Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
Volume 1 – People Who Shaped Our World
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Non-Fiction, Historical
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.

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Grace lived in an era when prejudice against women prevented many of them from achieving their goals. This book acknowledged that while also showing how this specific woman never stopped trying to push the limits of what society thought were acceptable subjects for her to study and projects for her to work on once she graduated and began putting her schooling to use. She simply refused to accept the artificial limitations placed on her due to her gender no matter what anyone said. I found that admirable and thought it was exactly the right way to approach this topic for young readers.

Not everything Grace tried to do was successful at first, of course. Failures happen to everyone eventually, and even more often for folks who are trying something completely new. Seeing how she reacted to those many setbacks only made me like her even more. Her attitude in those difficult moments showed the audience who she really was as a human being, and it also made her a great role model for readers of all ages.

Some of my favorite portions of this picture book were the ones that told funny stories about Grace’s life. She defied people’s expectations of her from a very early age, and that sometimes lead to her saying or doing things that nobody could have predicted. One of them involved clocks of all things, and the rest will be even more amusing if new readers don’t know a thing about them in advance. She had a wonderful personality that shone through at its brightest during these moments.

Anyone who enjoys using a computer or accessing the Internet should check out Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code to see how these things became possible.

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