By reading a nonfiction work that reads like an adventure tale, CLSC young readers are learning about a boy who harnessed the wind.
At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 14 at the Jessica Trapasso Pavilion at Children’s School, young readers will gather for a program centered around the New York Times best-seller The Boy who Harnessed the Wind. The young readers adaptation, written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, is a testament to the power of education and the pursuit of a passion. The text was selected for Week Eight, “Shifting Global Power.”
Following the story of Kamkwamba in his native country of Malawi, the book is an engaging narrative of Kamkwamba’s ability to persevere and follow his dreams to help his community.
After reading a book called Using Energy, Kamkwamba fell in love with the idea of windmills and their ability to create energy using the power of nature. Though other villagers mocked his ideas, Kamkwamba continued to push for his dream, ending up at one of the top boarding schools in Malawi. But not long after, a large famine claimed the lives of many and left Kamkwamba’s family unable to pay his tuition.
Going through a pile of old science textbooks, Kamkwamba engaged his idea of a windmill to produce something that only a small portion of his country could afford and that the West considered a necessity — electricity and running water. Using different pieces of scrap metal, tractor and bicycle parts, Kamkwamba was able to forge a small windmill, complete with a circuit breaker and switches that made enough electricity to power four lights. Soon after, he was able to create a second windmill to help pump water to fight the incredible droughts.
Kamkwamba’s story inspired millions throughout the world and is now being adapted as a film for Netflix.
This week for CLSC Young Readers, Manager of Community Education Karen Schiavone has worked with Stephine Hunt, CLSC Octagon manager, for an interesting take on the text. Hunt will be working with the young readers to break down the text, as well as facilitate some science-based activities.
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring story of innovation, hope, family and individual perseverance, and the power of knowledge and books,” Hunt said. “William Kamkwamba’s story is both educational and magical, and we hope to explore both facets of this narrative in our conversation on Wednesday at the Young Readers event.”
Schiavone said she is excited to get to work on the program as the book is intriguing and engaging. The program, Schiavone said, will offer young readers the chance to “experiment with creating their own power” in a STEAM activity. Using the hands-on aspect of the STEAM experiments, Schiavone and Hunt hope to encourage young readers to explore the more scientific side of the story, and explore the work Kamkwamba used to bring power to his village.
As the 2019 season comes to a close, CLSC Young Readers continue to push boundaries and figure out just how far a book can carry them.