Computers and technology are omnipresent today. Screens abound and with them frequent contact with our loved ones far away (“Hey Grammy!”), instantaneous access to information (“Yes, it looks like pelicans really do eat crabs!”), directions to new places and many more awesome opportunities. But they also bring with them dangers that we, as parents, are growing increasingly aware of. Is the solution to lock away all screens and return to a frontier lifestyle? Perhaps. But more likely it’s simply to teach our children wise technology usage and model good behavior. Books can always help, so here are a few worth investigating as you encourage your children to be wise, unplug and use computers and technology to do awesome things (like code!) rather than just waste time. And don’t worry, we threw in a few about computer history as well… because who doesn’t love Ada Lovelace!?
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science - From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer. Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella. Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind. A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing - A true story from one of the Women of NASA! Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world. Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed. Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine - Offers an illustrated telling of the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, from her early creative fascination with mathematics and science and her devastating bout with measles, to the ground-breaking algorithm she wrote for Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.
Ada's Ideas - Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, a poet, and Anna Isabella Milbanke, a mathematician. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother insisted on a logic-focused education, rejecting Byron’s “mad” love of poetry. But Ada remained fascinated with her father and considered mathematics “poetical science.” Via her friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, she became involved in “programming” his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer, thus becoming the world’s first computer programmer. This picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art.
Want to see books about history?
Gabi's If/Then Garden - Gabi’s garden needs some help. Where to begin? Gabi and her best friend Adi use if/then statements to decide what to plant, what to water, and what to pick! These scientific thinkers find ways every day to use computer coding concepts to make work and play more fun!
Adi's Perfect Patterns and Loops - Best friends Adi and Gabi love to play with Adi’s toy train. Round and round it goes-choo choo! Watching it loop the track gives the girls an idea. These scientific thinkers use their computer coding knowledge to put the train to work!
Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition - New York Times bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly’s book is now available in a new edition perfect for young readers. This is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner. Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.
The Girl with a Mind for Math - Meet Raye Montague—the hidden mastermind who made waves in the U.S. Navy! After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted—finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever. The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!
Want to see books about Female Scientists?
The Exact Location of Home - Kate Messner pens a new moving tale of family and friendship about a tech-savvy boy searching for his father during tough times. Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are, after all, much more predictable than most people—especially his father, who he hasn’t seen in over a year. When his dad’s latest visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo—a garage sale GPS unit—for help. Convinced that his dad is leaving clues around town to explain his absence, Zig sets out to find him. Following one clue after another, logging mile after mile, Zig soon discovers that people aren’t always what they seem . . . and sometimes, there’s more than one set of coordinates for home. An important story of love and hope that will capture readers’ hearts, The Exact Location of Home is another must read from beloved author Kate Messner.
Tea with Grandpa - No matter how far apart they are, a little girl and her grandfather share a cup of tea every day at half past three.
The Great Googlini - Filip, the ten-year-old son of Croatian immigrants, lives in a boring suburb of the big city,where he passes his time either at school or in his cozy kitchen, googling everything from dinosaurs to the Hubble Space Telescope. When his favorite uncle gets sick, Filip turns to Google for answers. Instead he receives a visit from the Great Googlini, a tiny woman in Converse sneakers who swirls out of the computer vents. She’s not really a genie, she explains: “I’m more of an archivist.” Her visit is a little bit of magic that lets Filip see the magic all around him. Ultimately about the things we can know and the things we can’t, this is a smart, touching, funny chapter book about growing up, braving tough times and looking for answers.
Want to see books about family?
Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1) - Emma Woods knows just how to fix all her peers’ problems-or so she thinks-in this first book in the brand-new middle grade series Ask Emma, from the bestselling creators behind the Cupcake Club series! When 13-year-old Emma Woods gets that tingling feeling in her fingertips, she knows she’s on to a great idea-and starting an advice blog for her classmates at Austen Middle may be one of her most brilliant ones yet! Who better to give advice on friendship, style, school, and even crushes than someone who’s going through it too? But when Ask Emma goes live, she quickly realizes not everyone sees it that way. Suddenly, Emma is bombarded with peers asking her to help them postpone quizzes, get out of detention, and cut gym class short. This wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. . . .What’s worse, someone is posting hurtful comments, telling her to mind her own business. Despite her good intentions, Emma’s blog seems to only be getting her-and her friends—deeper and deeper into trouble. Will Ask Emma come to an end before it’s really begun? Or can Emma find her voice, write what’s in her heart, and truly stand up for what she believes in? This book will include an appendix on cyberbullying resources.
Spotlight on Coding Club! - Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code! It’s almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn’t be more excited. It’s her time to take center stage! Plus, she and her friends from coding club are putting together an awesome coding program for the show. But Erin has a big secret: she has anxiety. And when things start piling up at home and school, she starts having trouble handling everything. Her friends from coding club have always been there for her, but will they be as understanding when the going gets tough? Sometimes in coding—like in friendship—things don’t go exactly as planned, but the outcome can be even better than you’d imagined.
Robot Queen - Today is a special day at Kylie Jean’s school, where everyone works on computer projects and learning coding, and Kylie is fascinated by the robotics team called RoboGirls—so she resolves to build a robot of her own, so she can impress the older girls, and join the team in time for the competition.
TBH #3: TBH, Too Much Drama - Told entirely in text messages, the third book in this addictive series from the acclaimed author of 11 Before 12 is perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rachel Renee Russell. Cece, Gabby, and Prianka can’t wait for Spirit Week, aka the last week of school before summer break! And they’re already making plans for the best summer ever—including a friends-only camping trip, plenty of pool time, and a top-secret shared notebook. But between Pajama Day and pizza parties, Gabby accidentally leaks Cece’s most embarrassing secret to the whole school in a meme that goes viral. Half the squad thinks it’s no big deal, but Cece needs a time-out from all the drama—even if that means taking a break from her best friends.
Want to see books about school?
My Life as a Youtuber - Book 7 of the much-loved My Life series that has the irrepressible Derek Fallon starting his own Youtube web series! Derek Fallon finally found something to get excited about at school—an extracurricular class on making videos! Together with his friends Carly, Matt, and Umberto, Derek can’t wait to create his own Youtube web series. But he soon realizes Youtube stardom is a lot of work. On top of that, it’s time for his foster monkey Frank to go to monkey college so Derek must scramble to find a reason for Frank to stay with his family—if only a little while longer. Can Derek solve both problems at once? What if Frank became a part of Derek’s Youtube videos? Here’s another funny and thoughtful novel in the series that centers around most every tween today’s pastime—Youtube! A Christy Ottaviano Book
Team BFF - After signing up for a “hackathon” day of coding, Sophia and her coding club friends welcome a robotics expert into their group, but find their teamwork challenged by conflicting opinions.
Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - Meet Ruby—a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming will be reinforced through fun playful exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity. In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Want to see books about problem solving?
Alan Turing - In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Alan Turing, the genius code cracker and father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Alan grew up in England, where his best friends were numbers and a little boy called Christopher. When his young friend died, Alan retreated to the world of numbers and codes, where he discovered how to crack the code of the Nazi Enigma machine. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant mathematician’s life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
Neural Networks for Babies - Neural Networks for Babies by Chris Ferrie is a colorfully simple introduction to the study of how machines and computing systems are created in a way that was inspired by the biological neural networks in animal and human brains. It is never too early to become a scientist! With scientific and mathematical information from an expert, this is the perfect book for enlightening the next generation of geniuses.
Quantum Computing for Babies - Simple explanations of complex ideas for your future genius! Written by experts, Quantum Computing for Babies is a colorfully simple introduction to the magical world of quantum computers. Babies (and grownups!) will discover the difference between bits and qubits and how quantum computers will change our future. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic concepts to even the youngest scientists. After all, it’s never too early to become a quantum physicist! Baby University: It only takes a small spark to ignite a child’s mind.
Baby Code! Music - It’s never too early to get little ones interested in computer coding with this unique series of board books! How do you explain coding in music to a baby? By showing how it’s all around them, and how they can take part in it, of course! By using experiences common in a baby’s world, like hearing a melody from a mobile or tapping on an electronic xylophone, this charming board book full of bright, colorful illustrations is the perfect introduction to coding in music for babies and their caregivers–and is sure to leave them wanting to learn more!
Baby Code! Art - It’s never too early to get little ones interested in computer coding with this unique series of board books! How do you explain coding in art to a baby? By showing how it’s all around them, and how they can take part in it, of course! By using items in a baby’s world, like a camera or a block made from a 3D printer, this charming board book full of bright, colorful illustrations is the perfect introduction to coding in art for babies and their caregivers–and is sure to leave them wanting to learn more!
Baby Code! - It’s never too early to get little ones interested in computer coding with this unique series of board books! How do you explain coding to a baby? By showing how it’s all around them, and how they can take part in it, of course! By using items common in a baby’s world, like a teddy bear and electric train, this charming board book full of bright, colorful illustrations is the perfect introduction to coding for babies and their caregivers—and is sure to leave them wanting to learn more!