Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
Growing up in Salem, Massachusetts after the Revolutionary War, Nathaniel Bowditch faces several hardships in his young life. Being extremely gifted in mathematics, he is encouraged by prominent figures in his community to pursue an education, so Nat sets his hopes on Harvard University. A life-changing decision made by Nat’s father, however, curtails this plan and presents further obstacles. Yet instead of feeling sorry for himself, Nat chooses to “sail by Ash Breeze," not dwell on his misfortunes, and fulfill his hunger for knowledge through other means. Winner of the 1956 Newberry Award, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham is a heartwarming adventure tale about a boy who, despite his hardships, values bettering himself as well as others. Introduced to likable characters and interesting facts, the reader accompanies Nat in his sailing adventures through an enjoyable reading experience. Based on the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, this historical novel provides entertaining insight into the young man who wrote The New American Practical Navigator, which was a tremendous help to the shipping industry and is still utilized by the U.S. Navy. For those who enjoy this title, try also The Longitude Prize by Joan Dash and George Washington, Spymaster: How America Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen.