Monday, May 7, 2012
Nonfiction Monday: Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery
Temple Grandin embraced the differences that made her childhood and teenage life so difficult to become a major influence on the livestock industry, an expert in animal behavior, an engineer, and a professor. She also advocates for autistic people, writes, speaks, and enjoys life. Her philosophy is not that she triumphed over her differences - those differences are what made her able to become the person she is and make a difference in the lives of humans and animals.
After an introduction by Temple Grandin, Montgomery plunges into her early life and explains what it's like to be autistic and try to survive in a world of sensations where you can't easily communicate. She moves from different periods in Grandin's life to her consultations with the livestock industry, engineering designs and on to explanations of what autism is, differences in brain functions, and how Temple Grandin uses her differences to make animals safe and comfortable.
The book moves rapidly and packs in a lot of information, but never feels cluttered or hurried. Most of the chapters begin with a story from Grandin's early life and end with a section on brain development and differences. The book is sprinkled with designs, photographs, and drawings and and ends with Temple's advice for kids on the autism spectrum, extensive bibliography and resources, and index.
Verdict: This book isn't just for kids on the autism spectrum, their families, or kids who interact with them. It's for kids who dream of doing something with their life and for those who need a focus and purpose. It's for teachers and librarians who want to inspire kids to make real changes in the world. It's also a fascinating story of one amazing woman and how she found her purpose in life. Recommended.