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Download The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope Audiobook, by William Kamkwamba Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00018264840183 out of 54.00018264840183 out of 54.00018264840183 out of 54.00018264840183 out of 54.00018264840183 out of 5 4.00 (5,475 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer Narrator: Korey Jackson, Chike Johnson Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2009 ISBN: 9780061992162
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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, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.

Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died. 
Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity—electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.
Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo—his "electric wind"—spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.
Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is an amazing, inspiring and heartwarming story! It’s about harnessing the power not just of the wind, but of imagination and ingenuity. Those are the most important forces we have for saving our planet. William Kamkwamba is a hero for our age.”

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author

  • “William Kamkwamba’s achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story.”

    Al Gore, former vice president and Nobel laureate

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring story of an indomitable will that refused to bend to doubt or circumstance. When the world seemed to be against him, William Kamkwamba set out to change it.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2009
  • A 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Book
  • Winner of the 2010 YALSA Alex Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the October 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 5/27/2015

    " My hats off to William Kamkwambe for his amazing accomplishments and awesome book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenifer | 2/13/2014

    " I love, love, loved this book! An inspiring true story taking place in the 1990s & millennial-decade -- I had no idea . . . Hardship, poverty, triumph, innovation and a drive to succeed. What a study in gratitude! Here I am during harvest and Thanksgiving season reading about famine and food shortages in Malawi Africa just 6-8 years ago. Reading about a young African boy with a dream to bring electricity to his home (in 2002!) and thereby eliminate the dangerous smoke from fire and lanterns generally used for light while I'm using an electric bulb that is so much a part of my life I mostly fail to notice. A boy who wants to improve life for his family by using wind-power to bring water for irrigation so they'll never suffer hunger from lack of rain and I live with an endless supply of clean water from a tap I barely think about. I open my pantry to a variety of food while they survive (when there is food) on maize. Mostly I love this book for the spirit of perseverance and determination of one boy to do something to better his life, who cherishes his education, maximizes his talents and loves his family. This book is about SO much more than building a windmill and its conversational style makes me feel like I've been visiting with an old friend. I enjoyed learning a little about the rich and diverse culture, politics and daily life in a world so very different from mine. I love, love, loved this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stuart Lutzenhiser | 2/8/2014

    " I cried at times, this was so moving. A boy in Malawi, who cannot afford school and whose family is starving to death from famine, teaches himself Physics to the point of allowing himself to build an electricity generating windmill. Over time this brings him attention which brings funding to lift him and his family from poverty and puts him on the road to be among the new generation of African entrepreneurs. Amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Hammeke | 2/2/2014

    " The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, an exciting book that takes you on the adventure of a poor villager, William Kamkwamba who later finds that he can make electricity from the air. With simple household items, he had created something no other 13 year old boy could make, a Windmill. Something that he wanted to make to give his family working lights and much more. Later in the book he is visited by famous newsreporters and later travels to the big TED conference where he explains how he did it and what happened. This was a truly amazing book and possibly my favorite right now, because it shows that if you put your mind to something no matter how big or how small, you can make it with simple items, and not only could you succeed or fail, it shows that you tried hard enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 1/27/2014

    " Great success story about a young boy who turned scientist in a rural community in eastern Africa. Very well written and inspirational. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lama Kabbani | 1/27/2014

    " Perfect to read while in Malawi! makes much more sense while I've been here..with the language, the culture, the habits and you can see how its so hard to achieve something like that in such a tough barren and poor environment! Heads up to the author was kept William's language and thoughts which some across as smart, innocent and compelling. A good and easy read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 1/21/2014

    " Inspirational!! 14-year-old Kamkwamba's description of life in Malawi, a famine-stricken, land-locked nation in southern Africa. A clear, simple narrative that strips life down to its barest essentials. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Hoag | 1/18/2014

    " What I appreciated more than anything were the views of everyday life in a Malawian village. His descriptions of a famine helped me to understand such a tragedy in a much deeper way. When his mother became very ill with malaria, and he and his dad transported her on a bicycle and in a bakkie, the description brought tears to my eyes. His later success in getting to school, and interacting on an international stage were a satisfying conclusion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mitzi | 1/7/2014

    " It is inspirational because so many outsiders helped and the boy persevered despite the odds. The more telling part of the story is the relentless corruption in the Malawi government. Now that is depressing! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tin Wee | 1/7/2014

    " An account of a teen's life in Malawi and the sufferings he goes through as his family and country undergoes famine and poverty. Yet, this does not stop him and he educates himself and builds a windmill from scrap, which generates electricity for his family, and becomes an inspiration for his fellows. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delena | 12/26/2013

    " After a slow start it finally gets to the meat of the story about half way through. It gives a vivid picture of life in Malawi and their struggles. I like stories of other cultures and countries so I didn't mind the beginning slowness. All in all an enjoyable book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charisa Flaherty | 12/20/2013

    " This is a very amazing story. William accomplished so much with just a bunch of "trash" and a book written in English, when he didn't even speak much English. Very impressive. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 12/16/2013

    " I love the drama a famine, malaria and true life struggle, but honestly had too much physics and science in it for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne Boardman | 12/6/2013

    " What a great story! To see the true innovation and perseverance of the human spirit was just amazing. And the fact that this young mind has continued contributing to the world is so gratifying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 11/30/2013

    " Hard to get through but glad I read it. An inspring story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chinazo | 11/19/2013

    " Fascinating story but the writing isn't so great "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Ackerman | 10/24/2013

    " An engaging true story, told simply, with wit and modesty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Hall | 1/21/2013

    " I found this young mans story fascinating and especially since it was current. To think of how differently people live in other parts of the world was very humbling to me. What an amazing man to have made a windmill with so little education and information available to him. Wow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 11/27/2012

    " Wow this is a really inspiring book, it really puts your first world problems into perspective! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rasmus Mencke | 11/15/2012

    " very inspiring story about a boy teaching himself how to build a windmill and make electricity "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellanden | 5/17/2012

    " There are some people who just find a will, find a way, find pvc piping or rubber soles to make things happen or, in this case, a windmill happen. Amazing story! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawn | 5/14/2012

    " A very inspiring story. Highly recommend this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 2/16/2012

    " What an inspiring story! I read the adult and children's versions. This should be in every children's library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Em | 1/13/2012

    " I absolutely loved this book and found myself watching the TED interview shortly after I finished it. So inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susi | 11/26/2011

    " A quick but powerful--and inspirational--read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 7/28/2011

    " It was an amazing story of a very smart determined young man. Interesting what some people have to go though to enjoy some of the simple things that we take for granted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 6/10/2011

    " Informative and enlightening book about an African too poor to go to school who built a windmill. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 5/9/2011

    " what an amazing life story, and only just beginning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Felicityn | 5/7/2011

    " A story of the triumph of Ingenuity and innovation fueled by the horrors of famine.Great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith | 5/3/2011

    " Great story and great book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 4/29/2011

    " This book is amazing! It shows the real culture of Malawi and how tradition often clashes with modern ideas. And how important self motivation is to improving oneself and therefore the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 4/27/2011

    " An inspiring story about many things, not the least of which is the lesson about doing the most with what you have right in front of you, despite great hardship. It was great to be able to actually see and hear the author at the 2007 TED conference which is referenced in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth (Liz) | 4/24/2011

    " Quick read. Hard to put down. Helped add some much needed perspective to my daily life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rasmus | 4/23/2011

    " very inspiring story about a boy teaching himself how to build a windmill and make electricity "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aki | 4/17/2011

    " The story of William Kamkwamba is inspirational, a boy in rural Malawi who teaches himself physics principles from dusty textbooks to build a power generating windmill in his village where people go to sleep when the sun sets. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rayell | 4/17/2011

    " Wow. I didn't love the technical stuff, but this guy is amazing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miranda | 4/16/2011

    " I really did not care for this book as much I thought I would. I thought it made a nice story but I didn't find any interest in it at my age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 4/15/2011

    " A wonderful story of hope and determination against all odds. William Kammwamba is an inspiration and the epitome of ingenuity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexandra | 4/12/2011

    " Loved, loved, loved this book.:) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nora | 4/12/2011

    " I enjoyed how current this story is. I recommend reading it now! A great and inspiring and heartbreaking story. He is amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Neil | 4/5/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. I thought it would be just about his inventions; in reality it's his whole biography so you have to get through his whole early life before you get to the amazing stuff. But a good read regardless. "

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About the Author
Author William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba was a 2007 TED Global Fellow and a finalist for the Tech Museum Award. He is a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He continues to be an inspiration to the people of his country.

About the Narrator

Korey Jackson is an actor, known for his roles in the films 37, Life Itself, and Anesthesia. He earned his MFA in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.