A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Extensive information about engineering, physics, agriculture, and history, and lots of emotional depth.
Work hard with what you have, never give up on your dreams or your education, and be curious.
Positive Role Models
William's parents supported his education even when he couldn't be at school, and nurtured his curiosity and drive.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring true story and perfectly paced biography of a teen's journey to build a windmill to power his home in famine-stricken Malawi. William Kamkwamba's education could've ended when he had to drop out of school during a drought. Instead, his is a riveting story of how fierce determination, a thirst for knowledge, and a little luck can change a life and an entire village. That William came up with the idea of a power-generating windmill without seeing one before is a remarkable contrast to readers' world, where internet searches can bring up endless blueprints, and building it entirely from junkyard scraps offers a different perspective on innovation and opportunity. There's a lot of scientific information here that's relatively easy to understand, along with history, economics, a huge dose of inspiration, and a lot of moments that are great starting points for discussions about equity and obstacles.
Is It Any Good?
Author William Kamkwamba weaves together the details of his childhood with the adventure of creating a life-changing invention in this inspiring page-turner set in famine-ravaged Malawi. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable story that teaches readers about the science behind windmills as a power source as well as the daily difficulties of life in his village, and does so in a way that inspires readers to keep working on their own goals. His perspective is one of grit and optimism, and the obstacles he faces just to eat, go to school, and make a better life for his family are a world away from most readers, but Kamkwamba makes them relatable. This young reader's edition will stretch the vocabulary of anyone not familiar with physics and engineering, but offers plenty of context and repetition so readers can follow along and learn.
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