I, Ada: Ada Lovelace: Rebel. Genius. Visionary

I, Ada: Ada Lovelace: Rebel. Genius. Visionary

By Author / Illustrator

Julia Gray


Historical Fiction

Age range(s)



Andersen Press Ltd




Paperback / softback




Ada Byron is rich and clever, but she longs to be free. Free to explore all the amazing ideas that come to her imagination, like flying mechanical horses and stories inspired by her travels. Free to find love and passion beyond the watchful gaze of her mother and governesses. And free to learn the full truth about her father, the notorious Lord Byron. Then Ada meets a man whose invention might just change the world - and he needs her visionary brilliance to bring it to life . . .A wonderfully witty and poignant portrayal of the young life of Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century mathematician who is hailed as the world's first computer programmer.



I, Ada is a fascinating fictionalised biography about a remarkable woman whose achievements are only in recent years becoming recognised, nearly 170 years after her death.

Ada narrates her own story, from the ages of 5 to 21. In many ways, her story echoes the frustrations of today's children and teenagers - teachers either boring or adored; an uncertain relationship with her mother; her first love. But her story also reveals a remarkable mind at work, one which absorbs knowledge and is capable of making incredible leaps of imagination to find common patterns between science and art, and to envisage new technologies.

I, Ada contains powerful feminist themes. All the key characters are women: Ada herself, educated far more that most girls at that time; her mother, a fiercely intelligent philanthropist; and her mother's friends, including the scientist Mary Somerville who becomes Ada's mentor.

The chief male character does not appear in person, but his presence looms large throughout the book - Ada's father; the renowned poet, Lord Byron. Ada, as portrayed in the book, longs to know more about her father, whom she never knew, and who died when Ada was just nine years old.

Today, Ada is rightfully becoming recognised as the genius she undoubtedly was, even having a day in October which celebrates women in STEM named for her. When she lived, her ideas were revolutionary, even thought dangerous, yet we now know Ada as the world's first computer programmer. Ada's story is the next step for fans of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. There are curriculum links to maths, science, ICT and history but I, Ada will appeal to readers in Year 7 or up simply as a great read.

336 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Kimberley Lawson, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


A part fictionalised, part factual account of the childhood and teenage years of the daughter of Lord and Lady Byron, Ada (later Lady Lovelace who became the first computer programmer in the 1800's).

Ada has a very strict upbringing yet is very privileged. She is a fascinating girl, ahead of her time in many ways, who was intrigued by mathematical problem solving and how things worked as the industrial revolution began to change the shape of the world.

Interspersed with the poems of her father, this books also examines the struggles of a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father and the difficulties in her parents' marriage. At the same time, Ada considers both her love of the arts and science and this may resonate with students as they consider their GCSE options.

Julia Gray writes Ada as a very believable character who has much to offer contemporary readers as they too face the challenges of growing up. The author also leaves room for us to form our own opinions as to what motivates Ada and leads her to be very different from other girls her age. Her own developing romantic life makes this a book recommended for 14+/KS4 readers.

336 pages / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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