Picture book biographies have been hugely popular this year. Reflecting recent calls for increased diversity, these books aren’t all about the same few famous dead white guys, either. This week we are featuring some of the excellent titles nominated for a 2015 Cybils award in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category.
Let’s kick off picture book biography week with Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu, which is the story of a unique and fascinating woman who was years ahead of her time.
Adults may have heard of the British poet Lord Byron, but likely they have missed the story of his inventive math whiz of a daughter, Ada Byron Lovelace. Lovelace overcame a severe childhood illness to write the first computer program. Who knows what she might have achieved if she hadn’t died at a relatively young age and if her collaborator, Charles Babbage, had actually built the analytical machine he had planned.
The combination of Wallmark’s passionate text and April Chu’s superb bold illustrations make this book stand out from the pack. Children will appreciate the fact Chu included a playful cat in the illustrations, adding interest and continuity from page to page.
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is likely to resonate with kids interested in computers, math, and engineering and inspire some who haven’t yet found their passions. History buffs, particularly those interested in women’s history, will also want to check it out.
Have you seen this book yet? What did you think?
Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Creston Books (October 13, 2015)
For more books like this, check our list of 21+ children’s books about women scientists at Science Books for Kids.
List of other Picture Book Biographies Featured:
- Tuesday: Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews
- Wednesday: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
- Thursday: Growing Up Pedro
Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.