Ada Lace Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Ada Lace Series Book Poster Image
Third-grader uses science to solve problems and mysteries.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This series is chock-full of science facts and theories, and the nonacademic lessons -- persistence, curiosity, empathy -- are just as worthwhile. 

Positive Messages

Ada is excited about the scientific process, and her love of research and methodology will resonate with a lot of young readers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ada's parents are kind and supportive, as are all the adults in her world.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Emily Calandrelli's Ada Lace series is a breath of fresh air for readers who love science and adventure. When young Ada tries to solve a problem, she methodically chases down clues and builds things to help her get answers. Her organized mind likes things that are defined and categorized, but Ada doesn't close herself off from a world she doesn't always understand: Her new best friend, Nina, is every bit as artistic as Ada is scientific, and the two share a sweet, authentic friendship. A section at the end of each book explains scientific terms in detail, including the author's firsthand experience with it.

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What's the story?

In the ADA LACE series, third-grader Ada finds mysteries to solve in her new neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area -- a world away from her old neighborhood in West Virginia. She's methodical, using solid research methods and building contraptions to help her solve problems, and her unending curiosity is supported by her loving, funny family and her new best friend, Nina. Ada's love of science extends to her pet turtles, who she's named Hydrogen and Oxygen, and even to her younger brother.

Is it any good?

Books that are educational, engaging, and steeped in science are gems, and this series with a young girl at the center offers young readers a chance to see science from a rare perspective. The Ada Lace series has a remarkable way of applying the scientific process to everyday activities: Ada watching the world from her window in the afternoon, keeping a field journal, building a robot to solve an artistic problem, and more. Written with authenticity and warmth, these books are a gift for kids whose interests don't always fit the mold. The author's notes at the end of the books are fun to read and add even more educational heft to a series already packed with great information.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kind of methods Ada Lace uses to solve a case. She follows a process, takes notes, and tries to keep an open mind. How could you use these methods in everyday life, when you aren't trying to solve a mystery?

  • Ada is new to the San Francisco Bay Area, and that's hard for her. Do you know anyone in her situation -- new school, new neighbors, new friends? What can you do to help them feel better?

  • What other mysteries have you read? Which are your favorites? What's fun about a mystery story?

Book details

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For kids who love science and mysteries

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