Friday, September 25, 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: An Inspiring True Story of the Boy Who Brought Wind Energy to his African Village

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkawamba and Bryan Mealer is the inspirational true story of a young Malawian boy who builds a windmill in order to bring electricity to his village. In response to a famine in 2002 that left his village impoverished, 14-year-oid William began thinking about electricity, a luxury that only two percent of Malawians can afford. He read a book about windmills and decided to build his own using scrap metal, tractor parts, and blue-gum trees.

In the tradition of Three Cups of Tea and Mountains Beyond Mountains, William’s story is remarkable by its own merit, his sheer determination astounding when considered in a global context.

Written from William’s perspective in a clear, fluid tone, students will find The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind engaging and accessible. As a contemporary of the author (I am only a year older than William) I found it remarkable how much his experience growing up differed from my own. Yet while the author’s account of growing up in Malawi offers a first-hand look at some of the unique challenges facing Africa, William’s message of hope and humanity is universally resonant.

“William Kamkwamba’s achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story.”—Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate

“What William did took nothing more than initiative and a little learning, yet he changed his village and his life. . . . I love how much we can learn from those who often have no other choice.”— Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

For a limited time we’re offering a free e-book version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to educators. Please email me before October 10 if you are interested in obtaining a copy.

If you would like to consider The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you have already decided to assign the book as required reading, please request a desk copy.

To learn more about this book, click on the link to view the video below:


  1. This is just a fantastic story and shows what drive and determination can achieve. William is an inspiration to us all.

    For a number of years I have worked with an NGO which uses simple technology to help people out of poverty.

    We have seen women start their own hairdressing salons once small micro hydro schemes have been installed,allowing them to start their own businesses and keeping wealth within their village, Maasai women's group deciding to lobby their local authorities on isssues. But even better - people and communities sharing their knowledge and enjoying a better quality of life. It just goes to show that 'small is beautiful'