Today’s suggestions for that winter break reading list are two non-fiction books.
The Longitude Prize is about the quest to discover a way for sailors to know where they were in an east-west direction. Latitude had already been “discovered” so north-south wasn’t a problem. A 200,00 pound prize was offered to anyone who could solve the problem. John Harrison, a carpenter and clock-maker eventually invented a sea-going clock. And while he solved the problem, many wrote him off for not having the “right” education.
This video, from Cambridge University, explains the longitude board and prize:
The second book today, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, is a great story about a young man who brought electricity to his village in Africa. William Kamkwamba was fascinated with electricity and wind power even as a child. When famine ruined his family farm and he dropped out of school, William continued to read about wind energy and eventually started to collect scrap pieces to build a windmill for his village. Check out Kamkwamba’s interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.