Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
I was really surprised by this book.
The main character is such a great example of hard work and self-learning. I was amazed at what he was able to accomplish on his own, but still kept searching out and learning what he wanted/needed to. He has a lot of 'bad luck' along the way, but also a lot of people who truly love this humble, industrious man, people who do their best to help him along.
The author did an excellent job developing the characters and moving the action along.
My husband just finished reading this to the kids and they all loved it. I'm sure that a lot of the science and math went over their heads, but the rest of the story was enough to hold their attention. I plan on having them read it when they're older as well.
This works as a read aloud for elementary and middle school. An older middle school/junior high child could read and understand this on their own.
A valuable addition to any home library and a wonderful man to learn from.