Now a Netflix Film, Starring and Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave
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.
American readers will have their imaginations challenged by 14-year-old Kamkwamba's description of life in Malawi, a famine-stricken, land-locked nation in southern Africa: math is taught in school with the aid of bottle tops ("three Coca-Cola plus ten Carlsberg equal thirteen"), people are slaughtered by enemy warriors "disguised... as green grass" and a ferocious black rhino; and everyday trading is "replaced by the business of survival" after famine hits the country. After starving for five months on his family's small farm, the corn harvest slowly brings Kamkwamba back to life. Witnessing his family's struggle, Kamkwamba's supercharged curiosity leads him to pursue the improbable dream of using "electric wind"(they have no word for windmills) to harness energy for the farm. Kamkwamba's efforts were of course derided; salvaging a motley collection of materials, from his father's broken bike to his mother's clothes line, he was often greeted to the tune of "Ah, look, the madman has come with his garbage." This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I had to read this book for school but I immediately fell in love with the writing style and description of Malawian culture. Kamkwamba used what he had—curiosity, determination, and a scrapyard; to create what he didn’t—electricity. I’m not a sciency person, but Kamkwamba’s descriptions were interesting and there was so much more to the story than his experiments. If nothing else, I walked away from the book incredibly inspired. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
Amazing story about a boy never giving up.
First time I ever read anything in detail about Malawi. This boy's story of his hardship & disappointments growing up & him developing a plan by continued research, using the resources available is amazing. I recommend this book for all young people. Never give up!
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
I love true stories of people overcoming hard situations. I would love all my grandchildren to read this and then imagine.