Hold onto your hats, dear friends. This Perfect Picture Book Friday post is JAM-PACKED!
First of all, the winners of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest have been announced. There were 145 entries…if you’d like to read some of them, hop on over: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-halloweensie-contest-winners.html
Because Susanna is one of the most generous and loving mentors in this kid lit community, in addition to the top winners, she also awarded a bunch of honorable mentions. And I’m thrilled to have gotten one of those. I even get to pick a prize…a choice from several books on the craft of writing. Putting your work out there can be scary, even if it’s not Halloween, but it’s a great way to grow as a writer and connect with others who are traveling the same path.
Another way to grow as a writer is to participate in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. The daily inspirational blog posts of Picture Book Idea Month will knock your socks off and get those creative juices flowing! http://taralazar.com/2015/11/05/piboidmo-day-5-david-michael-slater-listens-plus-a-prize/
A third way to grow as a writer is to read lots and lots of picture books. And that brings us to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for this week, which, by the way, got a starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist! But I told you this post would be JAM-PACKED, right?
The author of today’s book, Laurie Wallmark, invited me to be part of her book blog tour. I am thrilled! At the end of the post you can find the link to the other blogs that are participating…I hope you will travel along. PLUS, Laurie has agreed to share some thoughts about Five Important Women in STEM. You’ll find her guest post after the book review. I know many of you are writing nonfiction picture books…or reading them to your kids. Laurie’s debut picture book is a delight and her post is fantastic!
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by April Chu
Publisher: Creston Books (October 2015)
Ages: Kindergarten and up
Themes: problem solving, creative thinking, women in STEM,
“Ada was born into a world of poetry, but numbers, not words, captured
“Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. When she meets Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, Ada understands the machine better than anyone else and writes the world’s first computer program in order to demonstrate its capabilities.”
Why I like this book:
- The cover and the illustrations are magnificent. I felt like I was leafing through the works of classic painters.
- Encourages problem solving, thinking outside the box, and following your passion.
- History comes alive for kids in this beautifully written picture book—what a wonderful way to peak the interest of young kids in finding out more about math and science—as well as helping them understand the roots of our computer age.
- The book has already received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist…and I’m sure there are many more on the way!!!!
And that’s what we want to do for our kids, right? We want to light a spark that will engender a desire in them to explore, to discover, to create. For girls, this is especially important because for so long they were ignored or excluded from science and math pursuits. I’m thrilled to turn the spotlight over to Laurie as she talks about five important women in history.
When Vivian suggested I write about five important women in history, I wondered how I could possibly narrow down my selection to so few. Contrary to what we might believe from reading history books, women have made major contributions to every field of human endeavor. Became of my interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), I decided to limit my search to women in these fields. And yes, this includes women other than Marie Curie, the only woman scientist many people have heard of.
Of course, Ada Byron Lovelace was first on my list, since my picture book biography about Ada has just been released. You can read more about her in Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. But it wasn’t hard for me to find five other important women in STEM.
Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992) was, like Ada, a computer scientist. She was the first person to use English words in her programs instead of just “1”s and “0”s. She is also credited with inventing the phrase “computer bug,” after her team removed a dead moth that was making a program not work.
Astrophysicist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979) was the first person to discover that the sun consists of mostly hydrogen and helium. One of her Ph.D. thesis readers thought this was incorrect and convinced her she needed to take this information out. This same reader, Henry Norris Russell, is now credited with making this discovery about the composition of the sun and stars.
Emily Noether (1882-1935) is considered by many people, including Albert Einstein, to be the most important woman in mathematics. Called “the mother of modern algebra,” she made contributions in many areas of mathematics. Generous with her knowledge, she often helped other mathematicians with their research.
Mary Fairfax Somerville was a polymath, one who is knowledgeable in many fields of study. Her popular books made science interesting and accessible to everyone, even if they had never had the opportunity to study. She was one of Ada Lovelace’s tutors.
Astronomer Caroline Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848) was the first woman ever to be paid for working in science. She discovered several comets and brought organization to catalogs of stars. She and Mary Somerville were the first female members of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Thank you so very much, Laurie! What fascinating women—history is filled with these hidden gems…it’s up to us, as writers, to ferret out the information and turn it into stories that will engage young readers.
If you’d like to connect with Laurie or learn more about her book or follow along on the blog tour:
ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, October 2015) is a picture-book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Ada was born two hundred years ago, long before the invention of the modern electronic computer. At a time when girls and women had few options outside the home, Ada followed her dreams and studied mathematics.
Laurie Wallmark writes exclusively for children. She can’t imagine having to restrict herself to only one type of book, so she writes picture books, middle-grade novels, poetry, and nonfiction. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When not writing or studying, Laurie teaches computer science at a local community college, both on campus and in prison. The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, October 2015), is Laurie’s first book.
Join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. All stops are listed at: http://lauriewallmark.com/blogtour.php.
September 12, 2015 – Interview
https://floweringminds.wordpress.com Flowering Minds (Darshana Khiani)
September 15, 2015 – Guest post (STEM and Trade Picture Books)
http://frogonablog.net/ Frog on a Blog (Lauri Fortino)
September 22, 2015 – Interview
http://c-c-hall.com/ Writing and Fishing (Cathy Hall)
September 28, 2015 – Guest Post (Writing a Picture Book Biography)
http://mybrainonbooks.blogspot.com My Brain on Books (Joanne Fritz)
October 2, 2015 – Interview
https://stilladreamer.wordpress.com Still a Dreamer (Jeanne Balsam)
October 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Writing About Strong Women)
https://robinnewmanbooks.wordpress.com/ Robin Newman Books
October 9, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Detours on the Road to Publication)
http://yvonneventresca.com/blog.html Yvonne Ventresca’s Blog
October 13, 2015 – Interview
October 13, 2015 – Guest Post (My Writing Firsts)
https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/ Writing and Illustrating (Kathy Temean)
October 18, 2015 – Interview
http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/ The Children’s Book Review
October 20, 2015 – Guest Post (Using Ada in the Classroom)
https://rlkurstedt.wordpress.com/ Kaleidoscope (Roseanne Kurstedt)
October 26, 2015 – Interview
https://darlenebeckjacobson.wordpress.com/ Gold From the Dust (Darlene Beck Jacobson)
November 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Important Women in STEM)
http://www.viviankirkfield.com Picture Books Help Kids Soar (Vivian Kirkfield)
November 6, 2015 – Interview
http://info.vcfa.edu/vcfa-launch-pad/ VCFA Launch Pad
November 13, 2015 – Guest Post (Why Write About Strong, Independent Women?)
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend—the mild weather seems to be holding in New England…and I’m certainly not complaining!