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Top Books: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

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For those looking for inspiration, passion and hope – THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WINDdelivers.

This book has been out for a while but it’s worth talking again about it now.

It’s the story of a young boy from the African country of Malawi who overcomes all odds to realize a dream that forever changes his life and those who live in his tiny village.

William Kamkwamba comes from a family of farmers. When a series of droughts dry up all the fields, the country is thrown into the worst famine to hit in 50 years.

Kamkwamba writes of the heartache — of witnessing how some people were forced to sell their own children for food and of how babies were trampled when meager rations were delivered. There are times when it’s almost impossible not to cry when reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind — his emotions are raw, the poverty is unimaginable.

"I gripped the reed and wires and waited for the miracle. Finally it came, at first a tiny light that flickered from my palm, then a surging magnificent glow." -The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, William Kamkwamba

But there is always hope.

William is an industrious youth with a great imagination. As a young child he would take things apart and rebuild them. When forced to drop out of school at the age of 14 because there's no money for food, much less for tuition — Kamkwamba does not give up on getting an education.

The teen heads to the local library where he can borrow books and his world is forever changed when he discovers a book called USING ENERGY that describes how windmills can generate electricity. It's almost as if the lightbulb goes off in William.

He decides he wants to build a windmill to bring power to his home and village and to use that power to pump water for crops. “A windmill meant more than just power,” William writes, “it was freedom.”

The book begins with the victory ....

"I gripped the reed and wires and waited for the miracle. Finally it came, at first a tiny light that flickered from my palm, then a surging magnificent glow. The crowd gasped and shuddered. The children pushed for a better look.

“It’s true!” someone said.

“Yes,” said another. “The boy has done it.”

... but it is Kamkwamba’s journey to that sweet victory that is truly wonderful, engaging and awe-inspiring. It’s a great tale of youthful innocence and of determination…after reading this, it’s hard to believe any of your own goals cannot be met.

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