I honestly wasn’t sure if Miss M and I would enjoy, Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham when I added it to our United States History Year 1 reading list for this year. But given that it’s a Newberry award winner (1956), and it is a recommended choice from Sonlight’s list of American history titles, I decided to go ahead and give it a try — I’m glad we did!
Carry on Mr. Bowditch is a fictionalized biography of a real person, Nathanael Bowditch, who lived from 1773 to 1838. The story opens with Nat Bowditch as a precocious young boy who shocks his school teacher with all the math he has learned to do all by himself. He dreams of a bright future for himself as a “Harvard man” when he is old enough for college. But instead of preparing for college, his family’s financial situation forces him to leave school and work in his father’s business. Then at age 12, he is indentured for a nine year term to a chandlery (a store that sells all the items needed for ships).
He took every opportunity to continue his education on his own during those nine years, and he is soon a master of several languages, science and mathematical concepts and all things nautical. After his term in the chandlrey is completed, Nat Bowditch takes to the sea, where he develops better methods of navigation and eventually writes a book for which he is still famous — The American Practical Navigator.
Miss M appreciated the adventure aspect of this story. Nat Bowditch’s travels on shipboard take him all over the world and Miss M was eager each night to find out how these adventures would work themselves out. I found the details in Carry on Mr. Bowditch to be fascinating. I always enjoy learning about a new subject, and nautical navigation was certainly a new subject for me!
As I was reading this book to Miss M I ran across a number of great quotes I thought I might include in a review of this book…but unfortunately holiday busyness got in the way of writing this post in a timely manner (we finished this book mid-December!), and I had to return my copy to the library. It’s definitely a title I’ll be remembering to read to the boys when they get a bit older. Nathanael Bowditch is a great example of a man who worked hard to make something of himself despite the obstacles in his path.
I’ll be linking up with Read Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!
We’ve had this book on our shelves for a while now. Now that I have read your review I think I will bump in up in priority. It looks like an excellent book. Thanks Julie
This is one I’ve seen over and over and over again on homeschooling blogs as a favorite, but I still haven’t read it. I appreciate your thoughts, especially since this older Newberys can be hit and miss for us.
I’ve also seen this one over and over but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll have to keep it in the back of my mind for my son to use in a year or two. Thanks for the reminder!
OH YES!! We *loved* this book back when I read it with my now-16 and 15 year olds. Such a great story. I think you need to purchase a copy so you don’t have to return it to the library! One of my kiddos actually took our copy off the shelf last summer to read it again “just for fun”.
I do hope all the above commenters make it a priority and get it read–delightful!