Monday, February 25, 2008

Sailing By Ash Breeze

One of the best books I've read recently is actually a children's book, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. It was assigned as a "read-aloud" for my two younger children's curriculum, which means that the parent reads the book aloud to the child and they have discussions together about the book. Kind of like having your own tiny book club at home. But I digress...

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a wonderfully written account of the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, (1773-1838) who is famous in the history of navigation for writing what became the book on sailing for American sailors for over 150 years. It's worth reading the Wikipedia article on him--this man will amaze you. In a nutshell, he was a math genius whose family was too poor to send him to school--they needed him to work to help support the family. Instead of letting this get him down, he taught himself Latin so that he could read Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica, and actually found an error in that famous work. He eventually learned to speak French and Spanish, also, so that he could communicate with sailors from those countries on his travels. His dream had always been to go to Harvard, and later in his life that institution gave him an honorary degree based on his life accomplishments. It is an inspiring book, cleverly written with humor, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves history, sailing, or both.

And what does "sailing by ash breeze" mean? You'll have to read the book to find out....or I suppose you could Google it, you computer freaks out there. I encourage you to read the book.


chandra said...

Thanks for the suggestion. We'll have to check it out. By the way, are we still on for this week?

Alice C. said...

Chandra: Mary is sick again, so I don't know what day will work. I'm taking her to the doctor today. I'll call you.

tmagskjohns said...

I (we) LOVED this book, though I cried like a baby several times throughout. There are some very sad parts in addition to the inspiring parts. My kids know the signs now...when they hear my voice start to crack or I pause too long in the reading...then they know one of them must take over. By the way, since I've forgotten, are you in Core 3 or Core 4?

Alice C. said...

Mary: My kids are the same way--the know when I'm getting choked up. We're doing Core 3, and really enjoying it. We have just started reading about Lewis and Clark in the history books, and Eric's mom loaned us a book-on-CD about them that we are going to listen too, also.

Love you!