This 1956 Newbury Medal winner tells the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, an 18th-century nautical and mathematical genius from Salem, Massachusetts. Nat grew up in the seaside town’s early days of maritime trade, when tall-masted ships set out for foreign ports and returned a couple of years later to unload their stores of treasures. Apprenticed at an early age to keep books for a maritime business, Nat studied all kinds of nautical subjects in his free time. Eventually he went to sea using his navigational skills. This led to the writing of his seminal work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the sailor's bible), which transformed how ships managed the sea. The book made Bowditch a New England hero. He was one of the founders of the Peabody Essex Museum and his portrait hangs in the museum's East India Marine Hall.