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From the Graphic Science Biographies series

Inspiring and informative.

A look at a historical figure who grasped the myriad possibilities of coding and algorithms two centuries ago.

Ada Lovelace is an appealing and intriguing subject: astonishingly bright, with an unabashed love of learning. Her determined, mathematically gifted mother ensured that Lovelace had access to education in the hope that Ada wouldn’t follow in the irresponsible footsteps of her absent father, Lord Byron. But it also meant that Ada was given the tools to both ground and support her imagination. The narrative is carried entirely by the dialogue and visual depictions of Ada’s experiences, and it packs in a great deal of information at an engaging pace. Bayarri’s clear, rounded illustration style and orderly frames have a friendly, welcoming feel, conveying a sense of Lovelace’s cultural and temporal context—women and men in period dress, travel by carriage, pastoral surroundings. Ada is privileged to be taken seriously and is included in gatherings with notable minds like Mary Somerville, Charles Lyell, and Lovelace’s mentor and eventual colleague Charles Babbage. Lovelace could see the way that math could help design hundreds of things: “The great phenomena of the natural world are expressed through mathematics.” Bayarri convincingly demonstrates that Lovelace’s lively creativity allowed her remarkable gift for numbers to truly flourish. The only disappointment is the paucity of the “further resources” list. Still, this is a fine introduction to Lovelace and her work.

Inspiring and informative. (timeline, glossary, index) (Graphic biography. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72847-826-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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