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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TLC Book Tour: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwama and Bryan Mealer

Source: Harper Perennial

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Stop by William's blog as well as the rest of the blog tour stops.
In a lifestyle where the amount of crop harvested accounted for everything, "The slightest problem in weather, fertilizer, or seed productivity could tip families off the edge into hunger" (79). That was the life of William Kamkwamba. Education has always been a luxury that many could not afford and because of the famine, William is one of many drop-outs. He later seeks out the library as a source to fill his crave of education--self-educating himself. This is where William first learns of windmills and is inspired to create one. It forever changed his life.
William is the boy who harnessed the wind and channeled it into electricity. He is the boy who intrigued several, captivated many, and inspired thousands. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an emotional impacting novel that gives the readers' a taste of the harsh African life. Before the "uplifting" part came, it is a depressing and harsh reality that many only know so little about.

Having taken a course that focused several months on child soldiers in African and corrupt governments, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind brought back that time for me. Along with the heart-wrenching famine that killed thousands, still creating a horror scene with precise diction in written form, I struggled to maintain a separation from my learnings and  the novel, but it was hard. In my mind, not only did I picture the arid land and skeleton framed beings struggling about, but splashes of red lined the picture. Blood, anger splotches at the corrupt government.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind commands attention and sucks the reader in, compelling a one-sitting read. It has a narration of a great storyteller: captivating the audience, installing a sense of fear, creating tension, an emotional link, and ending with a grand moral and an uplifting morale. Weaved throughout the novel, there are tidbits of Kamkwamba's childhood and culture. Below is a crude diagram of the novel: the main line is the general plot, sometimes going off tangent that takes time.

In a sense The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a memoir, just one that is written by someone else, of William Kamwamba's entire life, not just the windmill part.

One of the biggest highlights of the novel is the accompanying pictures. However I struggled a lot through the actual "windmill" building aspects. It just completely flew over my head. I also wished for a glossary at the book of the novel as a reference for many of the words.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was extraordinary. A novel that I would suggest others to at least reach the 100th page.


  1. I love the diagram - it definitely gives me an idea of the flow of the book!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm really looking forward to reading this myself.

  2. Very creative,I like it.