Monday, October 29, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

Nonfiction Monday is a weekly meme in the Kidlitosphere that invites bloggers to read and review a nonfiction book on Monday as a way to promote high-quality nonfiction titles.  Each week, a different blogger "hosts" Nonfiction Monday and provides a roundup of all the posts.  This week Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Practically Paradise.

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

Temple Grandin has had an award-winning movie made about her life.  She has written and published several books, including an autobiography.  She is an esteemed college professor.  She is one of the world's foremost experts on the humane and ethical treatment of livestock.   And she is autistic.  From Temple's earliest days her parents could tell that she was different.  Her father thought she was retarded and should be institutionalized.  But through Temple's tantrums, her misunderstandings and sensitivities to sound and touch, her mother could see that what Temple needed was to be understood, and she fought - at a time when autism was just starting to be diagnosed - to find schools and doctors who would support Temple and help her to reach her full potential.  And what potential it was!  Temple was able to turn her differences - the way she thought in pictures, instead of words and her heightened senses - into her strengths.  Because of her autism, she could relate to animals and thus, understand how to design and implement systems to ensure the humane treatment of cows and other animals raised for food.

If one thing is obvious from reading this book it is that Sy Montgomery is a big Temple Grandin fangirl and that she has done her research.  If a second thing is obvious, it is that she has good reason - Temple's story is both compelling and inspirational.  Temple Grandin is a force to be reckoned with, and the illustrative anecdotes she shared with Sy about her determination to have her expertise acknowledged and respected are evidence of that.  The book roughly follows Temple's life chronologically, peppered with photos of Temple and diagrams of her inventions. 1-2 page inserts between chapters further explain topics including autism and livestock processing.  Temple even gets in on the action, authoring both the foreword and advice to kids on the spectrum.  Lots of great back matter and an index make for a complete package.  A great choice for school research or personal interest.

Recommended for: Anyone who has ever wondered about his/her place in this world and sought to be understood, tweens and young teens who aren't autistic (to help them understand it a little better), and even those who are (to show them what's possible).

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  1. I agree that Temple Grandin is an amazing woman and I appreciate you sharing this biography.

    1. You are the best Nonfiction Monday host ever. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!