The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Version) by William Kamkwamba is a true story of William’s persistence to overcome challenges in Malawi. When a drought hits his village, William uses his curiosity and resourcefulness to build a windmill and bring electricity to his community.
This incredible memoir is an excellent book to read and discuss with your middle school students. Plus, it is one of many teen books made into a movie so you can watch the movie after reading.
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
(Young Readers Version)
Length: 304 pages
First Published: 2016
Publisher’s Description: Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers)
“When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell.
William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill.
Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.”
My Goodreads Review
The young reader’s version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was a fantastic choice for my middle school book club. The story begins in William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi where the community is suffering from a horrible famine.
William is determined to find a way to break the cycle by bringing electricity to his village. By using the textbooks available in his village library and spare parts at the junkyard, William accomplishes his dream and brings “electric wind” to his village.
This uplifting and exciting memoir shows how one person can influence positive change for those around them. I particularly enjoyed following William with each step of his journey and learning how things worked alongside him.
There were quite a few scientific explanations along the way which could be confusing or fascinating depending on your interests. The book would work very well as a literature addition to a physical science class studying electricity.
NOTE: Parents should know that the description of the famine and its impact on the village is very difficult to read. In addition, William leaves his dog to starve in the woods to end his suffering. The dog dies and the situation could be difficult for younger or more sensitive readers.
My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study
1. Describe life in William’s village at the start of the story. Consider the houses, education, and everyday life.
2. The first half of the book is about William’s life in his village. Why do you think the book spends so much time on this? How does it impact your reaction to his accomplishments?
3. What lessons can middle school readers learn from William’s story?
Homeschooling With Books: Discussion Questions To Help You Get Started
Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate a great discussion about any book with your kids:
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