Latham, Jean Lee. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin. 1955. Illus. by John O’Hara Cosgrove II. A boy of colonial Salem, Massachusetts teaches himself mathematics, astronomy, and seamanship and grows up to create a navigation system still used by the U.S. Navy. From a young age, his facility with mathematics is sometimes met with resentment. His hopes of studying at Harvard are crushed by when his alcoholic father sells him as an indentured servant for 9 years.
Book Type:
Chapter book, 251 pp.
Reading Level:
Lexile: 570L; SLJ: gr. 4-7; JWH: gr. 6-8; Amazon: YA
Bibliotherapy Themes & Questions:
What sort of advanced education do you plan to undertake? What outside forces have made it difficult to pursue your educational goal? How have you resolved those impediments? Have others reacted negatively to your talents? Is learning and problem-solving a positive end in itself? What obligations do the gifted and talented have towards others? How important is fame or recognition to you? How does Bowditch’s experiences affect your thoughts on teaching?
Subject Headings:
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1773-1838 --Juvenile fiction.
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1773-1838 --Fiction.
Mathematicians --Fiction.
Astronomers --Fiction.
Navigation --Fiction.
Seafaring life --Fiction.
Salem (Mass.) --History --18th century --Fiction
Nathaniel Bowditch, Bowditch family, Capt. Prince, fellow sailors
Online Lesson Plans & Resources:
Joslyn, Amy. School Library Journal, May2010, Vol. 56 Issue 5, p60
Newbery Award, 1956

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,964
Content Advisory:
Early death of Bowditch’s mother, a brother, his wife, and others; father’s alcoholism; stereotyping of some ethnic groups by characters; references to seal hunting.