For Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate these women and how they “Coded the Future!”
I love how children’s authors are unearthing and writing about the untold stories of women’s contributions to our world. INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED exposes kids to three more women who were fabulous mathematicians, the forerunners of today’s computer coders.
These three women were part of the team that turned a pile of wires and tubes into the computer ENIAC (see publisher’s description below). Its first test problem? Calculating an artillery launch for the war effort.
The machine weighed 30 tons and was a third the length of a football field. And rumors circulated that the lights of Philly dimmed when they turned it on.
The authors build tension by showing how these women’s careers were on the line. If the test wasn’t successful, they worried they’d be sent packing. Not to mention it would be a failure for the Allies. I was biting my fingernails in suspense.
It’s instructive to see how the authors painted the three women’s distinct personalities in a single page, each: one is stubborn, one aims to win, and the third is a perfectionist. All three qualities served them well for the daunting task at hand.
It’s also interesting to see how the men in charge congratulated each other on their success, when it was the women who made it all work. Surprising? If you’re a woman in STEM, you shake your head and keep on keeping on.
Three pages of back matter go into more detail about the these women’s lives and the entire ENIAC project. A fabulous selection from Women’s History Month!
Publisher’s flap teaser:
Check out coding resources at the Girls Who Code website
Have fun with Cool Math Games
Even kindergarteners can enjoy Vi Hart’s Möbius strip story about Wind and Mr. Ug (Vi Hart is a fabulous mathematician/artist as well.)
Title: Instructions Not Included: How a Team of Women Coded the Future
Authors: Tami Lewis Brown & Debbie Loren Dunn
Illustrator: Chelsea Beck
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion, 2019
Themes: Computer history, STEM, girl power
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.
9 thoughts on “Instructions Not Included – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF”
It’s great to see some of these forgotten women scientists and mathematicians get a bit of recognition at last. But I do hope they managed to get home in time to make their husbands’ dinners… 😉
Hahahhahhaaaaaa. I’m hoping that, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, their husbands were more inclined to do the cooking. But then again, maybe they were footloose and fancy free or were those superhuman types who managed to do everything.
I love seeing how authors are searching for these ordinary women who made extraordinary contributions to win the war and better mankind.
I keep thinking about the stories that authors will be looking for about ordinary heroes doing extraordinary things during the virius outbreak. There will be so many angles of this story to tell that will include breakthroughs, leading women scientists, acts of heroism, kindness and so on.
Yes! I think now is the time for heroes. And I know that individuals can help our medical/science heroes just by staying home and following guidelines. Take care
Jilanne, this looks like an amazing book. I am excited to get a hold of it, when I can. Thank you!
I think you’ll like it!
It’s always wonderful to learn about people behind the scenes who have influenced our lives without us knowing it. This is a wonderful tribute and I’m happy to be redirecting my thinking and thanks.
Has anyone done a STEM book on Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage? The first programmer and the first computer designer respectivly. A monumental collaboration early in the history of computer science.
Laurie Wallmark. https://www.amazon.com/Ada-Byron-Lovelace-Thinking-Machine/dp/1939547202/