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Instructions Not Included: How a Team of Women Coded the Future



by
Tami Lewis Brown ,Debbie Loren Dunn
illustrated by
Chelsea Beck

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Disney Book Group
Imprint
Disney-Hyperion
ISBN
9781368011051

Awards and Honors
NSTA Best STEM Books - 2020
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
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Click. Whir. Buzz.

Not so long ago, math problems had to be solved with pencil and paper, mail delivered by postman, and files were stored in paper folders and metal cabinets. But three women, Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty knew there could be a better way. During World War II, people hoped ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), one of the earliest computers, could help with the war effort. With little guidance, no instructions, and barely any access to the machine itself, Betty, Jean, and Kay used mathematics, electrical engineering, logic, and common sense to command a computer as large as a room and create the modern world.

The machine was like Betty, requiring outside-the-box thinking, like Jean, persistent and consistent, and like Kay, no mistakes, every answer perfect. Today computers are all around us, performing every conceivable task, thanks, in large part, to Betty, Jean, and Kay’s pioneering work. Instructions Not Included is their story.

Authors’ note, with photographs. Resources. Full-color illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

64

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 10 1/4"

Dewey

004.092

AR

4.6: points 0.5

Lexile

890L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Mar 2020

Book Genres

Picture Book

Topics

Jean Bartik (1924–2011). Kay Mauchly–Antonelli (1921–2006). Frances Elizabeth Holberton (1917–2001). US women computer scientists. Biography. ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer).

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

In January of 1942, a classified ad appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper seeking women mathematicians to aid the war effort by calculating weapon trajectories. Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty proved to have exceptional problem-solving skills. They were invited to a secret lab at the University of Pennsylvania to figure out a way to tell the world’s largest computer, the ENIAC, how to conduct specific calculations. Initially, the women were not allowed to see it; still, they worked tirelessly to determine a way to translate the logic of mathematics into a code the machine could understand. The day before the computer was to be unveiled to important dignitaries, the women discovered that ENIAC spits out incorrect answers. Working through the night, Betty fell asleep and found a solution in a dream. Within the story, we learn that all of the women went on to design important innovations in computer programming. The back matter adds information about each woman’s contributions. Beck’s illustrations are executed with simple, clean lines that artfully represent the myriad expressions on the women’s faces as they tackle complex problems, experience satisfaction, and show determination. Some pages are in color; others are in shades of black and white. Each woman is featured with her own distinctive color. The narrative consists of short, carefully laid out words, sentences, and stanza-like paragraphs reminiscent of free verse poetry. An important and motivating contribution for young readers about women pioneers in STEM.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

In January of 1942, a classified ad appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper seeking women mathematicians to aid the war effort by calculating weapon trajectories. Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty proved to have exceptional problem-solving skills. They were invited to a secret lab at the University of Pennsylvania to figure out a way to tell the world’s largest computer, the ENIAC, how to conduct specific calculations. Initially, the women were not allowed to see it; still, they worked tirelessly to determine a way to translate the logic of mathematics into a code the machine could understand. The day before the computer was to be unveiled to important dignitaries, the women discovered that ENIAC spits out incorrect answers. Working through the night, Betty fell asleep and found a solution in a dream. Within the story, we learn that all of the women went on to design important innovations in computer programming. The back matter adds information about each woman’s contributions. Beck’s illustrations are executed with simple, clean lines that artfully represent the myriad expressions on the women’s faces as they tackle complex problems, experience satisfaction, and show determination. Some pages are in color; others are in shades of black and white. Each woman is featured with her own distinctive color. The narrative consists of short, carefully laid out words, sentences, and stanza-like paragraphs reminiscent of free verse poetry. An important and motivating contribution for young readers about women pioneers in STEM.

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