Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist (PB) (2019)

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A full-color picture book biography about Dorothy Vaughan, one of NASA's first African American managers and one of the groundbreakers on the front line of electronic computing--includes hands-on STEM activities for an introduction to coding.

Dorothy Vaughan loved things that made sense--especially numbers! In Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist, elementary-aged children follow Dorothy's journey from math teacher to human computer and beyond, a journey made difficult because she was an African American woman working during a time of segregation. Dorothy worked incredibly hard to meet the challenges that greeted her at every turn and rose to the level of supervisor, the first black supervisor in the history of her company! But another challenge awaited when a mechanical computer threatened to replace the teams of human computers. How will Dorothy figure out this problem?

- In the Picture Book Biography series, children encounter real-life characters who are thrilled to learn and experiment, eager to make a difference, and excited about collaborating with team members.

- Age-appropriate vocabulary, detailed illustrations, a timeline, simple STEM projects, such as coding a name on a bracelet, and a glossary all support foundational learning for kids ages 5 to 8.

- Perfect for beginner readers or as a read aloud nonfiction picture book

About Picture Book Biography books and Nomad Press

Computer Decoder is part of a set of four books in the Picture Book Biography series that introduces pioneers of science to young children and makes career connections in different STEM fields. The other titles in this series include Fossil Huntress: Mary Leakey, Paleontologist; Human Computer: Mary Jackson, Engineer; and Space Adventurer: Bonnie Dunbar, Astronaut.

Nomad Press books in the Picture Book Biography series bring real-world figures to life through fun, engaging narratives paired with dynamic, brightly colored illustrations and quick activities that reinforce foundational learning. Elementary-aged children are encouraged to expand their perceptions of the roles of scientist, artist, explorer, and innovator by meeting women, people of color, and other minorities in the profession. Nomad's unique approach simultaneously grounds kids in factual knowledge while allowing them the space to be curious, creative, and critical thinkers.

All books are leveled for Guided Reading level and Lexile and align with Common Core State Standards and National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. All titles are available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats.


Andi Diehn
Katie Mazeika
ISBN 10:
Nomad Press (VT)
Publication Date:
September 10, 2019
Age Group:
Children (0 - 8)
Grade Range:

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