Ada's Ideas - The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer
Is this book about a real woman in STEAM?
Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, a poet, and Anna Isabella Milbanke, a mathematician. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother insisted on a logic-focused education, rejecting Byron’s “mad” love of poetry. But Ada remained fascinated with her father and considered mathematics “poetical science.” Via her friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, she became involved in “programming” his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer, thus becoming the world’s first computer programmer. This picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art.
Harry N. Abrams
6 - 9 years
Girls Love STEAM Review:
Additional Reader & Professional Reviews:
Gr 1–3—This latest picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is sure to captive a variety of readers. For visual learners, the illustrations (watercolors cut, arranged, and then photographed) lend the story a rhythmic movement that allows readers to better imagine the chugging of Lovelace's Analytical Engine. The paper-doll appearance of the cast of characters evokes a sense of play around an otherwise dense subject. The text's lilting quality will stick with aural learners long after the book is over. For example, Robinson's citation of Lord Byron's alliterative diminutive for his daughter—the Princess of Parallelograms—intensifies the sing-song, playful pace of the work. Despite the easy tone, Robinson celebrates Lovelace for her powerful analytical mind in spite of an overbearing mother, an absent father, and a restrictive social position. The author adeptly portrays how Lovelace's mathematical reasoning was largely unmatched during her time, as well as how her hopeful, expansive imagining of future incarnations of the Analytical Engine led directly to modern computers. The only drawback of this work is its lack of page numbers or index, hindering classroom or homework use. VERDICT A fascinating and uplifting STEAM selection, highly recommended for biography collections.
-- Chelsea Woods, New Brunswick Free Public Library, NJ - School Library Journal
"This picture-book biography clearly conveys Lovelace’s constricted upbringing, her intellectual brilliance, and her pleasure in applying her mind to a complex challenge."
"Robinson celebrates Lovelace for her powerful analytical mind in spite of an overbearing mother, an absent father, and a restrictive social position... A fascinating and uplifting STEAM selection, highly recommended for biography collections."
-- School Library Journal
"Colored and cut paper collage, with design elements stacked for depth and then photographed, underscore the theme of creativity expressed through numbers."
-- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Robinson’s writing is direct and deft... and mostly accessible to younger readers. But what really steal the show are her whimsical illustrations: paper cutouts arranged in layers and photographed for a striking collage effect."
-- The Horn Book
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For ages 12 and under
Parent Permission Required
For ages 13-17
For ages 18 & Above