Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Here are two books, reviewed by Ronak and Tej Dhingra – in case you are looking for some good reads on your holiday list!
By Ronak Dhingra (age 13)
I attended the “Change Makers” event at Lamplighter School last month. The event was a panel discussion with three “Change Makers”, including a teenager who discovered an accurate and cheap way to diagnose pancreatic cancer in early stages, a woman who invented Fresh Paper, a paper that saves fruits and veggies from spoilage, and lastly, William Kakawamba, a man who, as a kid, made a windmill out of every day materials that provided electricity to everyone in his village. After the talk, we purchased William’s book, called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is about William’s life “pre- Windmill”, how he got his ideas, and information to build the windmill.
By reading this book, I realized, first of all, how privileged my family, friends, and I are. Also, this book helped me realize that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) can change the world. Whether it is powering a small village to putting a man on the moon, STEAM processes and products can be expressed and accomplished at any age, anytime, and anywhere.
William Kakawamba did his research in a small library the size of an average American bedroom. He had no computers or other devices to help him. There was nobody that he knew who could help him on his STEAM endeavor. He used his creativity, resourcefulness, and passion to create his windmill with things he found lying around in the junkyard. The most prominent theme in this book is that in order to make change, you have to be passionate. In the book, William spends hours searching through the dump examining trash to see if he could use it for his windmill. While the other boys teased him, he knew that he was only trying to improve their lives and kept on pursuing his passion until he was finally recognized for it.
By reading this book, I was inspired to try and find a passion of my own. William’s passion not only changed the future of his village, it also opened many doors to opportunities he could only dream of during his childhood. He was able to attend Dartmouth and received an excellent education. In a nutshell, reading this book inspired me to find my passion and work hard at it, and is also taught me that a STEAM accomplishment can put a place (or a person) on the map.
By Tej Dhingra (age 12)
I was amazed by Jack Andraka’s story at the Change Makers event so much so that I bought his book and read it the week after the event. Breakthrough is a thrilling and inspiring novel of how a freshman in high school who did experiments in the garage and went crabbing with his uncle turned out to be someone who invented a device that impacts our world greatly. Jack Andraka’s love for science is not to be forgotten for he has persevered through social issues, as well as many people not believing his idea, to make a sheet of paper that is able to detect pancreatic cancer.
However, his miraculous discovery did not just come out of the blue- it came with many hours of hard work, countless emails to heads of labs, and, of course, many sleepless nights. However, when Jack hears about his uncle’s death due to pancreatic cancer, it motivates him to work harder than he ever had in order to make sure that nobody else would ever be diagnosed with the disease too late. Whether it’s taking out all of the electricity in the neighborhood on an “interesting” science experiment or winning the Gordon E. Moore Award at the ISEF Science Competition, Jack’s love of science and urge to help people comes out loud and clear. He didn’t do it for the money. Jack Andraka did it for science.