Friday, September 20, 2013

PPBF: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

TitleThe Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
Author/Illustrator: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer/ Elizabeth Zunon
Publisher/Date: Dial Books for Young Readers/2012
Genre/Audience: Nonfiction/Ages 6-8
Themes: Africa, invention/engineering, perseverance

Opening: "In a small village in Malawi, where people had no money for lights, nightfall came quickly and hurried poor farmers to bed. But for William, the darkness was best for dreaming."

Synopsis: (from

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library... and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind. 

Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.

Why I Love This Book

This book reveals the strength of the human spirit to make positive change in our world. With curiosity, personal drive, and a dream to help his village, William Kamkwamba overcame the obstacles of famine, poverty, and the inaccessibility of formal education. This inspirational story speaks volumes to kids and adults, alike, as we all seek to realize our dreams and, as Mahatma Gandhi said, "be the change (we) wish to see in the world."

This picture book is a companion to the 2009 bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, written for adults by the same team.

Do you live in Northern Virginia? The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is this fall's Loudoun County Public Library 1book 1 community selection and William Kamkwamba will be coming to speak in October!

William Kamkwamba's 2009 TED talk "How I Harnessed the Wind"

10 Inventions That Changed the World

Make a Pinwheel template

Craving more Perfect Picture Books? Author Susanna Leonard Hill compiles weekly book reviews from bloggers at Visit Fridays or click the Perfect Picture Books tab at her website for a subject listing.


  1. Another good book which shows that perseverance and hard work can break all barriers to success! Thanks for posting, Laura. . .

  2. Look forward to reading this!

  3. I've heard about this book. I'm glad it lives up to it's reputation. And what a great choice for a 1 Book selection!

  4. I remember reading about this on Pat Tilton's blog and you have reminded me to put it on my list!

  5. This is such a great book! So is the "grown up" version. :)

  6. This is a beautiful book worth repeating. It shows what our young people are doing to solve problems in their own villages and towns. I loved this book!

  7. LOVE this book and all it has to offer! So much in the way of inspiration! What a wonderful model for kids to emulate. Thanks so much for adding this one to our list, Laura!

  8. I love to hear about creative young minds. This looks great!