The boy who harnessed the wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (2012)

[Published by The Penguin Group]


A couple of month’s ago I shared the wonderful non-fiction picture book Emmanuel’s Dream from Ghana. I’ve found another inspirational real-life story, this time from Malawi.

William, living in a small poor village was fascinated by radios and trucks, and dreamed of building things and taking them apart.

Drought created huge poverty and suffering in his world, and it struck William personally as he had to drop out of school. Instead he spent hours in the local library poring over science books, paired with an English dictionary. He learnt how engines worked, about radio waves, and finally discovered windmills, “Windmills can produce electricity and pump water.”

I love libraries and I love William! The junkyard offered all sorts of treasures for William as he began construction of his very own windmill. The people of his village thought he was mad, “only crazy people play with trash!” But as you can see, William’s windmill is a thing of great beauty as are the IMG_1543illustrations in this magical book.

After much hard work, electricity was produced, bringing with it all sorts of possibilities for his country. Woohoo, go William! There is so much potential for sharing this story in the classroom, as part of science, or technology, or simply to inspire your students to accomplish great things.

Check out The boy who harnessed the wind at Auckland Libraries (there is also a non-fiction version of the story if you would like to know more).

Or buy The boy who harnessed the wind from Fishpond.


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