Parents' Guide to

How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Moving tale of Temple Grandin's girlhood pursuit of a hug.

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This is a powerful story about Temple Grandin's childhood struggles and how solving her problems creatively led to lasting contributions to the world. Authors Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville begin the book with what Temple loves to do, which lets kids relate to her immediately. That helps them feel compassion when the following pages portray her overwhelming experience of the world. Illustrator Giselle Potter's folk art watercolors are impressively expressive -- especially on the pages that show Temple being overwhelmed at achingly loud, physically uncomfortable, and unbearably smelly stimuli. When she finds peace on a twisted, spinning swing and under couch cushions being stepped on by her sister, you can feel the relief captured on her face.

Young readers will love the farm animals and admire a kid who uses her imagination to help herself. The book will encourage both kids with autism and neurotypical kids to aspire to their own unique greatness and honor people who overcome significant obstacles. That said, the authors avoid directly naming autism in the story, so parents might want to get more specific and talk about the themes raised in the book. The author's note is a great jumping-off point for conversations, as it has helpful information about Grandin and her life and work as an adult.

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