Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?: The Story Of Ada Lovelace (Tanya Lee Stone)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?: The Story Of Ada Lovelace, written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, a biography of the visionary mathematician.

Ada was born into a troubled home – her father, the famous poet Lord Byron, was known for his terrible behavior, so her mother left him when Ada was only a month old. Hoping to deter Ada from her father’s “madness”, Lady Byron encouraged rigorous studies, especially in mathematics. Ada had a passion for math and a scientific mind, but also a poetic soul, yet both were considered unsuitable at the time for a lady. Fortunately, Ada made a true friend in inventor and engineer Charles Babbage; both were creative thinkers, and loved bouncing ideas back and forth in the “poetical sciences”. Babbage had devised the “Analytical Engine”, a machine that could calculate impossibly large numbers, and was trying to raise money for it. Ada wanted to help, and Charles suggested that she write notes on a paper about his machine. She did, but her understanding of the science and math behind it far exceeded what even Babbage had thought it capable of. She posited that the machine could do anything they were able to tell it to do, and wrote an algorithm that became the first published for a computer – making Ada the first-ever computer programmer.

Wonderfully educational. The story covers the important aspects of Ada’s life and scientific contributions, and the language is not dumbed down for kids. The swirly-twirly art is old school, but works beautifully here, capturing the way poetry and science combines in Ada’s mind; numbers seem to dance through the air around her. The length is best for slightly older bookworks, though JJ made it through fine, and we enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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