Posts Tagged 'non-fiction'

Temple Gradin by Sy Montgomery

Temple Gradin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraces Autism and Changed the World. By Sy Montgomery. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 160 pages. $16.99

Temple Gradin is an amazing 21st century woman and is worthy of a biography on several counts. Dr. Gradin is a world-renowned scientist in the area of humane treatment of animals. A PhD in Animal Science, she is a professor at Colorado State University.  Temple Gradin also is autistic. Sy Montgomery, in her book, focuses as much on Dr. Gradin’s autism story as she does on her groundbreaking research in the livestock industry.  The value of this book lies in it being more than a fascinating biography of a woman scientist. It also makes a valuable contribution as account of a person who lives, and indeed, thrives, with autism. With a forward by Temple Grandin, family photographs, facts on farming and autism, bibliography, resources, and index, this book is easily accessible for a wide-range of readers. Temple’s “Advice for Kids on the Spectrum” is enlightening for all readers. Suitable for 4th grade and up.

Summer Reading

Summer reading is always a point of contention. Should it be assigned? What should be assigned? How much should be assigned? Is it enough to merely read the book or should a paper be required as “proof” that reading occured? The questions go on and on. I found this article by Claire Hollander to raise some interesting points. In particular, she stresses that the reading should be “intentional.” By this she means that the outcome for the reading should be clear at the outset. If the outcome is to read for reading’s sake, have at it. If the outcome is to read off a prescribed list for fall discussions, state that. If a paper or reflection is required, make sure students (and parents!) know that up front. More headaches are caused by the last minute cramming of Catcher in the Rye the evening before school starts than one can imagine. Hollander also makes mention of the value of non-fiction reading. She argues that these books expand a student’s world view as well as expand vocabulary. I couldn’t agree more and with so much non-fiction for teens (and adults) being written in such approachable and manageable formats it makes it all the more interesting. Check out Hollander’s article at:

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