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Ada Lovelace, The World's First Computer Programmer, in Children's Books

Pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace is now the subject of a variety of books for all ages!

English mathematician Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world's first computer programmer for her invention of the computer algorithm. Born in 1815 to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Lovelace's mathematical talents led to an ongoing collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, who called Lovelace the "Enchantress of Numbers." While translating an article by an Italian engineer on Babbage's Analytical Engine, a proposed early version of a mechanical general-purpose computer, Ada added her own extensive set of notes, three times as long as the original article, which contained a tremendous breakthrough — the first computer program or algorithm!

Ada Lovelace's important contributions to the development of computers were nearly lost to history, but fortunately her story is becoming more widely known today. She is now the subject of a variety of books for readers of all ages and, in this blog post, we've showcased these titles along with toys and posters paying tribute to the mathematical genius who envisioned today's computer age.

Books & Resources Celebrating Ada Lovelace

This Little Trailblazer

A Girl Power Primer

This Little Trailblazer

A Girl Power Primer

Written by: Joan Holub
Illustrated by: Daniel Roode
Recommended Age: 1 - 4

This empowering board book is a great way to teach kids that "little trailblazers cause great big changes!" Ten groundbreaking women leaders are featured in this book, ranging from computer pioneer Ada Lovelace to athlete Wilma Rudolph to prima ballerina Maria Tallchief. Each woman's story is told in a short verse and accompanied by a cheerful illustration, while a final two-page spread provides a list of twelve more women whose stories you can explore together.

Ada Lovelace (Little People, Big Dreams)

Ada Lovelace (Little People, Big Dreams)

Illustrated by: Zafouko Yamamoto
Recommended Age: 5 - 8

Ada Lovelace was a girl who combined a love for numbers with a vivid imagination — and as the daughter of a noble family whose mother was a mathematician, she was encouraged to develop her gift for math and logic. As an adult, she met Charles Babbage, the inventor of an early mechanical computer — and in her work with him, she not only wrote the first algorithm to be performed by a machine, but she also envisioned our computer age. This inspiring book from the Little People, BIG DREAMS series pays tribute to a computing pioneer.

Women in Science Boxed Gift Set (Little People, Big Dreams)

Women in Science Boxed Gift Set (Little People, Big Dreams)

Written by: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Recommended Age: 5 - 8

The internationally bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series pays tribute to groundbreaking women of science in this hardcover gift set! In this collection, kids will meet Ada Lovelace, Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie, three very different women whose contributions to science still resonate today. In each title, stylish illustrations and engaging text encourage kids to learn more about these women — and to dream big about their own futures. For another box set from this series, check out the Women in Art Boxed Gift Set.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Written by: Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by: April Chu
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

Thanks to her mathematically talented mother, Anne Isabella Byron, young Ada had the opportunity to develop her remarkable intelligence. Years later, when she met Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, he named her the Enchantress of Numbers for her astounding mathematical skills. Little did either of them know that, when she designed an algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, she would be making history — by writing the world’s first computer program! With vivid artwork and intriguing anecdotes about Lovelace's genius, this picture book biography pays homage to a little-known but deeply influential figure in computing history.

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science

The First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science

The First Computer Programmer

Written by: Diane Stanley
Illustrated by: Jessie Hartland
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

From an early age, Ada Lovelace had a vivid imagination — one that made her mother, Annabella, determined to keep her daughter's feet on the ground, and her mind on logic. Ada studied science, math, and machinery, and turned her imagination to connecting ideas in creative ways — from imagining flying on mechanical wings to writing the first algorithm designed to be performed by a machine. Lyrical, storylike writing and vibrant illustrations capture this science pioneer's sense of wonder, including a glorious final spread where Ada flies over a futuristic cityscape, one in which machines and creative minds work hand in hand.

Ada's Ideas

The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer

Ada's Ideas

The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer

Written by: Fiona Robinson
Illustrated by: Fiona Robinson
Recommended Age: 6 - 9

As the daughter of a poet, Lord Byron, and a mathematician, Anna Isabella Milbanke, Ada Lovelace was born between two worlds. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother feared Ada would be tainted by her father's "mad" love of poetry — so Ada studied mathematics and logic, and poetry was not allowed. Despite that, Ada saw the art in numbers; in fact, she called mathematics "poetical science." And when she learned about Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, she imagined a world where computers did far more than calculate figures. This picture book biography of the computing pioneer emphasizes her conceptual blending of science and art, which allowed her to predict today's computer age.

Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers?

The Story of Ada Lovelace

Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers?

The Story of Ada Lovelace

Written by: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman
Recommended Age: 6 - 9

Before she wrote the world's first computer program, Ada Lovelace was a child who had to shoulder the high expectations of her mother, mathematical genius Annabella Milbanke — including tutors from the age of four and constant math drills, even when she was sick. But Ada combined her mother's logical mind with her father Lord Byron's vivid imagination, and she was consumed by a passion for new ideas, especially ones that blended science and art in unique ways. And when she learned about Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, that sparked an idea... This vibrant biography by the author of Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, captures Lovelace's exuberance and energy, both in its enthusiastic text and in its colorful illustrations.

Galaxy Girls

50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space

Galaxy Girls

50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space

Written by: Libby Jackson
Recommended Age: 7 - 12

This gorgeously illustrated collected biography honors inspirational women who helped fuel some of the greatest achievements in space exploration from the nineteenth century to today! Galaxy Girls pays tribute to fifty pioneering women past and present, including Lovelace, from mathematicians to engineers to test pilots to astronauts. Each capsule biography is paired with a striking full-page original artwork from the students of the London College of Communication. Perfect for inspiring the space leaders of tomorrow, this stunning book gives this band of heroic sisters and their remarkable and often little known scientific achievements long overdue recognition.

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Programmers
New!

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Programmers
New!

Written by: Karen Bush Gibson
Illustrated by: Hui Li
Recommended Age: 8 - 11

In our computer age, it's astonishing the things you can do with programming! In this book from the Gutsy Girls Go For Science series, you'll meet female programmers Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, the ENIAC women, Dorothy Vaughan, and Margaret Hamilton. Then, through hands-on projects like learning about variables and designing a web page, you'll learn more about how the programmers of today are helping automate, connect, and enhance our world! It's sure to leave her eager to sit down at the keyboard and really get to know the ins and outs of how her computer works.

Women in Science

50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Women in Science

50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Written by: Rachel Ignotofsky
Recommended Age: 9 and up

This charmingly illustrated and educational book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection profiles a diverse group of scientific groundbreakers, including Ada Lovelace. Each profile features an illustration with a few key facts, and a capsule biography with the hightlights of each woman's life. Fans of the art style can also get Ignotofsky's Ada Lovelace poster.

Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer

Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer

Written by: Emily Arnold McCully
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Introduce tweens and teens to Ada Byron Lovelace in this detailed portrait of the computing pioneer. Lovelace's mother kept her isolated, but hired the best tutors to instruct her talented daughter in a curriculum of math and science very different from the education of most girls of her day. When the 17-year-old Ada met Charles Babbage, their collaboration would hint at the computer age still 200 years in the future. Author Emily Arnold McCully dives deeply into Lovelace's complex and difficult life, and explores her lasting influence which is only now being properly recognized.

Magnificent Minds

16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine

Magnificent Minds

16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine

Written by: Pendred E. Noyce
Recommended Age: 12 and up

Though we know few of their names, throughout the centuries there have been women who defied their social roles to broaden our understanding of the world. In this book, which grew out of an exhibit in the Groller Club in New York, Pendred Noyce explores 16 of these daring and curious women who made their marks in the world of science and medicine. From Florence Nightingale's pioneering use of statistics to improve public health, to Lise Meitner's explanation of nuclear fission, to Ada Byron Lovelace's creation of the first computer algorithm, these intriguing portraits capture both the importance of their work, but also the spirit and dreams of these groundbreaking women.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

Written by: Sydney Padua
Illustrated by: Sydney Padua
Recommended Age: 14 and up

Ada Lovelace translated Charles Babbage’s plans for a mechanical calculator in 1842, but this mathematical genius did more than just rewrite his words: she also added annotations three time longer than the original work and buried within them was the origin of computing theory. Sadly, the Difference Engine was never built... but what if it had been? In this rollicking graphic novel, Padua presents an alternate reality where Lovelace and Babbage build their machine and use it for everything from exploring mathematics to fighting crime. This unique and intriguing graphic novel that combines history and fantasy is sure to delight both teen and adult readers alike.

Ada's Algorithm: How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age

Ada's Algorithm: How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age

Written by: James Essinger
Recommended Age: Adults

Ada Lovelace's father Lord Bryon was the 18th century version of a rock star, while Lovelace herself was considered an odd figure, daring to attempt a career in mathematics despite it being "beyond the strength of a woman’s physical power of application." But decades after her death, computer pioneers discovered her work with Charles Babbage as he invented the first computer, and her revolutionary notes containing the world's first computer program. Based on ten years of research, James Essinger makes the case that this 200-year-old invention was the true beginning of the computer age.

Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace

Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace

Written by: Jennifer Chiaverini
Recommended Age: Adults

Young Ada Lovelace has a brilliant mind — but it's being carefully shaped. Her mother dreads the possibility that Ada could allow passion to destroy her, the same way that her father did, and forbids creativity, passion, and poetry, instead drilling her in mathematics and science. But Ada can't help but let her imagination soar, and when she is introduced into London society, she forms an unexpected and exciting friendship with Charles Babbage, the creator of the Difference Engine, a machine that can calculate. Her work with the Difference Engine will provide an opportunity for creativity and mathematical genius to walk hand in hand... This novelization of Lovelace's life story captures both the obstacles she faced and her remarkable foresight in imagining our computer age.

Women in Science - Ada Lovelace Poster

Women in Science - Ada Lovelace Poster

Manufacturer: Rachel Ignotofsky
Recommended Age: All Ages

Fans of Rachel Ignotofsky's book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World will love being able to decorate their walls with poster-sized prints of her artwork! This poster featuring Ada Lovelace includes short points about some of her influence and legacy, as well as an image of Lovelace herself. This print comes on high-quality paper and is printed with archival ink; it is available in 8X10, 11X14, and 16X20 inch sizes.

Ada Lovelace Finger Puppet / Magnet

Ada Lovelace Finger Puppet / Magnet

Recommended Age: 3 and up

Why not decorate your filing cabinet with the woman who envisioned the computer that sits on the desk next to it! This Ada Lovelace finger puppet / magnet from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild is a unique way to bring the Enchantress of Numbers into your life. At approximately 4" tall, and elegantly dressed to match a portrait, she's an empowering addition to the toy box or an inspiration on your fridge door.

Great Women of Mathematics Poster

Great Women of Mathematics Poster

Manufacturer: Platonic Realms
Recommended Age: 6 and up

Inspire your students with this beautifully designed poster from Platonic Realms featuring portraits and mini-biographies of ten of the greatest women of mathematics, from the ancient world to the 20th century! The mathematicians featured on this poster include Hypatia of Alexandria, Maria Agnesi, Sophie Germain, Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Emmy Noether, Eugenia Haynes, Mary Cartwright, and Katherine Johnson. It's available in two sizes, 13 by 19 inches and 18 by 25 inches.

The History of Women in Engineering and Math Poster

The History of Women in Engineering and Math Poster

Manufacturer: Learning ZoneXpress
Recommended Age: 6 and up

Celebrate women in STEM with his poster featuring pioneering female engineers and mathematicians! This laminated, 23 by 35 inch poster features Hypatia of Alexandria, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Sophie Germain, Ada Lovelace, Martha J. Coston, Emily Warren Roebling, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Kate Gleason, Mary Walton, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Emmy Noether, Edith Clarke, Olive Wetzel Dennis, M. Gertrude Rand, Elsie Eaves, Irmgard Flügge-Lotz, Katherine Johnson, Beatrice Hicks, Yvonne C. Brill, Marilyn Jorgensen Reece, Ursula Burns, and Helen Greiner.

Amazon.co.uk

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