heritage and continent.

The author maintains a website which provides opportunities to support his education, his family, and his village. I cannot think of a more worthy cause.

TITLE: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind [creating currents of electricity & hope]
AUTHOR: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
COPYRIGHT: September 29, 2009
PAGES: 347
TYPE: biography
RECOMMEND: Unbelievable, belongs in every school library - from elementary to college; and should be read by all who think hope and dreams don't have great power!

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