The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-14 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 172 user ratings

"A delightful little picture book to tell the true story of Kamkwamba to a primary audience. We are adding it to a STEM kit that the Makerspace is using with students, each kit having a literacy componant--a picture book launch. Issues addressed: poverty, tinkering, libraries and learning, designing, engineering, resourcefulness, innovation, problem-solving. One thing that would make it better is if it included failure in the process. Appendix gives the factual version of the story. A great launch! " said.

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a story of a young man named William Kambwamba. William Kambwamba, at age 14, figured out a way to bring electricity to his village. The author takes you through his true story.

This book was truly inspiring. I loved how the author played with the words on the page as well as the language he used within his text it allowed for a very amazing read!I enjoyed that this story captured the message that heroes can be any age.

"He dreamed of building things and taking them apart, like the trucks with bottle-cap wheels parked under his bed and pieces of radios that he'd crack open and wonder, If I can hear the music, then where it he band?"

Book Connections: The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heligiman, Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson

This book can be used as a mentor text to help students become familiar with the different ways in which a biographies can be told.
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"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a memoir written by William Kamkwamba. The story is about Kamkwamba’s experience growing up in Malawi, Africa. In this tiny village, there was no electricity and all of the families would rely on the weather to grow food to eat from their fields. There ended up being a terrible drought in 2001 and 2002, which destroyed all of the crops that they depended on as a food source. As a result, the Malawi people began to starve and were lucky if they were able to eat one meal per day. As a result, William’s family did not have enough money for him to continue going to school. William ended up going to a library where he would educate himself and became intrigued by a picture of windmill that he saw in a science book. He used English dictionaries to help him understand how a windmill works and learned that, “Windmills can produce electricity and pump water.” Soon thereafter, William began to set out on his journey to create a windmill out of recycled materials and bring electricity and running water to his town to help save his family. This memoir is beautifully written and includes fantastic illustrations that outlines the process William went through to help his family and the other people in his village. There is a fascinating author’s note about William Kamkwamba’s journey in the back of the book, which allows readers to learn more about the him and his inspiring story. I recommend this book for a variety of purposes in the upper elementary classroom, as it can be used across the curriculum. " said.

"The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is a true story about a boy, William, who persevered through hard times. Besides being a well written and wonderful illustrated children’s book, this story also allows for the reader to gain a new perspective. We as readers are transported into the life of young man who lives in a small village in Malawi. We quickly discover through the descriptive text, that this is a place where farmers did not have a lot of money. The drawings in the book allows us to visualize what it was actually like to go up in this poor small farming village. Because darkest fell quickly over our main characters home, he was able to dream, and dream he did. He had a curios mind that allowed him to wonder and question the world he lived in. William spent his days working in the hot maze fields; that is until the ruthless sun turned them all to dust, and without maze fields there was no food and there was no money. William finds out the he will have to stop attending school to help aid his family. William quickly found himself in very dire times. He remembered in those trying moments how the Americans had donated a library nearby, and he got to work finding answers to all the questions he had about the world he lived in. Where does music come from? How do trucks move? He even saw something that looked like it could catch magic. This of course he later learned was a windmill that could provide the kind of water and energy his family desperately needed. Learning about this magical machine was all the motivation William needed, he was off to find away to bring tall, green, and healthy maze back into his families lives along with his entire village.

This is a wonderfully inspiring story, which is well laid out in a way that is very easy to follow. It is important for children who do not grow up in these same circumstances to be able to broaden their horizons by reading about them. Through books we are able to explore all kinds of different cultures and that is exactly what happens when reading Williams story. Williams was really a young man that was faced with hardships many of us wouldn’t dream of. At the end of the book, the author has provided more information about William and his life. This nonfictional children’s book is a lot of things, but at the very top of the list it is inspirational.
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" What a great story,a very inspiring young man. Don't forget to read the afterward as well! " said.

" Fascinating tale of a young man who helped his family using the power of the wind. " said.

"William’s story takes place in Malawi at a time of drought and famine. He comes up with an idea that could help his village but his neighbors think he is crazy. Will his plan work? Will he give up? This is a truly inspirational story of how one boy’s desire for an education led him to take action in order to help his family and his village

This non-fiction book wonderfully tells the real life story of how William Kamkwamba helped bring water and electricity to his village by erecting a windmill. The illustrations are colorful, textured, and enhance William’s story. The reader learns about people and cultures as well as the power of determination and hard work. This is a feel-good story and will leave the reader inspired.
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"This picture book version of the nonfiction book manages to translate the story of William Kamkwamba with clarity and inspiration. When a drought hit his village in Malawi in 2001 and 2002, 14-year-old William and his family were in real danger of starving. William had always through about machines and even after he was forced to leave school due to the drought, he kept reading books about them. He thought about what could be done with a windmill in his village, bringing light and water. So he hunted through the junk yard and found pieces to use. Built entirely out of scraps, his first windmill and its electric wind brought electricity to the valley. The afterword gives more details about William’s story and how it took him longer years to bring his dream of pumping water to fruition. This inspirational story speaks to the inventor, the doer, and the dreamer in all of us.

Read the rest of my review on my blog, Waking Brain Cells.
" said.

June 2018 New Book:

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