All Alexandria Reads 

All Alexandria Reads 2012 is featuring The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. The Library selected this memoir with the hope that William’s story will inspire others to change their lives and improve their communities.


Our Challenge

In support of the Alexandria’s Library’s 75th anniversary as a public library, we are challenging our community!  We are seeking 7500 people who will commit to reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind over the next 75 days.  Please email us at: to express your commitment to reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind or to provide feedback about our program and offer recommendations for 2013.


About All Alexandria Reads

Now entering its fifth year, All Alexandria Reads is an initiative designed to create shared experiences through reading. Everyone is invited to read the featured title and the companion books for younger readers. From March 24-May 5, the Alexandria Library will be hosting dozens of special events that highlight themes from William’s story.


About The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba changed his life when he borrowed a science book from a library in Malawi, Africa. The book contained diagrams of windmills, which sparked William’s imagination and his desire to help his struggling village. Despite seemingly insurmountable circumstances, William’s story proves that dreams can be achieved by anyone with the will and determination to persevere.


Publishers Weekly Review

American readers will have their imaginations challenged by 14-year-old Kamkwamba's description of life in Malawi, a famine-stricken, land-locked nation in southern Africa: math is taught in school with the aid of bottle tops, people are slaughtered by enemy warriors; and everyday trading is "replaced by the business of survival" after famine hits the country. After starving for five months on his family's small farm, the corn harvest slowly brings Kamkwamba back to life. Witnessing his family's struggle, Kamkwamba's supercharged curiosity leads him to pursue the improbable dream of using "electric wind" to harness energy for the farm. Kamkwamba's efforts were of course derided; salvaging a motley collection of materials, from his father's broken bike to his mother's clothesline, he was often greeted to the tune of "Ah, look, the madman has come with his garbage." This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy.


Previous All Alexandria Reads Selections

2011 The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
2010 The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
2009 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
2008 Marley and Me by John Grogan