Airas Tinoco, a 14-year-old page at the court of Prince Henry the Navigator, sails as purser on a caravel exploring the coast of Africa. In the Gambia River the officers and crew of the ship are killed by poisoned arrows. Of the four surviving teen-age boys, only Aires is willing to navigate their homeward vopyage. Will they be hopelessly lost as they try to return to Portugal? More
The Youngest Navigator is based on a chapter from the Portuguese Chronicles telling of a voyage in 1446 down the coast of Africa. Prince Henry the Navigator is seeking a way around Africa, and sends Nuno Tristam in a caravel to make contact with the people of Guinea. They anchor in the Gambia River so the officers and crew can go up the river in longboats. Hostile natives attack them with poisoned arrows. Only the four teen-age boys left on the ship survive. Airas Tinoco, who has shadowed the navgiator on the southbound voyage, takes charge of the return voyage. To avoid sand bars and shoals along the coast, they must sail far out to sea against the prevailing winds. After two long months at sea, his companions think Airas has gotten them completely lost. Will they ever see Portugal again?
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Mary Louise Clifford has published 20 books: adult nonfiction, young adult fiction, and young adult nonfiction. She lives in Alexandria, VA, with a Sudanese cat named Kadisa. The first chapter of several of her books can be read on her web site.