Carly began her blog, Africa to America, when she started the process to adopt her little boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo. While she continues to write about adoption, she also uses her background and degree in music and her experiences as a mom to share activities and encouragements on many different topics. You’ll find a variety of resources about music education, multiculturalism and adoption on her blog, Africa to America.
About the Book
Title: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind | Authors: William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer | Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon | Publication Date: 2012 | Publisher: Scholastic | Pages: 28 | Recommended Ages: 4+ | Reviewed by: Carly and Yaya (Mother & Daughter)
Summary: 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.
1. What is the story about? A little boy who harnessed the wind.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book (if applicable)? They were beautiful.
3. Who is/are the main character(s)? Can you relate to them? Do you like them? How are they like you or not? William. I liked him a lot because he looks like my little brother and he builds a windmill to help his friends get electricity and food.
4. What is your favorite part of the story? When he cuts down the trees to build the windmill.
5. What is your least favorite part of the story? When the people said he was crazy.
6. How did the story make you feel? It made me feel good because the people had light and the food started to grow again.
7. What lessons did you learn from this story? That windmills make electricity and help plants grow. That it is good to help people.
8. Who do you think would like this book? All of my friends.
Daughter's Rating: ★★★★★
What It’s About? This is the true story of William Kamkwamba, who grew up on a farm in Malawi. Always interested in how things work, William began to read science books when the drought came and the maize couldn’t grow. In one of his books, he learns that windmills can produce electricity and pump water. He set out to build his own windmill, despite the mocking of the people, using collected trash. The story ends with him completing the windmill and successfully lighting a bulb. There is a more in-depth biography of William found at the end of the book.
My Thoughts: We try to include a lot of non-fiction in our reading, and this story of William Kamkwamba is a beautiful one that will likely be in our regular reading repertoire. The pictures in it are simple and captivating for kids. Reading this story brought about interesting dialogue between my daughter and me, as we discussed what it would be like if there were no lights in our city and how hungry we would be if there was no rain to help the farmers grow their produce. I also appreciated that it showed how William’s idea to build a windmill was born from his imagination and love of books.
Grown-up’s Bottom Line: I really loved this book and think the story is an excellent one for teaching lessons of empathy, compassion and determination. I had not heard of William Kamkwamba prior to reading it — so I learned something new, too! There were some larger vocabulary words that were easily defined for my preschooler, and she was able to read a good portion of the book herself. Because it is an interesting and important story, even older children will benefit from reading it.
Mom's Rating: ★★★★★
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