Take Action Tuesday: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

One of the things I love about books is the worlds they can introduce you to. I am someone who swan dives fully into a book, swimming through its pages, coming up for air only when I necessary. I am fortunate that my son is the same way and I have to say that it is an even more fulfilling experience to share these kinds of stories with him.


Since my kids were babies my husband and I have read to them at bedtime. Each of the three kids has a book that we’re working on with them and we swap off each night. (So, yes, each kids has two books to keep track of and my husband and I each have three as well as whatever we are reading ourselves. It’s tricky sometimes, but I hope they never get tired of being read to. My oldest is in middle school and he is still fully on board!*)

This fall my 6th grader and I chose this young readers edition of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

There are so many things I loved about this book. William’s voice is so pure and strong in this. I felt as if he were sitting beside us, sharing his story. Within minutes of starting the book, my son had his globe next to us so he could find Malawi and think about where the story was taking place. As a kid growing up in the suburbs, Kamkwamba’s Malawi and the terrible famines were eye opening for my son and I am glad for it. As much as we talk about the realities of the world with our kids and try to help them see beyond their neighborhoods/circles, hearing William’s own words of death and suffering were even more impactful.

The focus of the story is William’s efforts to save his family and his community, to protect them from future famine, by constructing a windmill that would provide power. His passion for science came through the page and inspired my son to think even more about the power of engineering and science.

This is a phenomenal book for young readers (and adults) to encourage an interest in science; awareness of the challenges people face in securing food, safe housing and education; and an enthusiasm for making the world better for others.

As a result of reading this book, my son has decided to “take action” by contributing some money he earned to the Moving Windmills Project. As a passionate reader he wants to help bring books to communities in need in Wimbe, Malawi and other African villages.


If you’re on Twitter, please head on over and follow @KatMuniWrites.

*Curious about what everyone is reading? The 6th grader’s family books are “I, Robot” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” The 4th grader is reading “The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell” and Alex Morgan’s book “Breakaway.” The kindergartner is reading “Friendship According to Humphrey” and “The Secret Garden.”


Published by Katrina Ávila Munichiello

KAM is a freelance writer, editor, and lifelong lover of books. She was the kind of kid who woke up before sunrise to read before school and her passion for books has never waned. After nearly a decade of work in public health and the non-profit sector, she became a stay-at home mom. The twelve years since have allowed her discover a new life’s ambition — writing. She published her first book “A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time,” a collection of essays written by tea lovers around the world, in 2011, and has had articles and essays featured in outlets including Yankee Magazine and Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. She served as Senior Editor of Tea Magazine. She currently writes picture books and middle grade books and is loving every minute of making them better. She is a member of NESCBWI, Vice President of Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library and advisor of an elementary school Newspaper Club.

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