The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was my local book club’s book for this month. It’s a bit of a departure from the books this book club normally reads, and I was really excited to read it. I read it during the Joy week of the Year of Words book club, but I think it would be a perfect fit for Imagine, Inspire, Action, or Dream.The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on July 27th 2010
Buy on Amazon (aff link)
Add to a Goodreads Shelf
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. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
The first half of this book is really draggy. It’s filled with a lot of history of the area William lives in, there’s a lot of time spent on the belief in magic, and the magical stories he grew up with. While this section dragged for me, I know it was a necessary part of the book, to understand the circumstances he lived in which made what William did such an amazing thing.
The last quarter of this book picks up and becomes a book it’s difficult to put down. The way things come together, and the coincidences that happen (if you believe in coincidence) are spectacular. The way the scientific community comes together to help William, were really heart warming.
What he was able to do for his whole community, with just a little bit of help from outside sources was remarkable. It really got me thinking, how little it can take to change so much.
This book also got me thinking about education, and school, and imagination, and creativity. We had a really interesting conversation at our book club meeting.
The last question that was asked, was “What “lesson” did you take away from this book?”
My answer, if you have a dream, and believe in it, and are willing to do whatever it takes, you can make anything happen.
I think this would be an amazing book for a youth book club, there is a young reader’s edition of this book that would be perfectly suited for this. The regular version was marked for 6th grade and up. There is a lot of history, and geography, and a close look at the differences between cultures in this book. I’m hoping to get Hanna to read it as well.
All in all, this book was a good read, if a bit difficult to get into through the first half. If you’re looking to be inspired by someone with a dream, it’s definitely a good book to pick up.