The Girl Who Thought in Pictures Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Diverse People
by Julia Finley Mosca - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this rhyming story of the life of Dr. Temple Grandin. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. We learn about the gifts to society from this visionary scientist with autism who is "different not less."

Temple Grandin has a neuro diverse brain that works in very unique ways. Because she thinks in pictures and empathizes with animals, she is able to visualize elegant solutions to challenges. Temple did not speak at all until she was four, and after that, the other children teased her for her unfamiliar manner. Through this story, we are inspired to see differences as strengths. When we meet people who have a disability or are differently abled, we can be curious and kind rather than judging them. 

Before Reading

Ask: Look at the images on the cover. What do you think this book will be about?

Show: This video features Tempin Grandin talking about what it is like to have autism.

Connect: Think about people you know. Do they all learn the same, move the same? Our abilities are part of who we are, and what is known as a disability may bring challenges and joy. What are some things about you that make you who you are?

During Reading

Ask: What do you think it was like to be the victim of teasing for being herself in school?

Show: Look at the pages showing her designs that solve problems with cows on farms. What did her attention to detail help her do? How is that like empathy?

Connect: The girl who couldn't speak became a speaker. Using her voice to help others is called advocacy. What does she advocate for?

After Reading

Ask: How will you use your talents and uniqueness to make the world better?

Show: Read the note from Temple Grandid and the pages about her at the end. What did you learn or how did she inspire you?

Connect: The world needs your ideas. What skills would you like to develop that you are already interested in or good at?


  1. Design a contraption, like Temple's box that holds her, to solve a problem you face daily.
  2. Some people who feel a lot of anxiety find ways to calm themselves when there is too much going on. Make some fidgit toys to play with when you feel anxious. Or make them and donate them to an organization that helps kids who have experienced trauma. 
  3. Write an ABC book with language and ideas to teach people about being kind and following their own voice. Here are some instructions to get you started.