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Dreaming in Code
Cover of Dreaming in Code
Dreaming in Code
Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Emily Arnold McCully graduated from Brown University and earned an MA in history at Columbia University. She is the author of two adult novels and has had her work selected as an O'Henry Prize Story. She has been writing and illustrating children's books since the sixties and has received numerous awards, including a Christopher Award for Picnic, a Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire, and a Jane Addams Children's Book Award for The Escape of Oney Judge. Her biography of Ida M. Tarbell was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.


    About Me
    Books entertained me and taught me about the world from the time I learned to read. I began to draw then, too. My mother noticed that I was trying to draw my surroundings. She said, "Why don't you practice that and try to get it right?" I did. Drawing became my way of connecting with the world. If you study something long and hard enough to draw it, you are really seeing it. You connect your eyes, brain, hand, and heart to that thing or that person or that place.

    My favorite subjects were people. Pretty soon, inspired by books, I was writing little stories about people and drawing pictures to go along with them.

    I drew whenever I had some kind of paper. But I also climbed trees, rode my bike everywhere, played catch with my sister, built forts, made up plays with my friends, and did odd jobs around our house.

    My drawing and painting has always been connected to words. I have always used pictures to tell stories.

    In high school, I was the "class artist," which meant being tapped to make posters, theater backdrops, and so on. In college at Brown, I stopped drawing (except to earn spending money by doing portraits of fellow students). History and literature excited me, and so did being in plays and musicals. I realized I wanted to be a writer when I graduated.
    But I had to earn a living, so I moved to New York City and went back to illustrating. After a few years, I was hired to create a poster advertising a radio station. It would go up in the subway. Although a subway strike was called a week after the poster went up, a children's book editor saw it and got in touch with me. She asked me to illustrate a chapter book. That was the beginning of my career.

    You may not have known that I acted in two off-Broadway plays and belonged to the actors' union. I have published two adult novels and had a short story picked for the O'Henry Collection. I spend hours and hours of my time digging (in the dirt during the summer gardening season and in books while researching historical subjects).

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2019
    A biography of Ada Lovelace, widely celebrated as the first computer programmer.McCully juxtaposes the analytical genius of her subject with her humanizing flaws and personality, painting a portrait of a turbulent soul and a visionary intellect whose promise was cut short by early death. After the acrimonious end of Lord and Lady Byron's relationship, the intelligent Lady Byron sought to distance Ada from both her father himself and his unstable tendencies by giving her a challenging education focused on rational pursuits, math, and science. Lady Byron's portrayal is complex--she's cold and self-centered but determined to provide academic opportunities for her daughter. The book follows Ada's education with her marriage and death from uterine cancer, but both the book and Ada focus on her collaborator, Charles Babbage. A temporary textual shift to focus on Babbage provides necessary context, establishing how advanced and revolutionary Babbage's Difference Engine and Analytical Engine designs were. And yet, Ada was able to see far beyond his visions, conceptualizing the potential of modern computers and predicting such programming techniques like loops. McCully demonstrates that although Ada had the potential to achieve more, she was hampered by sexism, ill health, and a temperament akin to her father's. Appendices summarize Lovelace's notes on the Analytical Engine and present the British Association for the Advancement of Science's rationale for refusing to support its construction.A sophisticated yet accessible piece that humanizes a tragic, brilliant dreamer. (source notes, glossary, bibliography, index [not seen]) (Biography. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2019

    Gr 5-8-Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of poet Lord Bryon, was raised in privilege by her mother, married into an aristocratic, titled family, and received an outstanding education for a woman in the 19th-century. Always inquisitive and showing qualities of genius, Ada had the best tutors in mathematics and science. She met many important men of science, including inventor Charles Babbage. They worked together and produced concepts that presage computer programming. These concepts, as well as Babbage's design of an analytical engine, were forerunners of today's computers. Ada's restless spirit, addiction to gambling, use of narcotics, and poor health plagued her in the last years of her life. She was never able to overcome the prejudice against women in science. For example, she wasn't allowed to enter the building of the Royal Society nor borrow books from its library. This book is divided into five parts that chronicle Ada's life. In addition to the strong supporting back matter, the use of citations is an outstanding feature of this volume. VERDICT An exceptional biography and an important addition for all STEM collections.-Patricia Ann Owens, formerly at Illinois Eastern Community College, Mt. Carmel

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 25, 2019
    McCully (She Did It!) dramatically details the life of Augusta Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), the person first credited with understanding a computer’s potential beyond mathematical calculation. Lovelace’s father was the poet Lord Byron, and her childhood was framed by her principled, domineering mother’s determination to eradicate all traces of his paternity. Privately tutored in mathematics to ward off any poetical instincts, Lovelace thrived intellectually even as she endured physical ill-health and her mother’s emotional coldness. Her introduction at age 17 to her future mentor and collaborator Charles Babbage, inventor of the earliest computer prototypes, changed her life, offering intellectual food and challenge. McCully proceeds with clear explanations of Lovelace’s intellectual activities—in particular, Note G, in which Lovelace proposes an algorithm considered to be the first for a computer—while blending a largely sympathetic view of her personal life: marriage, offspring, gambling and other addictions, and early death from uterine cancer. Archival photos and illustrations, appendices, source notes, a glossary, and a bibliography deepen the portrait of this singular figure whose impact on science and technology has long been understated. Ages 10–14.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2019
    Grades 7-10 Interest in Ada Byron Lovelace and other female pioneers of science has soared of late. This young adult biography is a particularly exemplary example of the burgeoning genre and should find a home in all libraries. Caldecott medalist McCully is careful to show Lovelace as a complex, and sometimes troubled, child, teen, and woman whose love of math was as passionate as love of poetry was to her famous father, the Romantic poet Lord Byron. While Lovelace's mother, a controlling figure who reviled Lord Byron, was rather distant, she did cultivate her daughter's intellect. She also introduced Lovelace to Charles Babbage, a well-known figure in England who was developing a protocomputer called the Analytical Engine. It was Lovelace who foresaw its implications and who ultimately wrote code for its use. While her life was tragically short, she is now generally acknowledged as the first computer programmer. McCully's work is eminently readable, with short chapters and lavish illustrations. It also includes meaty appendixes and source notes for teen scholars. A worthy addition to biography bookshelves.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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