Instructions Not Included

Click. Whir. Buzz.

Not so long ago, math problems had to be solved with pencil and paper, mail was delivered by postman, and files were stored in paper folders and metal cabinets.

But three women, Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty knew there could be a better way.

With little guidance, no instructions, and barely any access to the machine itself, Betty, Jean, and Kay used mathematics, electrical engineering, logic, and common sense to command a computer as large as a room and create the modern world. The machine was like Betty, requiring outside-the-box thinking, like Jean, persistent and consistent, and like Kay, no mistakes, every answer perfect.

Today computers are all around us, performing every conceivable task, thanks, in large part, to Betty, Jean, and Kay’s pioneering work. Instructions Not Included is their story.

Reviews & Accolades

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“An upbeat, necessary history.”–Kirkus Reviews

★ “[An] essential ode to women in STEAM.”–Booklist (starred review)

2020 National Science Teaching Association/Children’s Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book

American Society for Engineering Education, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Society of Elementary Presidential Awardees and CBC one of the 31 Best STEM Books for K-12

Instructions Not Included was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year. “Three women “math whizzes” had to overcome obstacles to program one of the first computers. Told in free verse with retro illustrations. Includes biographical back matter and resources.”