Community-wide reading

I’ll use this blog post to do a little hometown brag while remaining book-centric.

To promote literacy, the love of learning, and a sense of community, the Westbrook school system invites the entire community to read the same book together. A committee of librarians and community members pick the book. For those who cannot afford the book, funds are raised so copies of the book can be provided to school libraries and classrooms. Students and the entire community are invited to react and discuss the book. It’s a wonderful experience.

This spring, the Westbrook community can read together The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the true story of Willian Kamkwamba, a boy from Malawi who constructed a windmill from scraps in order to provide electricity for his community.

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

The book is available in picture book, middle level readers, and full text for high school readers and adults. The Westbrook community will discuss the books themes of writing, dialogue, art, and science. You’re all free to join us!

To hear Willian Kamkwamba’s TED talk, click here.

To order Brendan’s book, click here.

About Brendan Rielly

Brendan is the author of An Unbeaten Man, the first installment in the thriller series featuring Bowdoin College microbiologist Michael McKeon. An Unbeaten Man won Best Crime Fiction at the 2016 Maine Literary Awards. “…a first-class thriller”—Douglas Preston. “If you like spy thrillers, this is your cup of ricin.”—Gayle Lynds. “…sit back, strap yourself in, and enjoy the thrill ride.”—Steve Berry. Brendan is chair of the litigation department at Jensen Baird in Portland and lives in Westbrook, Maine with his wife, Erica, and three children. Brendan is the President of the Westbrook City Council.
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4 Responses to Community-wide reading

  1. Gram says:

    We too have a community reads. This year it is American Spring by Walter Borneman.

  2. Kate Flora says:

    This sounds like a great book, Brendan. I’m sending this article to my niece, who is a teacher. I think her students would love the book and the TED talk.

  3. Beth Clark says:

    A retired librarian from Massachusetts did this at her library in Billerica. They left books throughout the town for people to take and pass on. We have talked about doing it for our town bicentennial. Great idea.

  4. Lea Wait says:

    Wonderful! My UNCERTAIN GLORY was a town read in six Maine communities a couple of years ago … a wonderful experience! Sharing a thought-provoking book is terrific — and the one your town chose sounds wonderful!

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