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



Montgomery, Sy. Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. 2012. Lexile 960.

This engaging biography is notable for being about a successful person who's autistic.  After overcoming many hurdles, Temple Grandin became a professor,
a prominent consultant who designs more humane animal facilities, and an influential activist for animal welfare.  Montgomery, who clearly spent time with Grandin, uses a personal, conversational tone in relating Grandin's story.  She effectively conveys Grandin's personality and even describes her memento-filled home.  Sections alternate between a chronological account of Grandin's life and discussions of her current work, which include a few grim details about slaughterhouses and blood pits. Grandin has made her way in a male-dominated world area of work, while also also figuring out how to deal with aspects of her autism, some of which she believes have given her strengths. Sidebars add information about autism and a useful appendix offers "Temple Grandin's Advice for Kids on the Spectrum," meaning the autism spectrum, followed by a resource list and index. 

Website Tie-in: Grandin's 20-minute Ted talk gives a wonderful sense of her energetic personality.  She shows slides, discusses the advantages of different kinds of thinking that are characteristic of those on the autism spectrum, and talks about her work with animals.  She relates many of her comments to kids and her own younger years.

Reading Std #6: Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.  Because Montgomery spent time with Grandin, visited her home, and talked to her friends and family, this book has a personal feel to it.  Have students look for specific evidence of Montgomery's point of view about her subject.  Is the biography even-handed?  Does she discuss what might be considered Grandin's weaknesses as well as her strengths?