Big Change Can Start Small

Whatever you want to do, if you do it with your whole heart, it will happen.

You probably thought we call our book club "guilt-free" because there's no pressure for you to read the book if it's one you aren't interested in and you're partly right. Well...mostly right. At least that was the initial reason. Turns out it also means we're under no obligation to discuss the book in a timely manner! Tray and I are good at escape clauses. Without further ado, or excuses, let's discuss February's book club selection: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

There is so much to love about this book. First, you know I love me some Wright Brothers and wish the world had more of them. Now more than ever. I mean, really. Well I found one: William Kamkwamba. William and his windmill give me hopeā€”and as of late, that is no small task. To see what he has overcome and how he's done it is nothing short of awe-inspiring. You know he had me at "the pictures in a library book gave me the idea...."

Like my beloved Wright boys, so much of what William accomplished was self-taught, and against even greater odds. His family too poor to send him to school, he found a small library and began reading every book and textbook he could get his hands on. Soon the library and scrapyard became his training ground, where he was swept up in the miracles of science, changing his life forever. Despite relentless mockery from those around him, including some in his own family, he forged ahead with his experiments. His resilience paid off in ways he hardly dare dream of: ending darkness and hunger for his family and others. And he's really just getting started. Something tells me we're going to be hearing a lot more about and from William Kamkwamba.

One of our readers is a middle school teacher and said this is required reading in her class. Lucky kids. She had them read the book and then create an invention of their own. Clearly, we need more teachers like her!

Here are a couple comments we've received from other readers:

Ali: I really enjoyed it. At times, it got way too technical for me and I learned not only was it ok to skim through those portions, but it made the book much more enjoyable. Normally, skimming through portions of a book would be taboo and if I did do it (the horror), I would feel terribly guilty. What champs these boys are. I would have died of Cholera for sure but they soldiered on and tried to change the face of their country. Bravo.

(I'll admit I skimmed over some of those sections as well, Ali. Clearly, no one should be expecting any inventions from me any time soon.)

Cami: I love, love, love this book! By boys are now 4 1/5 hours into it (listening) and they are loving it too. Although, I have to admit my motives to have them read this book are purely selfish. I'm hoping they see just how much they have been given and what their capabilities could be. I am also hoping it changes their outlook on school and how learning opens up a whole new world. We will be having lots of discussions about this book!

(You've inspired me to have Ben read this book as well, Cami! And my girls. For those reasons and to have them understand more about African culture. I found that fascinating as well. FYI for those with younger kids: there is also a young readers edition.)

We'd love to hear from more of you! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted by Rachel