The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Hardcover)

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October 2009 Indie Next List

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is wonderful on so many levels -- an introduction to village life in Malawi, a funny and inspiring memoir and, above all, a shining example of the capacity of books to change lives. I can't stop thinking and talking about it.”
— Mary Gleysteen, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA

November 2010 Indie Next List

“This is the heartwarming story of how one 14-year-old Malawian boy, unable to attend school, educated himself about electricity and learned how to make windmills. His accomplishment ended the cycle of drought and starvation-level poverty experienced by his family and the people in his rural village. I learned so much about the country of Malawi and a culture I knew little about. Great for book groups!”
— Linda, Beagle Books, Park Rapids, MN


When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.

About the Author

William Kamkwamba ( was born in 1987 and grew up near the village of Wimbe in central Malawi. A recent graduate of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, he is a TED Fellow and IDEO Fellow, and has been a speaker at conferences and universities throughout the United States and the world. His work is supported by the Moving Windmills Project, a nonprofit group that funds Malawian-run rural economic development and education projects (

Bryan Mealer ( is the author of Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football s Forgotten Town and All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo, and has worked as a journalist for the Associated Press and Harper s. He is also the coauthor, with William Kamkwamba, of the original edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is a New York Times bestseller and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

Praise For…

"[An] inspiring story of curiosity and ingenuity."
-Publishers Weekly

"This book will appeal to adults eager to impart an uplifting Third World human-interest story, but it is also sure to resonate with children who will simply love the curiosity, resilience and resourcefulness of this doughty African youth."
-Wall Street Journal

"A powerful, gorgeously illustrated children's picture book."
-The Boston Globe

"This is a dynamic portrait of a young person whose connection to the land, concern for his community, and drive to solve problems offer an inspiring model."
-School Library Journal

"Zunon illustrates handsomely, with contrasting cut-paper-collage details and broad, sere landscapes painted in visibly textured oils."

"This picture book in accessible free verse will draw kids who love to construct their own engineering gadgets."

Product Details
ISBN: 9780803735118
ISBN-10: 0803735111
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: January 19th, 2012
Pages: 32
Language: English