Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace

Written by Tanya Lee Stone, Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

We might think of computer programming as a 20th century occupation, but this fascinating picture book biography tells the real-life story of a woman who was definitely ahead of her time. Ada Lovelace was actually the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron. However, he had little to do with her upbringing. In fact, her mother was so worried she would turn out like her volatile father she decided to train Ada to think like a mathematician. She hired tutors for Ada from the time she was four. Even though she was often an ill child, Ada developed interests in many areas, including drawing, writing, music, French and math. All of this training culminated in her friendship with scientist Charles Babbage, who was working on a machine that calculated numbers. I love how the book points out that Charles showed her how math and imagination actually go together, unlike her mother had taught her. And with Charles’ encouragement, Ada wrote a scientific paper on a new analytical machine that would not only be able to process numbers but create pictures and music – the computer! The illustrations in the book are lovely and at the back there is a section titled “More to the story,” which has a lot of information the author wasn’t able to fit into the narrative. There’s even a section on all the different names Ada is called. This book is relevant and timely.

Review by Andrea LeBaron, Upland Terrace Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: 2nd-6th Grade

Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace
Written by Tanya Lee Stone, Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Christy Ottaviano Books : Henry Holt and Company
40 pages
Release Date: February 20, 2018
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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