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

Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn, illus. by Chelsea Beck. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-368-01105-1
The history of three women—Jean Jennings, Kay McNulty, and Betty Snyder—who created the code for an experimental WWII computer and made fundamental contributions to computer science, anchor this book. Though the story is framed as “some people thought there was a better way... to solve routine problems by using machines,” the problem these women focused on was anything but routine: programming EINAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) for a missile launch, shown in Beck’s stylized cartoon illustrations. Moreover, the text reduces these trailblazers to one-dimensional characters: “Jean, persistent and consistent”; “A+ Kay, never misses a day”; “left-handed Betty... plays her own way.” The larger story of how the women came to be involved with the program is not covered, though the text explains their later contributions to the field, which an authors’ note further discusses. Ages 6–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/26/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Children's
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