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"One Book One Farmington"

District Wide

Stories have a special way of bringing people together. One Book One Farmington is a new initiative designed to bring the whole community together around one story.  The Friends of the Farmington Library, Dakota County Library System, and Farmington Educators partnered with the stated mission “to encourage an intergenerational community experience centered around literature that will stretch our perspectives of the world around us.” They created One Book One Farmington, which encourages all members of the community to read one book and participate in related events throughout the year.


The book chosen for 2016 is The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba. This is an autobiographical tale of a boy who struggles against the odds to bring power to his tiny village in Malawi. A grant from the Farmington Area Education Foundation has allowed hundred of copies of the book to be purchased for the community to checkout from school media centers and the local library.

Discussion resources, event details, and more are available at

"I am using 'The Boy Harnessed the Wind' in my Science Class. It helps me to integrate literacy in my class while we are exploring different science topics and learning the culture of another country. My students are really enjoying this book and it's easy to integrate into my curriculum. 


              -Lynda Ihlan, 7th grade Science Teacher

Boeckmann Middle School


I have a 10 year old daughter with Dyslexia who struggles to read, so each day I read out loud to her and my husband for at least 30 minutes.  In this way she can practice reading the materials that are appropriate for her while still getting the books that her peers are reading. 


We read “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” over a period of about a week.  During the week that we read the book we had many conversations about many things.  It was very interesting to my daughter to learn that in the United States children take school for granted because they have to go, but in other countries it is something to be cherished.  She was also able to identify with William’s (the main character) struggle to read books that were written in a different language.  To her books may as well be written in a different language, but we talked a lot about how they would both use pictures and ask questions until they understood.


There were many passages in the book that gave us a reason to look things up on the internet so that we could learn more about topics William talked about in the book.  My husband studied the pictures in the book and later he and my daughter would be out in the garage working on similar things.  We all spent time talking about how William and his family survived the famine, lived through hard times, persevered and overcame such huge obstacles.


After we finished reading the book we discovered that we all enjoyed it so much that we began recommending it to other people.  The people that I found I recommended it to the most were staff and students, particularly those who were or who worked with children who struggled with learning, and hardships.  It was such an inspiration to read about this young man who couldn’t afford to go to school, but took it upon himself to learn.  William was considered strange by his neighbors because of the things that he did, but because he believed in himself he was able to bring to his village things that they had never had before.  Finally, he and his family overcame the hardships of famine and financial insecurity and brought great prosperity.


“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is written in such a way that it was easily understandable to my young daughter while still greatly enjoyed by my husband and myself.  I feel that it is an incredible selection for young and old and has lessons that almost anyone can relate to their own life.


          -Christy J. McGuffee, Technology Support Technician

Technology Department - Farmington High School

At the beginning of the year we do Book Crawls where I put stacks of books on tables and students move around the room, exploring the books and making lists of what they want to read. This year I made sure to put our One Book, One Farmington book out as a choice. One child (who happens to be African American) snapped it up in excitement. He actually said, "This is mine! I want it!"  He was so excited to see a text set in Africa with a character (even though this is a non-fiction book) who looked like him. That is actually not very common in young adult literature. I had to keep the book for the remainder of the day for my other classes, but he made me promise he could have it the next day. It was so great to see a child SO excited to read a book! I also directed him to all the activities the library is hosting. He was especially interested in the movie.


          -Kirsten Wallevand, 7th Grade Language Arts

Language Arts Department Head

Levi P. Dodge Middle School

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