Dreaming in Code

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Some good well-written books appeal to select audiences, andDreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer by Emily Arnold McCully is one of these. With the names of her father Lord Byron to appeal to English majors and her friend Charles Babbage to computer nerds, her story has an appeal to those two groups. Education emphasis on STEM learning adds yet another group to her audience. In my opinion, the book is of the most interest to middle grade and older students because of its vocabulary and the advantage that prior knowledge will serve in understanding its story. 

With that said, in an interesting biography, Ada Byron was born to Anne Isabella Byron and Lord George Gordon Byron on January 15, 1816 and was barely a month old when her mother fled London with her. Her controlling mother had her tutored and raised her in isolation, keeping her from any meaningful contact with her father. Within this confinement, Ada developed a love for math, science, and mental posers. 

As was expected of her in that day, Ada was presented to society as eligible for marriage at seventeen. While she performed as expected at this debut, she had much more interest in meeting Charles Babbage a month later. An already famous inventor and mathematician who was a year older than her mother, the two formed a friendship that would continue between two people who were equally quirky. While Ada would eventually become a wife and mother, her work with Babbage as a pioneer in the information age becomes her call to fame.

One more group can be added to this select audience for this book – those who are captivated by biographies of dysfunctional families.  With double college majors in English and science and a love of unusual biographies, I found the book fascinating.