The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.  HarperCollins, 2009.

This is the engrossing true story of a bright young boy in Malawi, idled because his family is too poor to pay the required fees to send him to school. He finds old textbooks at the village library that explain how to generate electricity, and with astonishing determination collects the necessary parts. At age 14, he completes a functioning windmill generator. His desire to bring electricity to his family and village persists despite much discouragement, lack of resources, and taunting by friends and relatives who think he’s crazy. If this weren’t enough, the country endures a terrible famine at that time (2002), due to government corruption as much as lack of rain. William’s account of the famine as someone who experienced it is more moving than any account by outsiders could ever be.
Finally his talent is recognized, and he is invited to give a TED talk when he can barely speak English. By the time the book was published in 2009, he was a student at Dartmouth.
This book is for anyone looking for an inspirational story of what can be achieved with persistence and dedication, even without support. It also shows the transformative power of a local public library. My book club loved it.

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