When I first began reading and reviewing books for Future Horizons, I had a chance to skim through all the current choices available to read and review. One of those selections was a new book called Manners Matter: Temple Talks to Children, which is a part of the Temple Talks series for children by Veronica Zysk. Being that I have enjoyed works by Temple herself, I was intrigued. I was captured by the colorful animated cover with the children and the wonderful title in big red letters. I got the idea that the little girl on the top of title perhaps represents Temple as a little girl.
Upon reading, I was captured by the cleverness and inspiration that went into making this book. One such example includes the animated versions of Temple Grandin during two different stages of her life, she can be either been seen as a little girl or a young adult. While most of the animated illustrations mainly show children learning examples from their parents, others have drawings of Grandin as a little girl learning manners. There are drawings of Temple participating in hobbies during her childhood and talking about it afterward. Other parts show examples of stories she has shared during her talks regarding bad manners while she gives notes in between. One such case has a drawing of young Temple licking chocolate ice cream out of a bowl like a dog in order to show kids that bad manners can cause other kids to get the wrong impression and not want to be friends. If anyone has ever heard Temple speak, she talks about eating chocolate ice cream out of a bowl with her mouth and having her teacher take the bowl away, telling her to use her spoon and that she’s not a dog (this is one of my favorite stories and I laugh every time she tells it). The young adult version of Temple introduces herself in a friendly manner that children can understand by describing her features: that she likes to wear western attire and struggles with autism. Manners Matter shares a brief introduction to who Dr. Grandin is by talking about where she grew up and how she had lived a self-fulfilling life. She is willing to help children learn the same basics that she did.
Other parts of the book emphasize children understanding certain boundaries such as one little boy who is learning to be considerate by not insulting someone’s appearances at a grocery store. It also shows that he has learned to develop empathy for other people, which is a common stereotype among people with autism. In this case, it shows that someone with ASD can learn anything.
The book offers a second part which is specifically for family members, educators, and community members. While the first part is dedicated to children, this is directed towards adults who help their children grow. This part provides essential information from Zysk and Dr. Grandin that gives better insight into how one can teach social skills to the young individuals on the autism spectrum. One such example includes an understanding that manners are rules and that they can be taught in baby steps, one at a time.
There are things about the book that I would have loved to be seen differently. The first is that the introduction to where Grandin grew up was inaccurate. The reason why I bring that up is that people on the spectrum pay very close attention to detail and like to know every realistic fact possible. I feel that having accurate information about Temple will help people learn about the area where she is really from. The other part that I would have loved to have seen is how Grandin always emphasizes to be direct but gentle when correcting behavior. Finally, it would be nice if the book gave some input on body language for children and what’s considered appropriate versus not.
In conclusion, I found this book to be both helpful and humorous. Though this is a good book for ASD individuals, I feel that all children could benefit from the content published in this book whether they’re on the spectrum or not. I enjoyed seeing animated ideas of what Temple would have looked like and dressed like as a little girl. The creators of Manners Matter were able to capture young Temple, who is a real figure and teaches social skills. Further, I felt that the message for parents will be useful while reading this book to their children.
Zysyke, V. & Grandin, T. (2018). Manners Matter: Temple Grandin Talks to Kids.” Arlington, TX. Future Horizon’s Incorporated.
(Photo). (2018). Manners Matters: Temple Grandin Talks Book Cover. Photo Source.