Although his culture placed great importance on magic, William Kamkwamba always knew the importance of science and education. He was determined to succeed in primary school and make it to one of the top secondary schools in Malawi. But drought and famine destroyed his dreams, plunging his farming family into poverty and forcing him to drop out of school. Once the famine subsided and survival was no longer the only thought in his mind, William decided to educate himself. At his village’s library, he stumbled upon the text book Explaining Physics and began to experiment with the concepts and technology described in the book. His house filled up with the trash he collected from the junkyard for his experiments. People in the village began to mock him, thinking him mad. But when he created a windmill that produced electricity for his home (and eventually a reliable water pump to stave off famine) he became a hero to his village and to scientists around the world.
In this autobiography, Kamkwamba tells the story of his childhood and his eventual success as an inventor and scientist. The story is a blend of cultural history and detailed scientific narrative, all told with Kamkwamba’s great sense of humor. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is truly inspirational and will be particularly engaging for readers with an interest in both world cultures and science.