Reading List: “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” by Jean Lee Latham
The biography of a rather obscure but important figure in navigational history brings to life not only the central character, Nathaniel Bowditch, but also the bustling port town of Old Salem, Massachusetts. It’s a period piece that transports the reader back to colonial New England as it tells Bowditch’s story. His early life was not easy. At 12 years of age, he was indentured* for nine years as a bookkeeper for a ship’s chandlery*. Fortunately, his master recognized his gift for mathematics and encouraged him to study on his own. At 21, when he became a free man, he went to sea, sharpening his navigational skills and eventually writing the navigation text and reference book still referred to as “The Sailor’s Bible.”
Take a look at the charming drawings before you start to read in order to get a feel for the book’s setting.