The Common Reading Committee is pleased to announce The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer as our selection for 2014-15. The book is a compelling narrative that connects with themes of global engagement, innovation, personal initiative, experimentation, diversity (Africa), sustainable development, alternative energy, food systems, and the power of TED. Most striking is the thought process that allowed William to create devices from junk – a thoughtful, relentless process of experimentation and creativity.
Here is the description from the book's cover:
"William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him."