Cover image for How to build a hug : Temple Grandin and her amazing squeeze machine / by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville ; illustrated by Giselle Potter.
How to build a hug : Temple Grandin and her amazing squeeze machine / by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville ; illustrated by Giselle Potter.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2018]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
Presents the story of Grandin's "squeeze machine," describing her childhood love of building and design, as well as her sensitivities.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 4-8.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
616.85882 GUG Book Junior Collection

On Order



Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine.

As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn't like hugs. Temple wanted to be held--but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug?

Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn't receive a hug, she would make one...she would build a hug machine!

Author Notes

Amy Guglielmo lives a life in pictures. In addition to writing about art, artists, and makers, she is a painter, teacher, and supporter of arts education for children of all ages. Amy once created a Barbie house, equipped with a working elevator, and she is an A-plus hugger. She lives with her husband on the Adirondack coast of Lake Champlain. You can visit Amy online at

Jacqueline Tourville's experience working with children with autism as a public school teacher opened her eyes to the importance of inclusive stories for kids. The author of Albie's First Word: A Tale Inspired by Albert Einstein's Childhood and coauthor with Amy Guglielmo of Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire , Jacqueline lives in Maine with her family. Ask her about the miniature log cabin she once built for her cat! Visit her at

Giselle Potter has illustrated many books, including Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne, an ALA-ALSC notable book; The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter, a Parents' Choice Gold Award winner; and Cecil the Pet Glacier by Matthea Harvey. She is the author and illustrator of Tell Me What to Dream About and This Is My Dollhouse --both inspired by her daughters--and The Year I Didn't Go to School , about traveling through Italy with her parents' puppet troupe when she was eight. Giselle also illustrates "Ties," a weekly column in the Well section of The New York Times . She lives in Rosendale, New York, with her husband and two daughters. Visit her online at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Guglielmo and Tourville gently present the story behind Grandin's "squeeze machine," describing Grandin's childhood love of building and design, as well as her sensitivities: "Temple did not like scratchy socks, whistling teakettles, bright lights, or smelly perfumes." Hugs, in particular, she found unbearable. But, the authors explain, Grandin discovered that external pressure placed on her body made her feel secure. As an adult, Grandin observed how cows are placed in squeeze chutes to calm them during veterinary exams; this led Grandin to design her own "hug machine." Potter's warm illustrations feature human and animal figures that are reminiscent of folk art dolls while showing Grandin's discomfort with outside stimulation. The authors avoid overt mention of autism in the story, but back matter elaborates on Grandin's life, career, and contributions to autism awareness. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

As a child with autism and hypersensitivities to sounds, smells, and touch, Temple Grandin (now a professor of animal science and world-renowned animal rights advocate) shied away from hugs. Even though she loved her family, hugs from them felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world. If anyone tried to give her a hug, she kicked and screamed and pulled away. Then, on a visit to her aunts ranch as a teenager, she saw how a skittish calf became calm after entering a squeeze chute, a device that cradled the animal in a snug embrace. Temple, who had been inventing and building things all her life, decided to make a comparable device, a hug machine, for herself. The authors take readers from Grandins early childhood through her young adulthood, lightly sketching in biographical information in order to focus on her antipathy to being hugged by others and her resultant invention. Potters illustrations capture Grandins likeness well and frequently show her with tools in hand or near animals, reinforcing the texts emphasis on these interests. The hug machine itself, however, gets short shrift in the pictures (we dont really see how it works). There are no sources for any of the information provided, including the direct quote that ends the book: Im into hugging people now. martha v. parravano January/February 2019 p 114(c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.