Ada’s Ideas

adasideas

Image Credit: Abrams Books for Young Readers (Abrams), Fiona Robinson

I love that the cover says “the World’s First Computer Programmer” which establishes the fact that Ada Lovelace was and always will be a big deal.

We’ve been blessed with quite a few recent picture books (all written and illustrated by women) about Ada Lovelace. I’ve already reviewed Ada Byron Lovelace and The Thinking Machine which is also very good and pairs well with this book.

Ada Lovelace grew up in her mother’s world of numbers and manners. She had a strict academic regimen and was expected to stick to it. Luckily, she was rich and grew up during the Industrial Revolution where she was distracted by modern technology. Ada started to invent things with her mathematical and imaginative mind! Unfortunately, she became very seriously ill with the measles but when she recovered years later, she was a teenager and was allowed to bloom in society. She met the inventor Charles Babbage who became a good friend and introduced her to his invention, The Difference Engine, which was like a large calculator.

This machine and the design for  The Analytical Engine would change her life. Babbage’s Analytical Engine is considered to be the world’s first computer design and Ada worked on the algorithms for the punch cards to be used in the machine. She programmed the machine using Bernoulli numbers! Ada had the imagination and forward thinking to see a world of potential in Babbage’s invention; she saw endless possibility in programming.

adasideas2

Image Credit: Abrams Books for Young Readers (Abrams), Fiona Robinson

If there was one thing I’d change about this book, it would be how Ada’s parents’ relationship is described. From what I understand, Lord Byron could be very uncaring and at times abusive to his wife. Reading this book, one would think that Lord Byron was simply “wild” and Anne Isabella Milbanke much too proper, strict and overprotective of Ada.

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. Robinson’s art is detailed, delicate and fanciful. I can’t imagine how many hours she spent painting and cutting paper to create the 3D images. I love how light the watercolors are on the paper and how much depth she achieves by propping up and layering the cut-outs. My favorite spread is of the giant cotton mills with smoke streaming out of them against a blotchy gray sky. So pretty!

Ada’s Ideas is a beautiful tribute to Ada Lovelace’s life and will definitely inspire young children to dream high. Whether you dream in words, numbers or paints & scissors, let your mind soar and discover what you’re capable of!

P.S. I love the punch cards on the end papers, the cover of the book and on the title page! So cool. 🙂

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Girl Power, Friendship, Mathematics, Biography, History, Math History, Girls in Science/STEM, Computer Science, Computer Programming, Determination, Dreams, Curiosity, Inquisitive Minds, Victorian Era, Imagination
Book Info: Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson, 2016 Adams Books for Young Readers (Abrams), ISBN: 9781419718724

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

AdaByronLovelace

Image Credit: Creston Books, LLC., Laurie Wallmark/April Chu


Ada Byron Lovelace. Enchantress of Numbers. Impressive Mind.

Ada grew up outside of London and away from her scandalous father, the poet Lord Byron. In the country, she explored, expanded her intelligent mind and loved to sketch machines based on nature. She even invented a flying machine and spent hours on the calculations! On a stormy day she went out to do an experiment by her pond but as a result, she developed a serious case of measles that left her paralyzed and blind. Determined to stay sharp, she continued to diligently work with numbers with her mother’s help. Her sight would come back but she was on crutches for 3 more years.

As a teen, she had impressive female mathematician and scientist tutors like Mary Fairfax Somerville and would befriend Charles Babbage. He designed an Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer, but never built it. Ada worked on this project for months and used her impressive knowledge of numbers to design a set of “instructions” for the machine, an algorithm; the world’s first computer program! She was ahead of her time. The author of this book, Laurie Wallmark includes an excellent Author’s Note with more useful information about Ada’s life and in general, does a great job in this book explaining science and history in an easy way for children to understand.

April Chu has a very distinct style of illustration. Her detailed pencil illustrations are colored with computer and the colors she uses are very rosy, golden, dark and warm. Her characters have straight noses and expressive eyes and she does an excellent job of recreating Victorian England. Chu has an “aerial shot” in her illustration that she uses in this book to take us inside of Ada’s room; a glimpse inside her world of imagination, numbers and calculations. This is my favorite scene in the book.

I highly recommend this biography. If you don’t already know about Ada Byron Lovelace, you really should. She’s an important contributor to not only history but modern technology!

 

Recommended for: 1st-2nd Grade and up
Great for: Mathematics, Biography, History, Math History, Girls in Science/STEM, Computer Science, Computer Programming, Girl Power, Determination, Dreams, Curiosity, Inquisitive Minds, Steampunk, Victorian Era, Imagination
Book Info: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark/Illustrated by April Chu, 2015 Creston Books, LLC., ISBN: 9781939547200

Math Curse

Mathcurse

Image Credit: Viking (Penguin Group), Jon Scieszka/Lane Smith

To celebrate 40 POSTS on Read It Real Good, I invited my good friend Nida to write about one of her favorite books. I met Nida while teaching English in Korea and she is particularly great with languages and linguistics.  I didn’t know about Math Curse until she started raving about it BUT I do love Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, or as I like to call them, the 90s Picture Book Dream Team. You might be familiar with their classics The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man. Welcome Nida and please enjoy her review:


Have you ever sat in a class (or meeting) and stared at the clock, counting the minutes, pondering and planning the rest of your day? If the answer is yes, then welcome to the Math Curse.

Math Curse opens with Mrs. Fibonacci telling her students, “You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem.” One girl discovers just how true those words are as she wakes up the next day to find that everything around her makes her think in mathematical terms. The reader follows her thoughts throughout the day where she can’t help but regard everything in her daily routine as a problem to solve, including her other subject classes. Despairing that she’ll never escape the math curse put upon her by her math teacher, she finally solves the ultimate math problem (with the help of a clever little pun) that frees her. She learns that although math may be everywhere, it’s no longer something to dread.

Math Curse is one of my favorite books ever. I love books that are designed to make you think, and this book definitely does that! But it’s not all about the math. The book is also filled with clever wordplay that will appeal to any little linguists out there. The best part is that this book can grow with a child. I first read it when I was 8, before I knew what the Fibonacci sequence, binary numbers, or the quadratic formula were. When I finally learned about those things in middle school, I remembered the Math Curse, went back to read it again, and appreciated it on a whole new level. Even as an adult, I am often plagued by a math curse as I try to figure out how to do everything I need to do within the hours of the day. Talk about a book for all ages!

This book will obviously be a hit with anyone already interested in math or language, but I also highly recommend it for parents who wish to engage their children with an interactive, relatable story. It’s important to understand: It’s not about getting the right answers (which can be found on the back cover, by the way), but rather exercising your brain and challenging yourself to see things in different ways.

 

Recommended for: 1st/2nd grade and up
Great for: Mathematics, Problem Solving, Language, Discussion, School Life, Frustration
Book Info: Math Curse by Jon Scieszka/Illustrated by Lane Smith, 1995 Viking (Penguin Group), ISBN: 9780670861944