A picture-book biography in verse introduces Dr. Temple Grandin, a major spokesperson for autism spectrum disorder.
The author employs easy, accessible language and simple rhyme to describe Grandin’s life, including her original misdiagnosis, the doctors’ advice to “send her away,” her mother’s advocacy, her learning to speak, the “new” diagnosis of autism, frustration with her classmates, her first visit to her aunt’s farm that led to her career as an animal specialist, her understanding of her talents, and the importance of her visual memory. The narrative goes on to describe her high school teacher’s support of her interest in science, her first invention (the “squeeze machine,” a self-calming device based on close-quartered enclosures for livestock), her work in treating cattle humanely, her efforts within the autism community, and the public recognition of her unique talents. The author speaks directly and inclusively: “Being DIFFERENT might just / be what makes you so NEAT! / Don’t let doubt hold you back, / not for one minute more. / STAND TALL, and like Temple, / MARCH RIGHT THROUGH THAT DOOR!” Naïve-style pictures attractively accompany the text, and the backmatter ramps up the content: a letter from Grandin, information from a “chat” between the author and the scientist (written at a slightly higher reading level than the verse), an excellent illustrated timeline, an essay about Grandin for adults, and a bibliography that includes some video resources in addition to mostly adult-directed print resources.
Aspects of Grandin’s complex life have been simplified and the poetry is sometimes forced, but this is an effective, age-appropriate introduction to a remarkable person. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)