Computer Decoder
Teacher Resources

Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist

By Andi Diehn  
Illustrated by Katie Mazeika
In Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientistreaders ages 5 to 8 follow Dorothy Vaughan’s journey from math teacher to human computer to the first black supervisor at her company! Age-appropriate vocabulary, detailed illustrations, simple STEM projects such as drawing a scene from another planet, and a glossary all support foundational learning. Perfect for beginner readers or as a read aloud nonfiction picture book! 

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“Four introductory volumes to the lives of prominent women of math and science. The reader learns about how they entered their fields, their work, and the challenges they faced. The biographies of Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson also reveal their struggles with segregation at NASA. The text is straightforward and focuses strictly on their careers. Time lines in the back fill in gaps for the reader whose curiosity is piqued. Colorful illustrations nicely complement the narrative. VERDICT Interesting takes on important women should appeal to both browsers and report writers.”

Praise for Forces: Physical Science for Kids from the Picture Book Science series by Andi Diehn

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“Forces, despite its down-to-earth scientific grounding, manages to do the nearly impossible. Diehn brings gravity, magnetism, push-pull forces, and friction to life in everyday contexts, without a hint of schoolroom jargon. Discussion of the forces arises naturally by inquiring what happens in a variety of situations. Shululu’s illustrations add to the fun, giving the book a storybook quality. Children, parents, and teachers alike can enjoy learning the charming, often funny, relatable, and accessible science within this Picture Book Science series (4 titles) offering.”

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Detailed Book Description

When a mechanical computer arrives at the office, a human computer named Dorothy Vaughan either has to learn how to work with it or risk losing her job!

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?

Computer Decoder is part of a set of four books in the Picture Book Biography series that introduces pioneers of science to young children. The other titles in this series include Fossil Huntress: Mary Leakey, PaleontologistHuman ComputerMary Jackson, Engineer; and Space AdventurerBonnie Dunbar, Astronaut.

Available In:
Hardcover, $16.95
Paperback, $9.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Glossary | Resources
Specs: 9.5 x 9.5 size | 4-color interior | 32 pages
Subject: Language Arts | Science


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