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Temple Grandin, scientist and author, meets LI kids

Author Temple Grandin with Kidsday reporters, from left,

Author Temple Grandin with Kidsday reporters, from left, Kathryn McCoy, Riley Shaw, James Bailey and Christie Trabold. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We all agree that Temple Grandin is a very interesting person, great author, scientist and an inspiration to all of us. She is special to us because she is an autistic woman and she is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She is an author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. We had the unique opportunity to interview her at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhattan about her newest book, “Calling All Minds” (Philomel Books).

She said she really wanted this book to describe projects she used to make. She believes that kids need to be making more things. She was happy to learn that our Garden City Middle School has a wood shop class and a wood shop club.

Temple told us she wrote this book because she wants to inspire kids to do more hands-on projects, and to not be afraid to make mistakes.

Before meeting Temple, our class watched the movie made about her, which came out in 2010. The film is titled “Temple Grandin,” and the story is amazing. We wanted to know if she saw it as well. She said she did, and so we were curious what her reaction was to see Claire Danes perform as her in the movie. Temple said, “I think Claire Danes did a great job. She spent hours on videotapes of me, and she just figured out how to be me.”

Her book “Calling All Minds” is a children’s book about all sorts of inventions, patents and projects that kids can do at home with materials probably already in the house. It’s a really good book.

One inventor example that Temple writes about is her grandfather, John C. Purves, who was the co-inventor of the autopilot for planes. The book also includes 25 projects that Temple made when she was a kid. After each project, she tells a personal story of when she did the project.

We thought “Calling All Minds” was a perfect combination of stories about inventions, inventors, patents and Temple’s personal life (even though we all would have loved to read more about Temple herself). One important quote from the book was that people are “different, not less.” We think this is very true and should be shared with everyone.

We would definitely recommend this book to kids who love being creative and doing projects, but we think everyone should really read it. To find out more about Temple, visit her website,

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