The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-05-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 121 user ratings

"Twin Text:
What Do You Do With an Idea?
Yamada, K. (2014). What do you do with an idea? Seattle, WA: Compendium, Inc.

I chose my fiction book as my twin text, because it talks about what do you with an idea. William Kamkwamba took an idea that he had, and made it a reality. When thinking about these two text together, I think I would put them in our engineering unit. The engineering unit talks about taking an idea and rethinking and redoing what you are making to make it better. These two books would fit great in that unit, and the nonfiction book would show that someone has taken an idea and made it better not just for himself, but for his village.

Text structure and text features:
Pictures of a windmill
Problem and solution- Text Structure

Strategy application:
I would use DR-TA for my strategy on this book. Since this is a chapter book for young readers, I thought DR- TA would work. Kids will have to think and predict about the reading selection and how William might harvest the wind or will he succeed. You can also talk before chapters about what the students might think the chapter will be about. In the end, ask students if their predictions are right.

Camp, D. (2010, February). It takes two: Teaching with twin texts of fact and fiction. The Reading Teacher, 53(5), 400-408.

Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2006). Teaching for comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking, and writing about reading, K-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing.

" said.

" My son and I both enjoyed this one very much; very inspiring! " said.

" INSPIRATIONAL! This book has many themes that run the gamut from overcoming adversity to the power of persistence. I am going to get the picture book of this same book for our library too. This will be my first read aloud next year for my fourth graders as they study Africa and energy. " said.

" This is an inspiring story. This edition is a young readers edition and it has simple language. My main complaint is its length, while the story is inspiring 300 pages is too lengthy for the average middle grade reader to hang on for a nonfiction book. If it were 200 pages I could get more readers on board. " said.

"He is an amazing person! He persevered through famine, drought and poverty. His neighbors called him crazy. He knew what he wanted and he followed his dreams.
He offers excellent advise to kids everywhere on page 290. "...your ambitions are just as important and worth achieving, however big or small..... Think of your dreams and ideas as tiny miracle machines inside you that no one can touch. The more faith you put into them the bigger they get, until one day they'll rise up and take you with them."
I recommend this book for all kids in 4th grade and up. (Parents and teachers can read this memoir to younger children.) Older readers can read the New York Times best seller, "The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope".
" said.

"William Kamkwamba’s memoir explores man’s relationship with technology and how it has become such a large part of everyday lives. This is an excellent text to use when collaborating with other disciplines, such as science, because much of the content is William explaining how he learned about electricity and how he used that knowledge to build the windmill that gave power to his family and village. It is also provides the opportunity for students to learn about making connections (text-to-self, text-to-world, etc.) as William’s experience may be very different than their own and doing so will cause them to think critically about the text. For a writing activity, students would employ Kelly Gallagher’s “How Does ________ Work?” in order to activate their inquisitiveness. They would make a list of things that are essential to their everyday lives and complete research and a write-up on how one of the items on their list works. " said.

"THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer tells the inspiring story of a young African boy who turned junkyard scraps into a working windmill to generate electricity for his family’s impoverished farm in Malawi.

This Young Readers Edition of Kamkwamba’s well-known adult memoir published in 2009 is likely to spark the scientific interests and imagination of middle-grade students. Readers are gradually drawn into William’s life in his small, rural African village. American children will be amazed at the lack of education and technology available to young William. They will also be moved by his determination and initiative.

While most middle-grade readers aren’t likely to pick up this book on their own, this compelling memoir would be a wonderful opportunity for librarians to collaborate with classroom teachers. Consider using this book as an interdisciplinary, whole-grade reading experience connecting language arts, social studies, and science curriculum.

Readers will enjoy watching the author’s 2009 TED talk at

Be sure to explore the Moving Windmills project at

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group. ARC provided by publisher.
" said.

"This is a very powerful story about not only about science, but also famine, family, and friendship. By the time you finish this book, you will want to do at least two things:

(1) visit Malawi (country located in southeastern Africa) and
(2) and do something productive with the weather (not just complain about it).

William Kamkwamba grew up in a rural town (Wimbe) without electricity with many sisters, parents, and extended family and some good friends, namely Gilbert. He also had a dog named Khamba whom he lost to the famine of 2002. Basically, William wondered how something worked and his curiosity (and perseverance) developed into a mad (his own word) passion for science. He is now a Dartmouth graduate and guest speaks about technology, entertainment, and design (TED).

This is Sam's book. He got it for his 9th birthday on December 9. He read it a few days later. I read it after he finished it and then when he was around, I'd read sections out loud to him and quiz him along the way.

This is a beautiful book for boys, no doubt, but I'd also like to say it is a wonderful book for their mommies, at least it was for me. The reason is because it is written by two men, one African and one American and their writing helped me understand how my own sons' minds think, observe, and dream.

I think what makes this book so special is that it teaches geography, history, loyalty as well as science. I also think anyone interested in electrical engineering will appreciate this book because it quite beautifully explains the connection process with lovely imagery.

The Mom Who Tilted At Windmills

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July 2018 New Book:

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