Children's Books Wiki


Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a children's biography of Nathaniel Bowditch. It was published in 1955, and is written by Jean Lee Latham. The book won the Newbery Medal in 1956. While it is mainly true, it is presented in story format, so is historical fiction rather than strict history.

The novel introduces Nat Bowditch, a young boy who loves mathematics, and longs to go to Harvard University. Unfortunately, his father doesn't have enough money, and is forced to apprentice Nat to a ship chandler – for nine years. Nat will have to work here until he is 21. Not put off, Nat continues to study, continuing to learn everything he can about mathematics. As he gets older, he steadily learns more, and when his period of apprenticeship is over, he goes to sea. Through mathematics, Nat astounds his captains with his navigational skills...

Reader's Reviews


The book helps look at the character qualities of industriousness and perseverance. A good book.


A really inspirational book; Nat's strength of character shines through! Slightly sad, but it's a brilliant read.


I read it with my mother, and it was really good and exciting. We did a book study about it in my English book, with various comprehensions questions and activities. It was fantastic as a read aloud, and I really enjoyed it. (Olivia, age 13)


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Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 12+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 10+

Clean. The book, however, is quite sad in places, although Nat always triumphs over adversity.

If you like this you might like

  • Columbus Sails by C. Walter Hodges
  • Sea Change by Richard Armstrong

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