Poet of Science
(Booklist *starred review)
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer.
Stanley, Diane (Author) , Hartland, Jessie (Illustrator)
40 p. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, hardcover, $17.99. (9781481452496). 510.92. Stanley has been delighting and informing readers with her biographies for years, and here, her considerable talents are once again on display. Ada, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Annabella
Milbanke, inherited the best qualities of both: her father’s imagination and her mother’s bent for science. When, as a girl, she was taken to a factory and shown how the patterns in the machines were changed with punch cards, she began to realize the potential of punch-card technology. Although encouraged to become a wife and mother (which she did), Lovelace found an outlet for her scientific talents through her work with Charles Babbage, who was developing an early version of the computer, the Analytical Engine.
Lovelace’s job was to write notes on the invention, and in doing so she came up with the first algorithm. Children may not quite understand every scientific nuance, but what they will see in abundance is a woman who is as intriguing as she is smart. Hartland’s charmingly busy art, reminiscent of Maira Kalman’s work, is full of wit—calculations sweep across pages—and meshes well with Stanley’s inviting text. This is a solid addition to STEM studies, yes, but, also a great choice for any biography lovers.