The Discovery of Longitude by Joan Marie Galat
Published on September 14, 2012.
More than three hundred years ago, explorers wandered the seas using unreliable maps. What they really needed to know was the longitude of their locations. This nonfiction book for young readers tells the fascinating story of how carpenter John Harrison won the British government prize for building a clock that provided the necessary information.
This book is so interesting. I had never thought of latitude and longitude as being problems that someone had to solve to aid in sailing. We learn that sailers used the sun and the stars to navigate, but obviously those are not visible all the time. This book explains the use of a sextant for meaning latitude, and then it explores the problem of calculating longitude.
Some primitive methods of calculating longitude were fraught with error. After a huge sailing accident involving many English ships, the English government set a contest offering to reward the person who could build a tool for measuring longitude 20,000 pounds. The book explains the use of time to calculate longitude if a ship could possess two accurate clocks. John Harrison invented many iterations of clocks that would work at sea, and he was eventually awarded the prize money.
For any kids interested in science and history, this book would be a treat. It's text heavy, so it's best suited for children ages 8-10, but it's a very interesting story. We've come along way now with GPS and satellite technology, but the origins are always good to learn as well.
My Rating: 4 stars
I'm linking up with Booking Mama today for Kid Konnection. Every Saturday Julie hosts this link up for all things relating to children's books.
On the blog last year...
YA Book Club: October 2015