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[Nonfiction Wednesday] Poetry + Parallelogram = Some Fantastical Computer Programming in “Ada’s Ideas”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


We have just recently launched our new reading theme on fantasy – which is really the antithesis of nonfiction. Nevertheless, I did manage to stretch this picturebook biography to its wild roots, given Ada’s fantastical ideas.


Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer

Written and Illustrated by: Fiona Robinson
Published by: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016 ISBN: 141971872X (ISBN13: 9781419718724)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Ada Lovelace is known for her significant contributions to the mathematical world and to computer programming. In fact, there is also a graphic novel that shows the connection between Lovelace and Baggage in much greater detail, and could also be paired with this book.


What I found really fascinating though is the fact that Ada, apparently, was the daughter of Lord Byron the poet. Ada’s mother, a wealthy and proper woman Anne Isabella Milbanke, quite the gifted mathematician herself, was worried about her husband’s wild ways, that she left him a month after Ada was born.


It was Ada’s mother’s intentions to remove poetry from Ada’s life – so that she will be schooled with pragmatic, practical things that would ensure a bright future for her with guaranteed financial security. Hence, Ada’s day is usually packed quite stringently with proper lessons as she learns her numeracy and letters and languages and music, of course:


But it appears like poetry can not just easily be banished from Ada’s life, as she dreams up fantastical ideas – turning numbers into inventions, rigid mathematical equations to steam powered carrier pigeons that can take flight with the strength of Ada’s ideas.


While Ada did eventually find a good husband, and lived the life of a dutiful wife and a respectable lady with considerable wealth and influence, her fantastical notions never left her and were even given room to breathe especially when she became good friends with Mr. Babbage.


It does appear like poetry and parallelograms – math and vision – numeracy and creativity – can come together to build something fantastical – hence, your first computer programming was born through Ada’s ideas. This is one picturebook biography published this year that you should definitely find and get a hold of quick. Here is an awesome book trailer by Fiona Robinson. Enjoy!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Poetry + Parallelogram = Some Fantastical Computer Programming in “Ada’s Ideas”

  1. Fiona Robinson

    Thank you for this lovely review!


  2. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science – Gathering Books

  3. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] Unlocking Algorithmic Mysteries for the First Analytical Engine in Ada Lovelace’s Picturebook Biography – Gathering Books

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