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Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

A book by Jean Lee Latham

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A wonderful children's book that works as history, biography and story.

  • Nov 17, 2010
Rating:
+5
Winner of the 1956 Newbery Medal for Children's Literature, Jean Lee Latham's Carry On, Mr. Bowditch tells the fascinating story of Nathaniel Bowditch, the author of the all-around and famous reference book for sailors, The American Practical Navigator, also known as The Sailor's Bible.

Endowed with a keen intellect towards mathematics and hard science, Nathaniel Bowditch was unable to foster those inherent gifts in an academic setting, most notably, Harvard University, the school of his dreams. However, due to his poor economic circumstances, he had to cast his academic ambitions aside and grow up fast, ultimately becoming an apprenticed servant to the wayfaring lives of sea captains, crews and schooners. Though not in a classroom setting, Nathaniel Bowditch continued on with his self-education after work, analyzing and scrutinizing the navigational tools and mathematical charts of the time. With his real-world experience, love of math and science and acute meticulousness for navigational accuracy, he realized that the available instruments and graphs that sea captains were using were seriously flawed, so detrimental, in fact, that they were in part (with the aid of nature) primarily culpable in the unnecessary deaths of those who made their living by the sea. With that epiphany, he went about correcting long-standing errors that many held to be flawless. With his vast mathematical knowledge and newfound emancipation as a ship's servant, he compiled and wrote the definitive and still-in-use reference book for sailors, The American Practical Navigator.

In the book, Latham portrays Bowditch not as an entitled academic snob who feels he has been wronged by life; quite the opposite. He is depicted as earthy, approachable, generous, curious, quiet and patient. He comes off as one of the quiet friends in the the group of rowdies who you just naturally embrace because of his inherent decency and good character. Considering the numerous deaths of Bowditch's loved ones throughout his lifespan, Latham could have described him as a severely wounded soul bogged down with life. But perseverance and passion do ring supreme in this impeccable children's book, for it showcases many sterling qualities-via one simple yet complex historical figure-that we would like out kids to be imbued with: perseverance, self-reliance, a love for math and science, determination, inquisitiveness. And a whole lot more. Even as an adult, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, for me, was an eye-opening, fun and learning experience, a nautical yarn that evoked schooners, wharves, tallow candles, stories, adventures on the high seas, but most significantly, the vitalness of math and science in our academic and independent curriculum. A stellar read for kids and adults as well as being a deserving winner of the Newbery Medal.

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More Carry On, Mr. Bowditch reviews
review by . May 06, 2013
A wonderful children's book that works as history, biography and story.
Winner of the 1956 Newbery Medal for Children's Literature, Jean Lee Latham's Carry On, Mr. Bowditch tells the fascinating story of Nathaniel Bowditch, the author of the all-around and famous reference book for sailors, The American Practical Navigator, also known as The Sailor's Bible.      Endowed with a keen intellect towards mathematics and hard science, Nathaniel Bowditch was unable to foster those inherent gifts in an academic setting, most notably, Harvard …
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Christian Engler ()
Ranked #648
Not much to say; my info section and likes pretty much says it all. Cheers.
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"Illustrations, rich in detail, by John O'Hara Cosgrave II add authenticity and value." --Review--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 0618250743
ISBN-13: 978-0618250745
Author: Jean Lee Latham
Genre: Children's Books, Teens
Publisher: Sandpiper
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