Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Woman Who Thinks in Pictures

2009 Film Biography of autistic engineer, Temple Grandin
Yesterday we had our three adult children home, with two resting on our living room couches.  Our daughter, who has been put on full bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy, was over for a change of scenery and to visit her brother, who was recovering from oral surgery to remove all four of his wisdom teeth!  I pretty much kicked into full "Mom Mode" - with lots of help from my oldest son, who is home for the summer until his college classes start in the fall.

We all ended up watching a captivating HBO movie that my mom recommended: Temple Grandin.  Claire Danes starred in this biopic about a high-functioning autistic girl who overcame the limitations imposed on her by her condition to become an expert in the field of animal husbandry and humane slaughter.

Temple developed an interest in cattle early in life while spending time at her Aunt and Uncle's ranch. She did not speak until the age of four and had difficulty right through high school, mostly in dealing with people. Her mother was very supportive as were some of her teachers.  My favorite quote from the movie is when Temple's mother is talking to one of her teachers.  She says, "Temple is different, but not less."

Temple Grandin, who is now in her sixties, says one reason this movie is so incredible is that - largely thanks to director, Mick Jackson's insight and creativity - it allows us to see how Temple thinks: in pictures.  Claire Danes does an excellent job portraying Temple, and has a wonderful supporting cast of Catherine O'Hara, David Strathairn, and Julia Ormond.

You can also watch and listen as the real Temple Grandin lectures HERE on TED.com, with her talk "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds".

Because of the story involves the humane slaughter of cattle, the movie is best for teens, but I came across a thought-provoking biography written for kids (grades 5 and up) by Sy Montgomery, titled Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. This compelling biography is full of Temple's personal photos, and takes us inside her extraordinary mind, opening the door to a broader understanding of autism.

This book is not to be missed - add it to your kids' summer reading list!


  1. It's an absolutely excellent movie. I admire Temple for her compassion toward the cows, for sticking to her ideas and getting them out there! ♥ I will look for that book! My girls just started doing a little homeschooling this week (4th and 6th graders already).

    1. Here's to a great year! It's such a good idea to get a jump on the school year with good summer reading! :)