Grace Hopper was a pioneer in computer programming whose accomplishments have had lasting influence.
A breezy introductory verse names some of Hopper’s most notable characteristics, including “Rule breaker. / Chance taker. / Troublemaker.” A prose narrative takes over, explaining how from early childhood she was fascinated by how things worked, disassembling clocks and creating a dollhouse elevator. Fortunately the white girl had parents who supported her talents at a time when women were not encouraged to attain higher learning, especially in math and science. When the country entered World War II, she enlisted in the WAVES, the women’s division of the Naval Reserve, overcoming age and weight restrictions. She worked on programs for the earliest computers and for each more complicated machine that followed, solving complex problems and eventually revolutionizing the use of word commands to replace the binary system. She is credited with first using the term “bug” to describe a computer glitch; she discovered that a moth had caused a computer to break down. She eventually became an admiral and remained in the Navy until she was 80. Wallmark’s tone is admiring, even awestruck, describing Hopper’s skill, inventiveness, and strength of character in straightforward, accessible language, introducing a neglected heroine to a new generation of readers. Wu’s strong, bright digital illustrations perfectly complement the text while incorporating Hopper’s own words in a variety of bold, eye-catching pull quotes scattered throughout the pages.
Amazing Grace indeed. (timeline, bibliography, list of honors) (Picture book/ biography. 7-12)