Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer

Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer

by Emily Arnold McCully


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This illuminating biography reveals how the daughter of Lord Byron, Britain’s most infamous Romantic poet, became the world’s first computer programmer.

Even by 1800s standards, Ada Byron Lovelace had an unusual upbringing. Her strict mother worked hard at cultivating her own role as the long-suffering ex-wife of bad-boy poet Lord Byron while raising Ada in isolation. Tutored by the brightest minds, Ada developed a hunger for mental puzzles, mathematical conundrums, and scientific discovery that kept pace with the breathtaking advances of the industrial and social revolutions taking place in Europe. At seventeen, Ada met eccentric inventor Charles Babbage, a kindred spirit. Their ensuing collaborations resulted in ideas and concepts that presaged computer programming by almost two hundred years, and Ada Lovelace is now recognized as a pioneer and prophet of the information age. Award-winning author Emily Arnold McCully opens the window on a peculiar and singular intellect, shaped — and hampered — by history, social norms, and family dysfunction. The result is a portrait that is at once remarkable and fascinating, tragic and triumphant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763693565
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 03/12/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 356,621
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 14 Years

About the Author

Emily Arnold McCully is the author and/or illustrator of many picture books, novels, and nonfiction books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott Medal–winning picture book biography Mirette on the High Wireand Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business and Won!, which was a Washington Post Best Children's Book of the Year and a finalist for the YALSA Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. Among her favorite topics to write about are brave girls and women. She lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 1816-1824 1

Chapter 1 Born into Scandal 3

Chapter 2 Mother and Child with Governesses 8

Chapter 3 She Has a Father 17

Part 2 1825-1832 23

Chapter 4 Her Imagination Soars 25

Chapter 5 Guarded by Furies 31

Chapter 6 An Elopement 34

Part 3 1833-1835 39

Chapter 7 Meeting Babbage 41

Chapter 8 A Role Model 50

Chapter 9 Courtship and Marriage 55

Part 4 1836-1842 59

Chapter 10 Motherhood 61

Chapter ll Grasping for Mathematics 67

Chapter 12 The New Engine 72

Chapter 13 A Restless Student 78

Part 5 1842-1852 83

Chapter 14 Masterwork 85

Chapter 15 At Loose Ends 98

Chapter 16 Restless Spirit 101

Chapter 17 An Awful Death 112

Epilogue 119

Afterword 125

Appendix A Ada's Notes 127

Appendix B The British Association for the Advancement of Science Declines to Construct an Analytical Engine 133

Source Notes 136

Glossary 150

Bibliography 154

Image Credits 158

Index 160

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Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ALTaylor 6 months ago
Ada Byron Lovelace is fascinating. She was an incredibly smart person who ignored labels and limitations forced onto women of her time. Author & illustrator Emily Arnold McCully says that “Brave girls and women are her favorite topics.” Oh, how Lovelace fits that ideal. While this book is exceedingly informative, I was a bit disappointed in its execution. McCully filled her pages with everything you would ever want to know about Lovelace, including a few end-of-life details that I was surprised to learn about her, her husband, and her mother. Maybe because I came into it thinking it was a children’s book (read: picture book), I felt slightly frustrated by how it read more like a (beautifully achieved) textbook than a kidlit biography. The cover even threw me by giving the impression it was aimed more at elementary school readers, rather than the late middle/early high school for which it was clearly intended. Overall, very well written and researched book...just not what I had been looking for at the time. A big thank you to Candlewick Press & NetGalley for the digital edition to read and review.
Suzanne Costner More than 1 year ago
This well researched biography tells about the first computer programmer in the world, Ada Byron Lovelace. Ada was the daughter of Lord Byron, the famous poet, but her mother chose to raise her on science and mathematics to combat the influence of her father's heritage. The details of her course of study and relationship with her mother are covered, as well as her meeting with Charles Babbage and his ideas about a Difference Engine and an Analytical Engine. Combining the creativity of her father and her logical training, Ada developed the idea of cards to program the engines - even to do sequences and loops. Photos of the Difference Engine, portraits of Ada and her parents, even copies of pages from her school exercise books all add to the text. An appendix includes the notes Ada made as she translated the original article about Babbage's Difference Engine. A second appendix includes the notes from the British Association for the Advancement of Science as they debated whether to fund the construction of the Analytical Engine. There are also extensive source notes for all the quotes within the text, a glossary, and bibliography. This is recommended for ages 10 -14. Details about Lovelace's gambling and laudanum use, among other facts, will be better understood by readers beyond the elementary grades.