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[DiverseKidLit] A Revolutionary Hug Machine

Temple Grandin and her Amazing Squeeze Machine.

Myra here.

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We have a #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme for the entire year. For the first quarter of 2019, we are featuring warrior women or female voices and social justice in literature.

This book I am sharing today is somewhat ‘revolutionary’ since it features a hug machine invented by the unparalleled Temple Grandin.

How To Build A Hug: Temple Grandin And Her Amazing Squeeze Machine

Written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville Illustrated by Giselle Potter
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2018)
ISBN: 153441097X (ISBN13: 9781534410978). Book was borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.

I am constantly on the look out for picturebooks that authentically portray personalities who have different learning needs. This is mainly due to the fact that I am a clinical psychologist and work as a teacher educator, particularly educators who deal with special needs students in mainstream classrooms here in Singapore, as well as teachers who are taking their higher degree in gifted and talented education and work with high ability learners and high creatives.

Hence, stories like these hold a special interest to me. Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. The Author’s Note indicated that she did not speak until she was four years of age. While the term autism spectrum disorder was not once mentioned in the actual narrative, it is indicated in the Author’s Note.

Evidently, Temple was different from all the other children. For one, she loathed being hugged. However, she also understands that touch seems to be important among the people closest to her.

Then one incident involving a skittish calf and a device that served to miraculously calm its anxiety inspired Temple to come up with a brilliant idea – yet another indication of how different she is from other people.

With the aid of wires, pulleys, strings, old cushions, and some trusty tools, Temple came up with her very own hug machine. As Grandin herself noted:

I use my mind to solve problems and invent things.
Temple Grandin

Definitely a book that you need to add to your increasingly diverse bookshelves.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[DiverseKidLit] A Revolutionary Hug Machine

  1. I’ll try to get hold of that book.
    Many years ago Oliver Sacks wrote about one of his patiens who built a narrow chute, where she could lie when she needed a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] Thinking in Pictures with Temple Grandin – Gathering Books

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