Author Temple Grandin, center, with Kidsday reporters, from left, Kathryn...

Author Temple Grandin, center, with Kidsday reporters, from left, Kathryn McCoy, Riley Shaw, JP Bailey and Christie Trabold at Barnes & Noble in Union Square Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

As reporters and students, we would 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 of interviewing Temple Grandin at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhattan recently.

After reading her new book, “Calling All Minds,” we learned that Temple really wrote the book because she wants to try to get children to do more hands-on projects and not be afraid to make mistakes. She was happy to learn that the Garden City Middle School has a wood shop class and a woodshop club where kids get to make things out of wood. Everyone wanted to read in the book more about when she was younger, but Temple explained that she had already written books about her personal life and childhood.

Temple was inspired to write this new book from a children’s book she read as a child about all those things. It was interesting to learn that despite being an animal scientist, Temple does not have any pets because she travels a lot. As a child, we found out that Temple enjoyed books about famous inventors, but we were surprised she also enjoyed “Curious George,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Eloise” and “Black Beauty,” considering she wanted to become a scientist. The students enjoyed watching the movie titled “Temple Grandin” which starred actress Claire Danes as Temple, and they were happy to learn that Temple would tell kids with autism today to picture the door and walk through it as soon as possible and to work hard. Temple shared that in high school she was teased, but also explained that the kids who get bullied usually do better in life than the kids who bully other people.

We thought it was funny that Temple feels she is definitely a nerdy person today and that she works with many nerdy people, too. She explained that without nerdy people, the world would be very different. Temple told us that when she was younger, she thought that everybody thought in pictures, but now she knows that not a lot of people are strong in language. Kathryn, a student whose older brother Matthew has autism, and Riley, whose cousin has Down syndrome, were happy to learn that Temple doesn’t use the squeeze machine to calm herself down. Now she gets hugs from real people.

After the interview we were all very moved and motivated by Temple. In the beginning, we were all intimidated and we were very nervous. But by the end, Temple made us feel like we weren’t even interviewing her, but we were talking to her and having a conversation.

If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy of her book “Calling All Minds.” It is a children’s book about all sorts of inventions, patents and projects that children can do at home with materials they probably already have. It’s a really good book. One inventor example Temple writes about was her grandfather John C. Purves, who was the co-inventor of the autopilot used for airplanes. The book also included 25 projects that Temple made when she was a child. After each project, she would tell a personal story of when she did the project. Temple wrote this book because she feels like “kids aren’t making as much stuff anymore” and that “kids need to have more hands-on experiences and activities.” 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) The story was interesting to read. 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 people who love being creative and doing projects, but we think everyone should really read it.


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