Read aloud #86:
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

This is true story we all should hear.
If you have the time,
please consider reading William Kamkwamba’s book.
If you prefer to hear him tell it himself,
you can find recordings of him on youtube.

My 9th grader was assigned to read this by his science teacher.
It came to my attention when he complained of the book making no sense.
Rather than leaving him to struggle through the reading alone,
I picked the book up and read it aloud to both my boys.

The first two chapters were indeed a challenge to read.
We had no context for the world, the lives and the superstitions being described.
I could see why a 14 year old American might rebel against the assignment.
But not on my watch.
We powered through those first two chapters.
I did my best discuss why the author started the book as he did and to try to build a connection between the life in Africa he was describing versus our own lives in America.
By chapter three,
we were immersed in William Kamkwamba’s tale.

It’s powerful, humbling and inspiring.
When I think of the hardships he lived through,
I am both shamed by our own excess and inspired by his perseverance.
I am especially touched by his words in the book’s epilogue:

“I hope this story finds its way to our brothers and sisters out there who are trying to elevate themselves and their communities, but who may feel discouraged by their poor situation.
I want them to know they’re not alone. 
By working together, we can help remove this burden of bad luck form their backs, just as I did, and use it to build a better future.”