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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The inspiring autobiography of the Malawian boy who taught himself physics in order to bring a windmill to his village.

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If you thought physics was tough to grasp in high school, William Kamkwamba will seem like a hero to you. And really, he is. Forced to drop out of secondary school when his family couldn’t afford school fees, 14-year-old Kamkwamba used his free time to build a windmill that operated on principles of physics he managed to teach himself.

This windmill brought electricity to his home and eventually his entire village – a luxury that in Malawi is often reserved for the government and the wealthy.

To help Kamkwamba tell his story, journalist Bryan Mealer traveled back to Africa. He’d lived in the Congo for three years while working for the Associated Press. His first book, “All Things Must Fight To Live,” came out in 2008, and told the story of a country ravaged by war. This time Mealer started in Malawi. There, he spent months living with Kamkwamba’s family, interviewing friends and relatives. He spent hours learning about physics, magnets, and electricity so he could understand what Kamkwamba had created.

The result is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, an autobiography so moving that it is almost impossible to read without tears. In understated and simple prose, Kamkwamba and Mealer offer readers a tour through one Malawian boy’s inspiring life.


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