The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope


When William Kamkwamba was 15, he picked up a textbook that would change the course of his life.  It was called Using Energy, and he found the unassuming book on the shelf of his town's small library.  During the famine that plagued his home country of Malawi in the early 2000s, Kamkwamba was forced to drop out of school because his parents could not afford the fees.  Determined to continue his education, he studied the library's textbooks and began constructing a windmill from scavenged scrap materials, hoping to provide running water and electricity for his family. 

His memoir, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, provides readers with a vivid glimpse into life in a rural Malawian town where science is first suspect and then celebrated.

"No more skipping breakfast; no more dropping out of school.  With a windmill, we'd finally release ourselves from the troubles of of darkness and hunger.  In Malawi, the wind was one of the few consistent things given to us by God, blowing in the treetops day and night.  A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom."

William Kamkwamba is a Malawian engineer and author.  As a teenager, he received international recognition for the windmill he constructed on his family's farm, and went on to present at TED Global 2007 and the 2011 Google Science Fair.  In 2014, he graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, U.S.

Published:  2009
Length:  270 pages
Set in:  Wimbe, Malawi