Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Carry On Mr. Bowditch Book Review

Carry On Mr. Bowditch Written by:
Jean Lee Latham
Based on the Life of Nathaniel Bowditch

Book Summary:
Readers today are still fascinated by “Nat,” an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor’s world—Salem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn’t promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by “log, lead, and lookout.” Nat’s long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the “Sailors’ Bible”), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.

 Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a must read classic book that can be read over and over again. I think I enjoyed the book more than my kids just because there is so many little nuggets of inspiration woven into the story.

Nathaniel is forced into a 9 year apprenticeship by his father. Nat moves in to a little apartment by the ship chandler shop he is to work at and can not go anywhere without permission.  He has a desire to attend Harvard but is unable to, so he takes every opportunity he can to self educate himself in between his duties at the shop he is working at. Nat teaches himself mathematics, astronomy, navigation and 3 languages.   He discovers he has a talent for math and navigation and he went on to become a famous sea navigator. 

 Trials beyond his control changed the path that Nat had mapped out for himself. He had hard things happen in his life, but he didn't let that stop him from becoming someone great.  I find it so inspirational that he worked to overcome what life had given him and turned it into something amazing. Because he was working at a ship chandler, he was introduced to people that helped him become successful. If he wasn't an apprentice maybe he would not have had the impact he did on the sea navigation.  Life's trials can either bring out the worst or best in a person.  Nat is a good reminder to make the best of our trials and to learn from them. 

Additional Activities:

Find out how a sextant works

Unit Study - I wish I would have found this when I was reading the book to my family.  

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