Salt and the Sea Venture

When I read “Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown,” by Kieran Doherty, I found it so compelling that I knew the story had to be written for kids as well. It had everything: danger, intrigue, class struggle, and a desperate fight for survival that rivals popular books like, “Unbroken.” Yet the facts of the Sea Venture, indeed everything the early colonists went through was very grim.  Plus, there were no children onboard the Sea Venture to tell the story.

That’s when I came up with the idea of using Salt, a ships cat. All ships had rats, and therefore all ships had cats, but no one gave it any thought. They were just part of the scenery, there to keep the rodent population under control on a two-month journey. But cats have access to places people never even think of. They often go about unseen, observing our human struggles. If they could tell all they know, this is the kind of story they would tell.

In Salt and the Sea Venture, we get a cat’s eye view of life onboard the flagship that illuminates the human experience as much as the cats, but in a way children can appreciate.

I enjoyed writing Salt and the Sea Venture so much I decided to tell more of the story. I had planned for Salt to tell more of the story himself, but then realized how interesting it would be if his descendants carried on with the story. Pepper and Pocahontas is about Salt’s daughter, Pepper, who takes Pocahontas as her person and shares in the triumph and tragedy of her short life.

Pepper and Pocahontas

The next major event in colonial history was the voyage of the Mayflower. Since one of the passengers on the Mayflower had also sailed on the Sea Venture, I thought it only natural that he would have adopted one of Salt’s and Katie’s kittens and brought him along to Plymouth. Morton and the Mayflower tells the story of Salt’s son, Morton, and his trip with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.


I’m currently researching the Salem Witch Trials for my next book, “Sage and the Salem Witch Trials.”

I have also created Teacher Guides, for use in Classrooms, Libraries, and Homeschools. Anyone can request a copy via the links at the left. This page also includes comprehension questions used to test the readers understanding of what they have read.


Comprehension Questions

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