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Women in computing

Edwards, Sue Bradford and Harris, Duchess  Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA
Middle school, high school
     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library

Hidden Heroes series. This well-researched volume examines the overlooked history of black women who worked for NASA as “human computers.” Despite their essential research and diligence, the women faced segregation and unequal opportunities in the work place. The book also discusses the history of educating black Americans, the Space Race, and basics of aerospace engineering and computation. Archival photos illustrate the account. Reading list, timeline. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Technology; Engineering; Space—Astronautics; NASA; Women—African Americans; African Americans; Women—Astronauts; Scientists; Women—Scientists; Mathematics

Gonzales, Andrea, and Houser, Sophie  Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done
Middle school, high school
     272 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper

Having achieved internet fame in high school with their video game Tampon Run, Gonzales and Houser take turns chronicling their experience, hoping to inspire girls to join the male-dominated fields of technology and entrepreneurship. With black-and-white photographs and relatable details, such as dealing with nerves and parental expectations, the authors make coding, collaboration, and ambition accessible and appealing. An appendix offers basic coding training.
Subjects: Technology; Coding; Internet; Technology; Entrepreneurship; Women—Entrepreneurs; Women—Computer programmers; Computers; Schools—High schools; Video games; Computer games

Robinson, Fiona  Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Abrams

Daughter of a strait-laced mathematician mother and impetuous Romantic poet father (Lord Byron, whom she never knew), Ada “[found] her own sort of poetical expression…through math!” Robinson’s writing is direct and deft (if exclamation point–heavy) and mostly accessible to readers. But what really steal the show are her whimsical illustrations: paper cutouts arranged in layers and photographed for a striking collage effect. Bib.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Great Britain; Lovelace, Ada King; Mathematics; Computers; Women—Biographies; Women—Computer programmers; Coding

Shetterly, Margot Lee  Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space
Gr. 4–6, middle school
    231 pp.    HarperCollins/Harper

The talented black women working at NASA’s Langley facility in the mid-twentieth century started as mathematics “human computers,” but persisted through racism and sexism to make significant contributions as engineers, analysts, and programmers. Shetterly’s outstanding young readers’ edition of her similarly titled adult book highlights the intersecting worlds of educated, middle-class southern African Americans and Cold War space program scientists. Reading list, timeline. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Space; History, Modern—Cold War; Mathematics; African Americans; NASA; Women—African Americans; Space—Astronautics; Space—Space flight; Women—Computer programmers; Women—Engineers; Women—Mathematicians

Stanley, Diane  Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Simon/Wiseman

Illustrated by Jessie Hartland. Stanley emphasizes Lovelace’s right- and left-brain pedigree (her father, whom she never knew, was poet Lord Byron; her mother, a scientist and mathematician). Multiple entry points — Lovelace as female mathematician, nineteenth-century woman balancing career and family, and visionary kept in the background by society — should attract a diverse readership. Hartland’s gouache illustrations combine visual playfulness with concrete points in the narrative. Timeline. Bib., glos.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Great Britain; Lovelace, Ada King; Computers; Mathematics; Women—Biographies; Women—Computer programmers; Coding

Wallmark, Laurie  Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Gr. K–3
    48 pp.    Sterling

Illustrated by Katy Wu. Grace Hopper was mechanically, scientifically, and mathematically minded since childhood, as this biography playfully explains via several anecdotes. Then, while serving almost fifty years in the Navy, she broke barriers for women — and for computer science. A biographical poem graces the front endpapers; the back endpapers mention Hopper’s honors. Kid-appealing digital cartoons are reminiscent of Hopper’s own propensity for doodling. Reading list, timeline. Bib.
Subjects: Biographies; Women—Biographies; Women—Armed forces; Armed forces; Computers; Women—Computer programmers; Hopper, Grace; History, Modern—World War II; United States Navy; Gender roles

From the September 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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