Laurie Wallmark Presents: STEM books with Curriculum Guides for Teachers.

Looking for great STEM books to use in the classroom?  Check out these gems from Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine are picture book biographies of computer science pioneers. These book and the associated teacher guide activities are appropriate for grades K-5.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, 2017) by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

 

 

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Grace%20Hopper%20guide.pdf

 

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Ada%20Lovelace%20guide.pdf

 

www.lauriewallmark.com

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and many national awards including Outstanding Science Trade Book and Cook Prize Honor Book. Her latest picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star and is on several public library’s best of lists. Laurie has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. When not writing, she teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College.  

 

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Laurie Wallmark Presents: A new PB about Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code.

WHAT 3 WORDS BEST DESCRIBE GRACE HOPPER?

Curious. Persistent. Unique                       

HOW WAS SHE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TERM “COMPUTER BUG”?
The term “bug” to represent a problem in machinery pre-dated Grace by quite a bit. Thomas Edison coined the term in the 1870s to refer to a problem in a telegraph system he was designing. Grace was the first one to use it in reference to computers, though. Her team found an actual bug, a moth, stuck in a computer relay. This “computer bug” caused a program to malfunction.

HOW DID GRACE SERVE HER COUNTRY?

Grace was proud to serve her country in the United States Navy. From the beginning, her service always involved work with computers. She retired at age 79 as a Rear Admiral. Her feelings about the Navy are summed up with the following quotation: “I’ve received many honors and I’m grateful for them; but I’ve already received the highest award I’ll ever receive, and that has been the privilege and honor of serving very proudly in the United States Navy.”

GRACE SEEMED TO HAVE A FEW SAYING’S OR BELIEFS ON HOW TO GET THROUGH LIFE.  WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

I love the self-confidence she exhibited at age nine when she wrote, “The world will be a better place / When all agree with me.” Don’t we all feel that way now and then?

Click here to join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.

Laurie Wallmark
www.lauriewallmark.com    

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, May 2017)

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston, 2015)

 

April Chu: On Illustration, Art, and Picture Book Success.

I had the pleasure of meeting picture book illustrator APRIL CHU at the 2015 American Library Association Convention in San Fransisco (ALA).  We shared a table and signed books for our publisher CRESTON BOOKS. Since then, April’s books have been earning recognition for the beauty and distinct quality of her illustrations.  Here she is to talk about her process and how the books came to be.

  1. Tell us a bit about your background and art training.

I studied architecture at UC Berkeley and worked as an architect for over ten years before I decided I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. I never had any formal art training, but I don’t think I went a day in my life without doing some sort of doodling.

2. What brought you to illustration?

I’ve always loved drawing but I didn’t know how to channel that into something I can do professionally. Then in 2009 I took a children’s book illustration course at the UC Berkeley Extension and I fell in love with the whole book making process. A few years later, I decided to pursue illustration seriously.

3. Two recent books you’ve illustrated – A VILLAGE BY THE SEA, and ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE –  are with CRESTON BOOKS, which happens to be my publisher as well.  How did you end up working for Creston?

I met Marissa Moss at a book party that she was hosting. She had just started up her press, Creston Books. I brought along my portfolio and she thought I’d be a good fit for a manuscript she had just acquired called IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA (Muon Van, author).   Village Cover (1)

I read the story and knew instantly that that was the project for me! After completing the artwork, Marissa offered me another book. This time it was an intriguing biography about the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Byron Lovelace. Working with Marissa and Creston Books has been such an amazing collaborative effort. I hope there are many more collaborations to come!

 

  1. The books mentioned have been earning a lot of praise and well-deserved starred reviews. How has that changed things for your career?

It has been great! I am usually working on my artwork alone and I only really get feedback from my editor and my husband. So once the book is released into the world, it’s such a relief and wonderful feeling when it’s welcomed with such warmth and positive attention. As an illustrator, the reviews and feedback definitely help me stay in the business.

5. I adore your illustration. They are so richly textured and three dimensional.  I feel like I can touch the drawings and everything will come to life.   Tell us a bit about your process.

Thank you! Before I begin sketching, I will read a manuscript many times so that I can do some initial brainstorming. For nonfiction stories like ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Laurie Wallmark, author) there is usually some extensive research involved.    Ada Cover

After brainstorming and researching, I begin working on the thumbnail sketches, then the book dummy, and then the final sketch. This process can be quite lengthy with lots of revisions along the way. To create the final art, I scan the final pencil sketch into the computer and color the image digitally.

 

  1. What’s a typical work day? 

I usually wake up whenever my 6 month old wakes up, which is usually pretty early. I take care of her and then have a cup of coffee and something healthy for breakfast. I try to sneak work in while she naps which can be half an hour at a time or a few hours at time.

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My husband helps out when he’s home so I can get some extra work done, but usually I am pretty exhausted by then. Basically my work day currently revolves around my daughter! I am still getting used to the new mommy routine and I don’t really have a typical work day anymore.

 

  1. Any words of advice for would-be illustrators?

My advice would be to have a good website with a solid portfolio. And try to get your work out there and don’t be afraid to network! You never know who you are going to meet. It could lead to your next job.

8. What’s next?

I am working on my next picture book about America’s first female detective, Kate Warne. The story is written by Marissa Moss and the book will be published by Creston Books and released Spring 2017. Then afterwards I am illustrating a sweet story about a boy going on a fly fishing trip with his grandfather. This book will be published by Abrams and released Spring 2018. When I am not illustrating, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.

April Chu Headshot (2)Website: www.aprilchu.com

Twitter: @AprilChuART

Hooray For the Winners!

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce the winners of last month’s give-aways.  Drum roll please>>>

The winner of the lovely illustration done by Karen Romagna is KIM PFENNIGWERTH.

Spot #8 Goose Girl  And the winner of a signed copy Laurie Wallmark’s wonderful picture book ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books 2015) is KAREN FORTUNATI.    Ada cover 72dpi

Please send me you information so I can let Karen and Laurie know where to send their masterpieces.

CONGRATULATIONS and thanks to all who commented and entered the contests.

Interview With Children’s PB Author Laurie Wallmark: Blog Tour Exclusive + Give away!

Today I am pleased and excited to be a stop on a blog tour for debut PB Author Laurie Wallmark.  She’ll be talking about her wonderful historical PB about the life of Ada Byron Lovelace, the first female computer programmer.   The book has already earned critical acclaim and a starred review from Kirkus.  If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy of the book, check out the end of this post.

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First, give us some background on how you came to the field of writing for children.
Unlike many of my fellow children’s book authors, I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a writer. I wrote some protest poetry and songs as a child, but that was about it. I didn’t major in English or Creative Writing. Instead, my undergraduate degree is in Biochemistry and my masters is in Information Systems. I’ve always loved reading children’s books, though. One day, out of the blue, I thought of an idea for a middle grade novel. I wrote for about an hour every day and soon had produced the perfect manuscript, or so I thought. I was wrong. Many years and many manuscripts later, not to mention a great deal of time spent working on my writing craft, I finished Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine.

Your debut PB Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books 2015) is historical non fiction. How did you discover Ada and decide to write about her?
The question of how I discovered Ada is one I’m often asked. The answer? I have no idea. Ada is one of the many historical figures and their associated accomplishments I’ve learned about growing up. As a child, like Ada, I wanted to be a professional mathematician, so I read many math-related books and articles. I would guess I heard about her from one of them. Another possibility is from my mother, since she was a math teacher. Maybe she introduced me to Ada. No matter how Ada came to my attention, she was clearly a good subject for my first picture book biography. In a previous career I was a programmer, and I now teach computer science. Ada Byron Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer. Without a doubt, I had to share her story.

What kind of research was involved in writing the book? What part of the research process did you enjoy?
I was fortunate in my research efforts become Ada lived at a time when people wrote letters. In doing my research, I relied heavily on a book (Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers) which contains a curated collection of letters to and from Ada throughout her lifetime. These letters provided great insight into Ada’s character and her relationship with others. I worry that future biographers will not have access to these treasure trove of primary research material, since fewer and fewer people write letters.

What was the most surprising thing you learned throughout the whole process of writing, editing, publication, etc.?
Although I knew that after a manuscript was acquired, you still have to do further revisions, I was surprised by the number of them. Each new version I created uncovered yet another area in the text that could be improved. My wonderful editor, Marissa Moss, was invaluable in leading me to find the true heart of Ada’s story. For the record, from when my agents first expressed interest in my story to when it was sent to the printer, I did about fifteen revisions. These were, of course, in addition to the multitude of revisions I had done throughout the years.

What’s next?
First up is celebrating the launch of  the book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, on October 13, 2015—Ada Lovelace Day. (For those who don’t know, this is an annual celebration of women in technology.) Two months later, I graduate from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I will continue to write for children, both picture books and novels, fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry.                 Ada cover 72dpi

ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, October 2015) is a picture-book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Ada was born two hundred years ago, long before the invention of the modern electronic computer. At a time when girls and women had few options outside the home, Ada followed her dreams and studied mathematics. This book, by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu, tells the story of a remarkable woman and her work. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as a “splendidly inspiring introduction to an unjustly overlooked woman.” [starred review]

Laurie Wallmark writes exclusively for children. She can’t imagine having to restrict herself to only one type of book, so she writes picture books, middle-grade novels, poetry, and nonfiction. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When not writing or studying, Laurie teaches computer science at a local community college, both on campus and in prison. The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, October 2015), is Laurie’s first book.
Website: http://www.lauriewallmark.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauriewallmarkauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauriewallmark

Join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. The next stop on the tour is:  November 6, 2015 – Guest Post (Five Favorite STEM Women in History)
http://www.viviankirkfield.com Picture Books Help Kids Soar (Vivian Kirkfield)

All stops are listed at: http://lauriewallmark.com/blogtour.php.

Now, to win a free signed copy of ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, leave a comment below and your name will be entered in a drawing.  Share this post on social media and you will get a second chance to win.  You have until Monday, 11-2-2015 to enter.  The lucky winner will be announced on this blog on Wednesday, 11-4-2015.