Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Blog Tour

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:

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!

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 cover 72dpi

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,

Opening Lines:

“Ada was born into a world of poetry, but numbers, not words, captured

her imagination.”



From Amazon:

“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.


Laurie Wallmark




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:
September 12, 2015 – Interview Flowering Minds (Darshana Khiani)

September 15, 2015 – Guest post (STEM and Trade Picture Books) Frog on a Blog (Lauri Fortino)

September 22, 2015 – Interview Writing and Fishing (Cathy Hall)

September 28, 2015 – Guest Post (Writing a Picture Book Biography) My Brain on Books (Joanne Fritz)

October 2, 2015 – Interview Still a Dreamer (Jeanne Balsam)

October 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Writing About Strong Women) Robin Newman Books

October 9, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Detours on the Road to Publication) Yvonne Ventresca’s Blog

October 13, 2015 – Interview GirlTalkHQ

October 13, 2015 – Guest Post (My Writing Firsts) Writing and Illustrating (Kathy Temean)

October 15, 2015 – Guest Post (Acrostic Poem) Geek Mom Wanderings and Witchery (Natalie Zaman)

October 18, 2015 – Interview The Children’s Book Review

October 20, 2015 – Guest Post (Using Ada in the Classroom) Kaleidoscope (Roseanne Kurstedt)

October 26, 2015 – Interview Gold From the Dust (Darlene Beck Jacobson)

November 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Important Women in STEM) Picture Books Help Kids Soar (Vivian Kirkfield)

November 6, 2015 – Interview 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!

24 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Blog Tour

  1. What a fascinating book! And congratulations to Laurie!!! I’m thrilled to be adding this book to the PPBF list. And I love those opening lines… because I was born into a family of brilliant mathematicians, but words not numbers always captured my imagination 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is so much to love about this book. I would have loved it as a child — Madam Curie was my hero. But I haven’t heard about Ada Byron Lovelace. Can’t even imagine that a woman would be interested in science and created a computer program. Amazing. Also enjoyed reading about the other powerful women. I’m so pleased to see the emphasis on STEM program for girls — the future.

    Our niece has worked with a group of nuns in Kitenga, Tanzania, to build a school, STEM science building, library, dorms and medical center for 1,500 girls (K-12). The school will finally open in January and open the doors for so many girls to learn. Everything is green and modern. It will be an opportunity for so many girls to prove what they can do! Educating girls will change the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pat, that is fascinating about your niece…how wonderful that she was involved in a project that will bring so much joy and opportunity to girls.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review…I’m in love with Laurie’s book! We need more of this’s what I’m trying to write also. 🙂


  3. What an absolutely fascinating woman about whom I know nothing. I love your question for Laurie and her answers. We are seeing so many more Might Women books being published, which is wonderful. Congratulations on winning a prize in Susanna’s contest, Vivian.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love, love, love great books about women in science! I am, after all, an engineer by training, but I ended up loving words more than math. It just took me a little longer to figure this out and do something about it. 😀 Congrats to Laurie on what sounds like an awesome book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize you were an engineer by trade, Jilanne…it would be so interesting to start a thread on a FB page giving what types of jobs we’ve had. 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview…and you will love this book!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I want this book, and I am fascinated by the other five women the author mentioned! I hope this is the beginning of a series! I’ve never heard of any of them and want to teach my children about them asap! Thanks for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Laurie Wallmark – Will Write for Cookies | Picture Books Help Kids Soar

  7. Pingback: Guest post: 4 children's book author blogging ideas - Build Book Buzz

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