The children's book "Carry On, Mr Bowditch" by Jean Leb Latham is a biographical story that follows the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, sailor and mathematician. In the story, "Nat" Bowditch is a young student who is forced to become an indentured servant due to his father's poor financial situation. Eventually, Nat not only becomes captain of a ship, but he develops several new ways to navigate ships along the way.
According to Wikipedia, in the tale, Nat is portrayed as a student who adores mathematics and who day dreams about attending Cambridge's Harvard University. He never gives up on his dreams, even when he is forced to be an indentured servant. He teaches himself Latin and other languages while on the ship. Eventually, he compiles a book called "The American Practical Navigator" that helps sailors to calculate locations. Finally, he does earn his Master of Arts from Harvard.
Death plays a very important role in the story. In the book, Nathaniel's sister, grandmother, brother, wife, mother, and best friend all die. All of these deaths have a profound effect on Nathaniel's life and character.
Although the book is technically a biographical account of Nathaniel Bowditch, many of the details were dramatized to make the book more appealing to children.