One time in Girl Scouts, I was working on a badge. One of the activity options was to learn about a woman who played a role the history of computer science. The computer books in the children’s section of my library were pretty old, and I didn’t find anything. Some time after that I was reading one of my dad’s magazines and found an article about Ada Lovelace. I thought to myself That’s who they must have been talking about! (although I later learned that there were other women, too).
Recently, a couple of children’s books about Ada Lovelace have been published:
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark
The daughter of famous romantic poet Lord Byron develops her creativity through science and math and writes the world’s first computer program to demonstrate the capabilities of inventor Charles Babbage’s pioneering mechanical innovation.
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley
A fascinating look at Ada Lovelace, the pioneering computer programmer and the daughter of the poet Lord Byron. School Library Journal called it “Great for read-alouds and lesson plans on coding.”
There’s even some fiction about young Ada! The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series is closer to steampunk than historical fiction (but I enjoy that, because the first book I read with Ada Lovelace as a character was a steampunk novel for adults, The Difference Engine).
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
Imagines an alternate 1826 London, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects.
The Case of the Girl in Grey by Jordan Stratford
Spotting a ghostly girl in the park who resembles the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency’s new client, Lady Ada and Mary discover links between the girl and a case involving a hospital, a missing will, a hasty engagement, and a devious servant.
Ada Lovelace Day is for celebrating not just Ada Lovelace, but other women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These new books have information about a variety of other women:
Women in Information Technology by Shaina Indovino
Read about several women in computer science history (including Ada Lovelace), and opportunities for careers in the field.
Trailblazers : 33 Women in Science who Changed the World by Rachel Swaby
A collection of profiles of some of history’s most fascinating female scientists (including Ada Lovelace).
The Women who Launched the Computer Age by Laurie Calkhoven
True story of six women who programmed the ENIAC computer as part of a secret WWII mission. They learned to program the computer without any software, instructions or tools (none existed).
More new books are coming soon! You may have already seen trailers for the movie Hidden Figures
, based on a book for adults. The Young Readers’ Edition is coming out in November, and you can place a hold on it now:
If you want to inspire (or reinforce the existing interests of) a younger child, you might try the new picture book Ada Twist, Scientist (I think she may owe her name to Ada Lovelace)!
Ada Twist, Scientist
by Andrea Beaty
is a very curious girl who shows perseverance by asking questions and performing experiments to find things out and understand the world.