Monday, December 21, 2009

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

Authors: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

First line: Before I discovered the miracles of science, magic ruled the world.

Why you should read this book: The proud descendant of innovators, storytellers, and hard workers, young Willian Kamkwamba is well-positioned to share his journey: disheartened by crippling famine in his country, Malawi, forced to drop out of school, and inspired by an illustration of a windmill in a science text, Kamkwamba sets about to build his own electric wind machine, so that he can read at night and pump well water, allowing his family to grow a second crop and never starve again. Called crazy by his village and even accused of witchcraft, he perseveres, making do with scraps from a junkyard and inventing his own tools, circuit breaker, and light switches from whatever he can find, until finally he theories are proved correct, his home is lighted at night, and, eventually, his work is noticed by those with power and money. A powerful, moving, and inspiring story that opens windows not only into the world of science and invention, but also into the reality of Kamkwamba's Africa.

Why you shouldn't read this book: In fact, this book should be required reading for anyone accustomed to walking into their home, touching the wall, and experiencing instant illumination.

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