by Karen Hesse and Robert Andrew Parker

Karen Hesses’s intricately detailed historical novel chronicles the journey... read more

Karen Hesses’s intricately detailed historical novel chronicles the journey of 11-year-old Nicholas Young, a stowaway aboard the H.M.S. Endeavor when Captain James Cook embarks on a trip to the southern hemisphere in 1768. Nick is discovered a few days out from port but Captain Cook gives him a chance to prove his worth and earn a place among the crew. Over the course of a three-year journey that turns out to be a secret mission at the request of the king to search for an unknown continent, Nick proves himself in many ways–as hard worker, compassionate observer, and, above all, loyal friend. The story is told through journal entries kept by Nick that document camaraderie and clashes among crew members, the work of the botanists who are cataloging the flora and fauna of the many places they travel, and many encounters with native peoples of the southern hemisphere. Nicholas Young was a real boy who really was part of the H.M.S. Endeavor crew on Cook’s first voyage of discovery. An author’s note provides information about what little is known about the real Nicholas Young, some of it culled from the log entries Cook himself kept aboard that voyage. Here, Nick comes alive as a keen and sensitive storyteller. (Ages 10-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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