• US Edition

Instructions Not Included: How Three Women Coded the Future

A fascinating picture book about the women who helped to shape the early days of computing - and changed the world forever. Illustrated by Chelsea Beck.

Common wisdom suggests computers are an exclusively male domain– ironic when one considers that women invented computer programming. INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED tells the story of a team of forgotten women innovators,  Jean (Jennings) Bartik, Kay (McNulty) Mauchly and Betty (Snyder) Holberton, women who hacked the first electronic computers (before hacking was a thing) to win the war and change the world. They knew computers must be small, nimble and communicate with each other, just like they did. This book doesn’t just give these pioneers their due. It demonstrates how the team’s “feminine” attributes– cooperation, communication and teamwork– formed the essence of how modern computers function.


The manuscript also includes an Authors’ Note, giving more information about the three women; a section of Other Resources (books, films, and coding for beginners);  and photographic images which could lend an additional weight to the storyline.

Rights details

World rights: Disney-Hyperion (Fall 2019/Winter 2020)

Good news

Picture Book Finalist/Writers League of Texas Book Awards 2019

2020 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

Notable Social Studies

NSTA-CBC Best STEM Books 2020 Selected Titles


2020 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books list

A joint project of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the CBC since 1973, Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 represents the year’s best books for science classrooms, chosen by science educators.

Junior Library Guild Selection

The Author

Debbie Dunn

Debbie Loren Dunn is co-author of WANTED: WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS, a picture book about women who pioneered computing in its infancy.

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Computer Science and worked in the computer industry, at Hewlett Packard for 20 years,  specializing in databases and data mining. She also holds a M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. Debbie was a Regional Advisor for SCBWI Austin and Board Member for The Writers’ League of Texas. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family.

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Tami Brown

Tami Lewis Brown is the author of the MG novel, THE MAP OF ME (FSG), as well as several picture books. Her debut PB was SOAR, ELINOR! which was excellently reviewed. She has a picture book about the New York artist Keith Haring publishing in 2020, and another, co-authored with Debbie Loren Dunn, about the women mathematicians who worked on the ENIAC computer, coming in the same year. PERKIN’S PURPLE – about the character and science behind the discovery of the color purple -will follow in 2021. She grew up on a Kentucky horse farm, was a trial lawyer before turning to writing, and she has an MFA  from Vermont College of the Fine Arts in writing for young readers. She lives with her family in one of the oldest houses in Washington DC.



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