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About The Book

From Emily Calandrelli—Emmy-nominated host of Xploration Outer Space, host of Netflix’s Emily’s Wonder Lab, and graduate of MIT—comes the sixth novel in a fun illustrated chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.

When third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace learns her teachers are in dire need of new school supplies, she’s eager to lend a helping hand—but how? With a bake sale? A class carnival? Most ideas seem out of reach for a kid like her, until Tycho suggests Ada try her hand at posting informational videos. If she’s able to build up a big online viewership, she could easily raise funds for their school. And with Nina as her visionary director, Milton as her comedic cohost, and Ada as the scientist star, making fun videos will be a piece of cake!

Or so they think. What starts as an earnest try at making fun, science-based shorts ends up being a whole mess for Ada and the gang as they gain popularity and take on peer pressure, trolls, and tests of their friendships. With her rising internet stardom, will Ada be able to stay true to herself?


Chapter One: First-Day Blues Chapter One FIRST-DAY BLUES
I see poor George got another makeover,” said Mr. Lace. The robot zipped over into the corner.

“I prefer ‘update,’ Dad. Makeovers are for reality TV,” said Ada.

“I’m tired,” said George. He switched himself off.

“Well, as long as it keeps you from ‘updating’ my electric razor again, I’m fine with it—whatever you call it.”

“Your razor is intact,” said Ada. She bent over to examine George. He didn’t seem to want to turn back on again.

Elliott had been watching Bob the Robot when Ada had gotten the idea for the latest update. She liked the look of Bob the Robot’s head. Her dad had a point—the change was cosmetic. But that wasn’t the only reason for it. Ada and Tycho had recently gotten into taking things apart and putting them back together again—sometimes in ways the manufacturer hadn’t intended.

“My car!” yelled Elliott from his room. “It won’t go!”

Ada had been wondering when Elliott would discover that. She went into Elliott’s room to find him aiming the remote control at the empty shell of the car. He was still pressing the button.

“Oh, it goes,” said Ada. “It’s just not exactly a car anymore.” Ada took the remote from Elliott and aimed it at a pile of plush toys. A stuffed ladybug came scuttling out of the corner.

“Hahaha! Isn’t that fun?” said Ada.

“No! A car is fun. I want my car!” said Elliott.

“I guess I’ll just save my innovations for someone who appreciates them,” said Ada. She got busy pulling the wheels and wires out of the ladybug.

Ada had not expected to enjoy the summer so much. Nina had gone to camp in Marin, and Milton and his family had gone to San Diego. Ada had two weeks of EggHead camp, but other than that, she thought she would be left to her own devices. That could be fun sometimes, but she was also prepared to be a little lonely.

To her surprise, though, Tycho ended up spending most weeks with his uncle, Mr. Peebles. So, all summer, Ada and Tycho took apart old calculators, electric toys, radios, computer monitors, and a lot of other stuff people threw out. Sometimes they made new things from them. Most of what they made wasn’t that useful, but if it lit up and made fun noises, that was good enough for them. After a while, Ada found she couldn’t stop. Every time she saw a device, she wanted to know what was inside. Sometimes it got her into trouble.

“ADA!!!” Uh-oh. Mr. Lace stormed into Elliott’s bedroom. “Why is my electric bike in pieces?”

“Uh… I was just having a little peek. I’ll get it back together. I just wanted to make sure it was, um, safe for you to use!”

“I want it together before school starts.”

“No problem, Dad! Tycho is coming this weekend and I’m going to get Mr. Peebles to help.…”

“School starts tomorrow, Ada,” said Mr. Lace.

“Oh, wow. Right. Time really flies, huh? Heh.”

Mr. Lace was not amused.

The first day of school did not go well. Ada had stayed up late trying to get the bike together and overslept—like, seriously overslept. George still wasn’t turning on, apparently, so he didn’t wake her up. She almost wore her pj top to school. Ms. Lace was disappointed that they couldn’t manage the usual first-day photo.

“I guess we’ll have to do it the second day,” she said.

Ada didn’t even have time to sit down and eat pancakes. Her dad rolled one up and wrapped it in a napkin so she could eat it on the way to school. As they were leaving, suddenly George beeped to life.

“Time for dinner!” he said.

“Thanks, George,” said Ada as she flew out the door.

Since Ada was running late, Nina met her in front of the school.

“Your shirt’s on backward,” she said.

“Aw, crud,” said Ada.

“Maybe it’s the style? It could be the style,” Nina said.

Ada breezed past her to the restroom as quickly as she could and turned the shirt around in one of the stalls. She was three minutes late for class.

The rest of the day wasn’t much better. She had to share Nina’s lunch because she had left hers on the counter. She didn’t have her favorite notebook, or a pencil, so she had to borrow those, too. Mr. Lace had a meeting after school, so Ada and Nina would be walking home with Crystal, a high-school girl who watched them sometimes.

“Just be sure to pay attention to your phone,” said Mr. Lace. “We gave it to you so I could reach you, not just so you could play chess and watch videos.”

“Geez, Dad. Okay,” said Ada.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. It’s a stressful time of year,” said Mr. Lace.

Ada knew that, but this year seemed particularly stressful for Mr. Lace. Ada met Nina and Crystal in front of the school.

Nina looked over a photocopied sheet of paper from school.

“Gosh, the school supply list is long, huh?” said Nina.

“Ugh,” said Ada. “I left mine in my desk—with all the other first-day forms. This day is the worst.”

“I’m sure your dad will have it. Plus, it’s online,” said Nina.

“Lucky you can get it online,” said Crystal.

“What do you mean?” said Nina. “The internet is everywhere!”

“Not always. For one thing, you have to pay for it. And then you would need a computer or phone or some way to access it. Not everyone has that.”

Ada had been complaining about forgetting papers, but she couldn’t imagine what she would do without the internet. It made so many things easier. Suddenly she felt really fortunate, and a little bit guilty for complaining.

By the time Mr. Lace got home, Ada had the table cleared and set. It was already a quarter to six. She got right to work rinsing greens for the salad while her dad made sauce and started boiling water for pasta.

When they sat together at the dinner table, though, Mr. Lace seemed tired. Ada could tell that he was still upset about the bike, but she almost wished he would yell. It felt worse to have him be so quiet.

“Ada, you’ve gotta take a break from breaking things,” Mr. Lace said. “School’s started. We both have things to focus on.…”

“I’m not breaking things, I’m—”

“If I can’t use it, it might as well be broken,” said Mr. Lace. “And that bike costs a lot of money. I can’t replace it if it’s ruined.”

“It’s not, Dad. Tycho and I can fix it,” said Ada. “I’m sorry.”

Mr. Lace sighed and patted her hand.

They ate quietly for a few moments until Ada noticed a piece of paper on the table. It was the school supply list Mr. Lace had brought home.

“Paper towels… hand sanitizer… tissues… Why do we have to buy all this stuff anyway? Why doesn’t the school pay for it?”

“Well, the school doesn’t have money for everything. So, we have to… fill in the gaps. And there happen to be a lot of gaps this year.”

“What did you have to buy when you were in school? Inkwells? Slates? Oats for the horse pulling the bus?”

Mr. Lace laid his fork down and raised an eyebrow at Ada.

“Are you actually asking me a question? Or just roasting me?”

“Aww, I was kidding, Dad!” said Ada. “I didn’t mean it! You know you’re the coolest art teacher I know.”

He gave her a crooked smile as he poked at his rotini with his fork.

“Really, though, did your parents have to buy school supplies for you?”

“We had to buy notebooks and pencils, but the school provided a lot of the other stuff.”

“Really? Well, why not now?”

“School is a bit different now. You kids need a lot more materials than we did, and with budget cuts every year, we simply don’t get enough funds anymore. But we’re actually relatively lucky. There are other schools worse off than ours and with a lot more students who have less than we do.”

Ada was reminded of what Crystal had said earlier. She thought of all the kids, classrooms, and teachers who needed supplies but could only rely on themselves to get it. It wasn’t fair.

Later that night Ada talked to Tycho on Speak-A-Boo, a video chat platform for people under thirteen. They talked about their first day and how topsy-turvy Ada’s had been.

“I always feel a little messed up on my first day—like I have to transition from being home Tycho to school Tycho.”

“That’s the thing—usually I don’t mind the first day. At least until now,” said Ada. “And on top of everything there’s a huge list of supplies this year.”

“Yeah, for us, too,” said Tycho.

“It seems weird to me that the school doesn’t just provide a lot of this stuff. And Dad says that some schools have even less than ours.”

“I bet. Your neighborhood is pretty fancy, Ada.”

“There must be a way to help,” said Ada.

“Oh, definitely,” said Tycho. “There’s always a way to help.”

“I suppose you’re right,” said Ada. She just had to think about how. At the moment, she felt a little overwhelmed.

“Speaking of help,” said Ada. She gave Tycho a sheepish look. “I’m going to need your help to fix my dad’s bike.”

“Oh, he found it, huh?”


About The Author

Photograph (c) 2022 by Morgan Demeter

Emily Calandrelli is an MIT engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s the host and coexecutive producer of Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix, featured as a correspondent on Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, and an executive producer and host of Fox’s Xploration Outer Space. Emily is the author of the picture book Reach for the Stars, the science experiment book Stay Curious and Keep Exploring, and the science chapter book series the Ada Lace Adventures. The third book in the series was launched to the International Space Station through the Story Time from Space program. Learn more at

About The Illustrator

Renée Kurilla is an illustrator of many books for kids, including Orangutanka: A Story in Poems by Margarita Engle, The Owls of Blossom Wood series by Catherine Coe, and the Ada Lace Adventure series by Emily Calandrelli. She has written a few books as well, including the picture book One Springy, Singy Day and the graphic novel The Flower Garden. She currently lives in Bellingham, Massachusetts, with her illustrator husband Keith Zoo, their six-year-old daughter Zoey, and Yoshi the fish. Visit her at

Why We Love It

“In this next Ada Lace adventure, we have an Ada who feels a little more grown up, and as a fan of the series, I find that so exciting. Emily and Tamson did such a great job preserving all the sweetness and earnestness that characterizes this series while tackling themes that are a little more complex than in books previous, like peer pressure, the court of public opinion that is the internet, and learning how to stay true to yourself.”

—Dainese S., Associate Editor, on Ada Lace Gets Famous

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (January 17, 2024)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665931168
  • Ages: 6 - 10

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