Tag Archives: Ada Lovelace

Ada Twist, Scientist

Written by: Andrea Beaty

Illustrated by: David Roberts

For ages: 4-10 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, STEM, Women in STEM, Family, Love, Acceptance, Social-Emotional Development. 

Summary: In a flowing and lyrical story, we learn about Ada, who did not speak until she was 3 but left a path of destructive curiosity in her wake wherever she went.  When she did speak, she asked question and questions after question.  Ada’s parents just smiled, and said she would figure out all of the answers.  Supportive & kind, her parents know she has the trappings of a great scientist!  Ada begins to experiment and construct hypothesis after hypothesis, although does take a short stint in the Thinking Chair when she tries to put the cat in the washing machine (to make it smell better!).  In the Thinking Chair, she refines her scientific methods and makes a plan….scribbling all over the walls. Upon seeing this, her parents again decide they will figure out how to keep up with such an enchanting and intelligent child like Ada.

Character Ada is named after Ada Lovelace, we find this out in the short Author’s Note on the last page!  This book is so important, Ada is a little girl of color and an unstoppable scientific force.  So often books with POC characters are linked to oppression and slavery, and Ada’s story is just the opposite.  Ada is not expected to contain her enthusiasm for science and learning, in fact her family is the one that adapts to her.  One of the illustrations show her writing on a huge roll of paper after the wall incident.  Ada’s parents work with her, providing a fantastic role model for both Ada and her brother as well as readers!

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Ada got so curious?
  • Do you think Ada feels supported by her family?  Why or why not?
  • How would you feel in her situation, when in the Thinking Chair?
  • Would you like a scientist friend like Ada?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Ada in the story is named after a famous scientist, Ada Lovelace.  Learn more about her, and how she became a scientist.  What is she known for? How did she develop her scientific methods at a time when not a lot of girls were allowed to pursue STEM?
  • Ada works on her hypotheses in the story.  Why is that an important step in the scientific process?  See if a real scientist can come visit the classroom, and discuss their methods!
  • Learn more about scientists of color, specifically women in STEM careers!  Are there a lot of them?  Find out what you can, and choose a single person to learn about and make a poster of their achievements.  Take a classroom tour and learn all about the amazing science that’s taking place all around us!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Andrea Beaty photoAndrea Beaty was raised in southern Illinois in a town so small she knew everybody and their pets. And they all knew her. Andrea was one of six kids and we spent our summer days traipsing through the fields and forests hunting for adventure.  Always, it was fun and often, they laughed so hard they blew Orange Crush or Grape Nehi Soda out their noses. She still avoids Grape Nehi … just in case.

Andrea was a big reader as a kid and LOVED Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon Mysteries.  Then she moved on to Agatha Christie books and then the classics.  Don’t tell anyone, but her secret ambition is to star in a Broadway musical and Andrea is often tempted to break into song and dance at very odd moments. Mostly in the frozen food section of her grocery store!  They have very good lighting.

Andrea attended Southern Illinois University and studied Biology and Computer Science. After that, she worked for a computer software company. Andrea helped people with their computer problems (“Did you try turning it off and on again?”) and some technical writing. Andrea didn’t know at the time, but tech writing was great training for writing for kids because it taught her to be a fierce self-editor.

Now, she lives in Chicago with her family. Andrea visits lots of schools each year to share her love of reading and her writing journey with kids and educators.

davidroberts_websiteWhen David Roberts was at school, he claims he wasn’t very good at anything so the teacher would give me projects to produce big pictures for the school hall. He remembers doing one of Death rowing in a boat on the river Thames with a dead dog floating past!

David has always been drawing ever since he was a very small child and then when he left school at 16, he went to Art College. There, David did a foundation course trying out all different types of art practice. The thing David thought he wanted to do the most was costume and fashion design so he did a degree in fashion design.

David ended up being a children’s book illustrator and it was always his dream to do this! Although David tried to pursue a career as a fashion illustrator first. When he met Christine of Artist Partners she pointed out to him that he was drawing characters and perhaps he should focus more on publishing and in particular children’s books.


Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace

Written by: Tanya Lee Stone

Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman

For ages: 6-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Historical Figures, Women in Science, Feminism, Bravery, Courage, Individuality.

Summary: Ada was a young girl who lived in the English countryside.  She had a wild imagination and a mother who thought a wild imagination was dangerous.  Ada’s father was the famous poet, Lord Byron.  Ada’s mother was fed up with Lord Byron’s wild behavior, and moved home to her parents house when Ada was 5 weeks old.  Ada never saw her father again, because he fled England owning large sums of money.  Ada’s mother wanted Ada to have a brain like a mathematician, not a wild imagination.  She had tutors that taught her every subject, and she loved music in addition to math, drawing, and singing.  When Ada was 12, she became obsessed with inventing a flying horse with bird wings, and asked her mother for bird-drawing books.  Ada’s mother made her study math for longer hours everyday instead;  she also wanted Ada to get married to a suitable man.  Ada was presented to the king and queen when she was 18, but was not interested in solely becoming a housewife.  Ada became fascinated with the scientists Charles Babbage, and his inventions.  She began to visit with him, and became enchanted with his number calculation machines he was building.  Ada realized that math and imagination could work together, unlike what he mother tried so desperately to teach her.  Ada and Charles became good friends, and often wrote letters and visited each other, walking about math and philosophy together.  Charles was busy trying to build a calculation device that could solve any problem, called the Analytical Engine.  He was trying to base it off a loom that used punchcards to design what the woven design would be.  He didn’t know how the loom worked, but Ada did.  Ada was also able to help translate scientific papers written in French, and Charles encouraged Ada to write her own papers.  She was thrilled at the idea, women in her time did not become scientists and write papers!  Although she was often ill, she worked very hard and wrote many letters to Charles.  When she finished the paper, it turned out to be very long and a huge success!  Ada had a brain that could imagine mathematical processing that had not been discovered yet.  Charles was never able to build his machine, but if he did the entire world of computer programming history could be different from what it is today.  A huge contribution would have been Ada’s work, with her wild imagination!

In the back, there is also more historical information about Ada’s life.  An important scientific contributor that is relatively unknown by most, this is a great book!

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Ada felt when her mother tried to stifle her imagination?
  • How do you think she felt when Charles encouraged her to pursue her passions?
  • What do you think Ada would think about computers today?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about basic computer coding.  There are tons of websites that teach coding skills to kids, and introductory courses with robots.  Ada would be proud!
  • Lots of other famous names are mentioned in the story.  Pick one out and learn more about them!  Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, who are you interested in learning about?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

916WD-xjo1L._UX250_Tanya Lee Stone is best known for telling little-known or unknown stories of women and people of color. She writes MG/YA narrative nonfiction such as Girl Rising, Almost Astronauts and Courage Has No Color, and nonfiction picture books such as Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? and The House that Jane Built. Her work has been recognized by the NAACP Image Award, Robert F. Sibert Medal, Golden Kite Award, Bank Street Flora Straus Steiglitz Award, Jane Addams Honor, YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, NPR Best Books, and NCTE Orbis Pictus Honors. She is also the author of the YA verse novel, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, which was a Top Ten Banned Book. Stone studied English at Oberlin College, later earned a Masters Degree, and was an editor of children’s nonfiction for many years before becoming a writer. She teaches writing at Champlain College. Forthcoming books include A Story of War, A Story of Peace, Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? and Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented.

marjorie-priceman-1536996Marjorie Priceman, illustrator of many acclaimed picture books, has won Caldecott Honors for her illustrations in Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss and Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the Frist Hot-Air Balloon Ride, which she also wrote. She lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer

Written by: Joan Holub

Illustrated by: Daniel Roode

For Ages: 3-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Strong Women, Activism, Civil Rights.

Summary: This board book introduces women throughout history at a basic level for young children. Impressive vocabulary to use with children will help develop their literacy skills, either by reading it themselves or listening and then learning the definitions for terms used such as ‘trailblazer’ ‘Supreme Court’ and ‘courage’. Women covered within these pages are: Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale, Coco Chanel (see why we don’t support featuring Coco Chanel in your classroom here), Rosa Parks, Maria Tallchief, Wilma Rudolph, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruby Bridges, Maya Lin, and Malala Yousafzi. The last two pages have twelve more featured ladies, with a short description of their work best known for.

This book is a simple introduction to both feminism and reading, great for early readers or young children first being introduced to literature.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you heard of any of these people before?
  • Which one of these women do you think you’re like?
  • What things do these women do that you think might be fun to do?
  • What sort of job do you think you might want to do when you’re older?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • This book can be a jumping off point to gauge interest in a specific individual to go more in-depth with. Is there a specific woman that really impacts your classroom? Maybe your school is named after one of them, or one is from a nearby community.
  • Learn about people doing this work in your own neighborhood. Have one visit your classroom and tell students how they became involved with helping people and changing laws. How can young people get involved in these things at an early age?
  • Have a Future Career Dress Up Day, where students dress like a hero they have or for the career they want.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

joan holubJoan Holub graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree, and then free-lanced as an art director at a graphic design firm for eight years. She dreamed of working in children’s books, so she moved to New York City and became associate art director in Scholastic trade books, where she designed books for children and worked with editors and illustrators. What a great job! In the 1990s, she began writing because she had story ideas that she thought would make good books. She submitted my stories to publishers, hoping they’d make them into books. However, they didn’t…at first. Back then, she called manuscripts she sent out “boomerangs” because she would mail them out, then they’d come right back, rejected. Eventually a wonderful editor named Jane O’Connor said yes. In 1996, I suddenly sold three manuscripts in three months to Grosset & Dunlap and Scholastic, including Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic), which is still in print. Yippee! Now I write full time and have written and/or illustrated over 150 children’s books. I hope my books are so interesting and entertaining that kids can almost see the action, like a movie playing in their heads.

daniel roode


Daniel Roode is an illustrator and designer who draws inspiration from his French heritage, mid-century modern design, pop art, and nature. Daniel creates the bulk of his art digitally, an appropriate medium for his clean yet tactile aesthetic that has a distinct joie de vivre. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his amazing wife Laura and their two funny cats.