Portrait of Ada Lovelace
by Margaret Sarah Carpenter, 1836
Ada Lovelace Day, an annual event occuring in mid-October, honors women's contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The goal of Ada Lovelace Day is to inspire and encourage girls and women to pursue their interests in these fields. In that spirit, here are Sparrow Tree Square's top picks for upper middle grade and young adult books featuring math- and science-gifted heroines:
High Wizardry by Diane Duane
Eleven-year-old Dairine Callahan's new laptop comes equipped with some rather unusual software: namely, a manual of wizardry. Dairine eagerly embarks upon her "Ordeal", an initiation in which novice wizards are called to fight back against entropy; Dairine's tech-savvy approach includes building and programming a race of sapient computer-like creatures. Young scientists will find a superb role model in this confident, ambitious, unabashedly brainy young wizard.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The protagonist of this classic science fantasy, Meg Murray, is mathematically gifted. Though I find it problematic that Meg's talent is downplayed in favor of a more traditionally feminine concern for her family, Meg is still a relatively strong character considering that A Wrinkle in Time was published (and received the Newbery Medal) in 1962. Furthermore, the book's message of resisting conformity may encourage girls who feel like square pegs because of their interests in math or science.