If you have ever felt different,
If you have ever felt low;
If you don’t quite fit in,
There’s a name you should know:
Temple Grandin’s parents happily welcomed her birth, but from the beginning, Temple was different. She hated her frilly but itchy baby dresses and like to twirl herself around and around in circles. She couldn’t bear loud sounds and she didn’t learn to speak until she was three. Busy places stressed her out and tantrums followed, so she didn’t fit in at school at all.
But Temple’s mother never gave up on her. She took her to doctors who at last came to a conclusion.
That thing with her brain?
It was autism, you see.
She was different, not less.
They all finally agreed.
Temple learned to read and write, but the best thing that happened was when her mother sent her out west to live on a ranch with her aunt. Temple learned that she understood the animals–the horses, the pigs, and the cattle–and they understood her. She realized that she thought like they did–in pictures! And suddenly she knew that her life’s work was to be with animals. And with that self-knowledge, she eagerly returned to school and studied animal science, and at last found herself a teacher, a university professor teaching students about farm animals herself.
Julia Finley Mosca’s picture book biography, The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists) (Innovation Press, 2017) offers young readers an insight into the fact that not everyone thinks and understands the world in the same way, while describing how Temple Grandin used her special empathy for animals to make her own career and to find ways to handle animals humanely and with understanding. With the assistance of the artwork of Daniel Rieley, Mosca’s biography paints a picture of a notable “cowgirl,” lecturer, and woman scientist whose novel ways of thinking about the way we deal with animals shows the value of different ways of seeing the world.
So unique are our minds,
This world needs your ideas.
It take brains of all kinds!
For elementary-grade readers, the author offers selected back matter, including a conversation with Grandin, a timeline of her career, a bibliograpy containing books, videos, and web links, and a thumbnail summary of the facts of her life, a useful appendix for biography book reports.
For more information about this unusual scientist, see also noted science writer Sy Montgomery’s Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). (Read my review here.)