Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

My nine-year-old just told me, “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch starts off boring, but then it gets really interesting.”  She did complain about listening to it in the van, but when Nathaniel Bowditch fell in love with Elizabeth – and she begged to listen to Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham.

She is a romantic at heart.

I have told many a friend that this book is one of my absolute favorite books ever.  Latham writes a beautiful, Newberry-Medal-winning biography of Nathaniel Bowditch, the author of The American Practical Navigator, often referred to as the “Sailor’s Bible.”

Bowditch grew up during the Revolutionary War and the turbulent times after it.  He desperately wanted to be a “Harvard man,” but events conspired against him.  Instead of giving up, Bowditch forged ahead, teaching himself Latin, French and Spanish, advanced mathematics, astronomy and navigation.  As he says in the book, he decided to “sail by ash breeze” (i.e.; hard work).

Bowditch is such a wonderful example of never giving up and never giving in.  His dreams were shattered, many of his family members died, yet he persevered.

The first time I read this book, I read it aloud to my older two children – which got a little long, even for this mom used to reading aloud.  This time, we listened to the audio book version read by Jim Weiss.  Either way, we greatly enjoyed this book – a true inspiration for all children and adults.

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