My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the story of a young adult, who out of necessity searches for a way to bring electricity to his family, in the small village of Malawi, Africa.
When young William Kamkwamba discovers a dynamo (dynamoelectric device) on a bicycle, powering a light with the force of the peddler – he wants to learn how to bring that energy home. Energy is everywhere. How can he harness it?
“No one seemed to have the answers, so I set out to find them on my own.”
William becomes fascinated with the dynamo, and his first stop is the Library. A small library that he and his friends must organize each time the use it. There’s no order. And translating the English takes time. William’s learning a lot of new terms and ideas, but his curiosity holds him to it while he tries to figure out what goes where and the Science behind it.
No one in his village stays up past sunset, once they’re covered in darkness. But what if . . . he could bring light to his home? Then he could study after dark, and make up for the lost years when his family couldn’t afford the payments for his secondary education.
When last year’s harvest never came, the starvation that wrecked his village wouldn’t have to happen again. If he could harness the energy to bring water out of a deep well and water the fields. This would give them a second harvest. And his village could use the spigot, instead of traveling miles for water.
“Someone had to save our women, our trees (used for firewood), and I thought, why not me.”
He learns many things about physics, and so does the reader, in a clearly defined and entertaining way. And even if you know he’s going to build that windmill – the suspense when he struggles and eventually pushes through – you want to cheer him on. Everyone thinks he’s a madman, even his family worries until they see it for themselves. Though the project doesn’t get completed on its own. William’s friends help in very important ways.
This book was published in 2009. I haven’t read that one, so I can’t cross-reference. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book for young readers, from the cultural escape to learning about William’s experience. His ingenuity and determination are a great inspiration for all young minds.
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