The Brilliant Calculator:
How Mathematician Edith Clarke Helped Electrify America
Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers, 2023.
40 pages, Ages 7-10 years (Grades 2-5)
“HIDDEN FIGURES meets ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER in this STEM/STEAM picture book about Edith Clarke, the innovator who solved an electrical mystery and built the first graphing calculator–from paper!”
This non-fiction picture book features Edith Clarke, America’s first female electrical engineer, as she uses her exceptional mathematical knowledge to transform the expansion of electrical power transmission during the 1920s and beyond. Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the invention of a graphical calculator that solved complex equations ten times faster than a human, Edith Clarke rose from the role of “human computor” to pre-eminence in her chosen profession. A key figure in 20th century engineering, Edith Clarke foreshadowed today’s electrical “Smart Grid” almost a hundred years ago.
Illustrations by Susan Reagan.
“For those girl mathematicians who enjoy problems and delight in solving mathematical puzzles, electrical engineering is an ideal profession.” (Edith Clarke, 1940)
Society of Women Engineers Archives
THE BRILLIANT CALCULATOR: HOW MATHEMATICIAN EDITH CLARKE HELPED ELECTRIFY AMERICA has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!
“Skillfully told and illustrated, this story is full of details and depth. The full-color images catch the eye and playfully include mathematical puzzles. . . . This one will inspire and validate any readers who love mathematics and calculations, especially anyone who has felt marginalized within STEM fields. . . . Rousing encouragement for readers–especially math-minded ones–to follow their dreams.” (December 14, 2022)
” . . . [T]he text tells Clarke’s story in terms that are accessible to children and offers more information in the extensive back matter. The attractive illustrations, drawn digitally and brightened with watercolors, do a particularly good job of portraying Clarke as she gradually grows from childhood to maturity. An intriguing introduction to a trailblazing woman in the field of electrical engineering.” (Carolyn Phelan, 1/1/23)