Julia Mosca's Acceptance Speech
First and foremost, I would like to thank members of the DADD, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Special Needs Project, Tina Dyches, and everyone else who collaborated to honor me with this award. I’d also like to thank Asia Citro—my publisher— my illustrator and fellow award recipient, Daniel Rieley, who wishes he could be here today, and everyone else at the Innovation Press who brought this book to life.
Most of all I want to thank Dr. Temple Grandin, who has been an inspiration to so many.
When I got a call to write books about scientists, I really thought they had made a mistake. To be honest, I think I failed my way through science in high school. But as I dove into the project, I started to realize that this Dr. Grandin isn’t any ordinary scientist. She is a pioneer and a trailblazer for women, who also just happens to have autism. And that’s really what I wanted people to get from this story. Temple Grandin isn’t amazing for an autistic person. She’s an amazing person— period! She was the first to innovate the slaughterhouse industry the way she did, and to stress the concept of treating livestock humanely. And she did it using the very characteristics that made her different.
One of the things that touched me most about Temple’s story was how she was treated as a child—how she was shunned and teased by her peers. Bullying is a topic close to my heart. I imagine it’s the same for many of you. You’ve seen the struggles and shared the tears. Growing up, someone I loved was bullied for being different. I remember feeling helpless, like there was nothing I could do to stop it, and it ripped away a tiny chunk of my spirit. I promised myself that when I got older, I would try to do something to help stop bullying. I never imagined that would mean writing a book about science... and ultimately, a story about why the things that make us unique can be the same things that help us succeed.
And so today, by honoring me with this award, you’ve shown me that maybe I HAVE made some small difference. You’ve actually made one of MY childhood dreams come true.