“If Then” Logic Puzzle

Can you imagine being asked to program a computer with no instructions?

Betty, Jean and Kay did just that. They relied on math and mathematical logic to program ENIAC. Computer programmers still use logic when they write programs. Conditional statements or If… Then statements are one kind of mathematical logic. The program is telling the computer that if one thing exists it should do another thing.

Solve your own If… Then Logic Puzzle and discover the hidden picture. You can download the puzzle here. (PDF)

What did you find?

YEEEHAW! We’re Coming To Texas!

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED is rolling off the presses in October and Tami and Debbie will be rolling into bookstores in and around Austin, Texas!

He heard there’s a fresh copy of INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED by the gate!

You can meet up with both of us at-

October 8 Launch Day! We’ll be at BookPeople 603 N. Lamar Blvd  Austin, TX 78703

October 9 Lark and Owl Booksellers 205 W. 6th Street Suite 101, Georgetown, TX 78626

October 25-26 TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL (Double Yeeehaw!) more details to come


INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED has received a STARRED review from Booklist.

“As WWII loomed, technology advanced, with machinery evolving to keep up with a world that was moving at a faster pace. At the University of Pennsylvania, female mathematicians, called “computers,” solved calculations that would help with the mechanics of the war effort. For three women, the stakes were even higher. Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty, mathematicians and engineers equipped with particular skills, were tasked with programming ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), one of the first computers; if successful, they would create a machine to increase efficiency and “show that computers have a future in war and in peace.” Through much trial and error they accomplished their task, though they received little celebration or even recognition at the time. “To solve the biggest problems,” the text asserts, “computer memory has to be elegantly organized.” Here, complicated concepts are clarified with poetic grace. The window into this early phase of computer science is the women who pioneered it; Betty, Jean, and Kay are made distinct in their backgrounds, personalities, and specialities through both the rhythmic text and the retro pastel art. Beck implements a separate, subtle color scheme for each woman, and those threads are stitched throughout the book; a final spread, set in the modern day, highlights the lasting echoes of their work. Thorough backmatter completes this essential ode to women in STEAM.”


Meet The Illustrators

Chelsea Beck

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED is Chelsea Beck’s first picture book. She’s a staff illustrator at Gizmodo and she lives in Brooklyn. Chelsea graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

We love the lively vintage palette Chelsea used for INSTRUCTIONS– especially the way she gave each programmer her own identifying color– Betty in pink, Jean in yellow and Kay in green. And we were so excited to see how she incorporated the women’s love of math into her illustrations.

We can’t wait to share Chelsea’s pictures, our words, and especially Betty, Jean and Kay’s incredible accomplishments with the world. INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: How A Team Of Women Coded The Future will be in bookstores and libraries everywhere on October 8, 2019!

Francesca Sanna

What could be more amazing than a picture book biography about the boy who invented the chemistry of PURPLE? We are delighted award-winning illustrator Francesca Sanna will make the pictures for PERKIN’S PURPLE: How One Boy Invented a Color and Created a Revolutionary Rainbow. We’ve seen the first few sketches and they are wonderful– William Perkin would be so proud!

Francesca grew up in Italy and lives in Switzerland. We love Francesca’s illustrations for THE JOURNEY and ME AND MY FEAR but when we saw her (pretty purple!) Google doodle for International Women’s History Day we knew she was the one to bring William Henry Perkin’s colorful world to life!

We’re still working on PERKIN’S PURPLE. Perfectly Purple Projects take time! We expect it to be in stores and libraries in fall 2020.


We know what Victoria was thinking. Finding that purple velvet for her coronation crown was tricky– before William Perkin came along.

We can finally spill the beans! Disney will publish our second STEM picture book biography, Perkin’s Purple! We fell in love with the story of William Perkin, a teenaged boy who loved chemistry at a time when it was considered almost a form of witchcraft.

Add in Queen Victoria, Empress Eugenie, velvet and silk… and the color purple!

If that’s not enough– as an adult William found a primitive chemistry lab in his grandfather’s cottage cellar. William’s grandfather had been a real life alchemist!

Perkin’s Purple is an almost magical true story of the boy responsible for the “invention of the method of invention,” changing the way all modern scientists think about problems then proceed to solve them.

We are so lucky to have Francesca Sanna join us on this very special project!

Perkin’s Purple will be illustrated by Francesca Sanna and published by Disney in 2020.

Junior Library Guild selection!

Instructions Not Included has been selected by the Junior Library Guild! What does that mean? The Junior Library Guild selects a limited number of the very best books for kids each year for school library collections across the country. And they picked our book! INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED will be a Fall 2019 selection in the Science Elementary Nonfiction Plus category.

This is what the JLG has to say: “JLG is the leading book review and collection development service that helps thousands of K12 school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Our mission still follows editorial board member Eleanor Roosevelt’s mantra to put the right book in the hands of every reader–fostering the love of reading and learning as a path to lifelong success.” Visit the JLG here.

We couldn’t be more thrilled that INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED has been chosen to join the best books in libraries across America! Hip Hip Hooray!