2012 - 2013 Common Book Selection
This is the "Common Book Home" page of the "2011-2012 Common Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" guide.
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2011-2012 Common Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind   Tags: common_book  

Pellissippi State's common reading experience for new students.
Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: http://lib.pstcc.edu/commonbook2011 Print Guide Email Alerts

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2011 - 12 Common Book

Pellissippi State has a common reading experience for new students. Each year a new book is selected for this program. The intention is to stimulate a year-long discussion of issues related to the book, by encouraging exploration in classes, on and off campus, and with co-curricular programming. This common reading experience involves incoming first-year students, and many faculty and staff.



Common Book (n) - An innovative approach to orient new students to college. The Common Book gives students a reading experience to share with their peers at Pellissippi State.


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Featured Event

William Kamkwamba spoke at the President's Convocation, Thursday September 1, 2011 in the CPAC.  

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Common Book

Book Description:

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.

Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.

Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity—electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.

Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo—his "electric wind"—spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.

From HarperCollins Publishers


    William Kamkwamba's TEDTalks

    Here are clips from William Kamkwamba's 2007 and 2009 TED Talks from www.TED.com.


    Borrow book

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,  the Pellissippi Campus Common Book, is available on reserve in the library and at satellite campus ERCs for reading while on-campus.


    Events Calendar

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Events Calendar

    Watch recorded event again, or watch for first time.  If available, click on lecture link to view recorded event.


    Events Movies

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Movies Calendar


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