#1166 – GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrations by Katy Wu
Sterling Children’s Books  5/16/2017
978-1-4549-2000-7
48 pages    Ages 5 and up

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“MEET GRACE HOPPER: the woman who revolutionized computer coding.

“An ace inventor, groundbreaker, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she coined the term “computer bug” and developed the program that taught computers to recognize words and not just endless 0’s and 1’s. Grace Hopper tells the inspirational story of this brilliant woman who had a passion for science and math and the firm belief that new solutions to problems were not found by those who said, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’

“RULE BREAKER. CHANCE TAKER. TROUBLEMAKER. AMAZING GRACE!” [INSIDE JACKET]

Review
[WC 513]
Grace Hopper was a brilliant woman, mathematician, a Naval Admiral, and the Queen of Coding. Once upon a time computers knew two things: 0 and 1. Plus, to use a computer one had to be a scientist or a mathematician. Grace Hopper thought it would be better if computers could be used by anyone and to do that, computers needed to be able to understand more than 0 and 1; they needed to understand words. Hopper also thought it would be great if computers could remember pieces of code used often. Once she told the computer to store that part of code, she could then call it up anytime she needed it. No one had done this or even thought to do it. And it seemed no one was even interested in her “complier.”
Hopper’s creativity and brilliance came from her determined stance against the status quo. When one says, “We’ve always done it this way,” they halt creativity, ingenuity, and problem-solving. Hopper fought against it, keeping two items to remind her to think “out of the box:” a Jolly Roger flag and a clock that ran backward. Little nuggets like these are like gold and Grace Hopper: Queen of Coding is made of gold.

Grace Hopper never gave up. She was too small for the Navy, yet she convinced the Navy to accept her (it took about a year), and soon had a long Naval career, retiring as an Admiral. Before this, when Hopper failed the Latin portion of her college entrance exam, she spent the next year learning Latin. One year later, Hopper entered Vassar College. She became a mathematician, figured out how to make a computer understand English, made the first compiler, and coined the phrase “computer bug” for problems with a computer.
Hopper used to say, “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it because it’s much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.” Working with the government in the Navy, put Hopper up against the usual slowdowns in approvals. Hopper’s strategy to deal with this governmental clog probably had her doing a lot of apologizing.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Coding is a wonderful biography of a fascinating woman. Kids and adults will like the story and the book’s format. The end matter includes Grace Hopper’s life timeline, bibliography, additional reading about women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and the honors she received. What is missing is a list of her famous quotes, though a few are sprinkled throughout the story.
Teachers will find Grace Hopper: Queen of Coding inspiring. Not only did she learn to overcome failures and disappointments, she learned how to forge a new path in computer science and for women interested in any STEM field. The digital illustrations show a fun-loving, curious, adept woman who knew how to use the brilliant mind she possessed. The various comical drawings will have kids laughing and accepting Grace Hopper as someone to aspire to as she inspires kids. STEM programs would do well to include Grace Hopper: Queen of Coding in their library.
GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE. Text copyright © 2017 by Laurie Wallmark. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Katy Wu. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sterling Children’s Bookszact, New York, NY.

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Add GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Teacher’s Guide is HERE.

Author, Laurie Wallmark’s Website
Illustrator, Katy Wu’s Website
Grace Murray Hopper Vassar College Biography

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Illustrations from GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE by AUTHOR copyright © 2017 by Katy Wu. Used with permission from Sterling Children’s Books/Sterling Publishing Co.

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Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrations by Katy Wu
Sterling Children’s Books 5/16/2017
9781454920007

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3 thoughts on “#1166 – GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

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