You Are a Social Detective! Explaining Social Thinking to Kids, 2nd Edition (Storybook)

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  • Ages: 5-10+
  • Pages: 72
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781936943555
  • Published: 2020


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Digital version must be purchased separatelyonly on Apple Books and Google Play (not printable).

The social world is a big, complicated place where we are all social detectives as we observe, gather, and make sense of the clues in different social contexts (settings, situations, and the people in them) to figure out the hidden rules for expected behaviors, as well as to understand how we each feel and think about what others say and do in a situation. This multiple award-winning 2nd edition storybook teaches social learners the power of observation, reading context, and interpreting clues to then eventually choose how to respond in ways that meet their social goals.

A new structured approach to observation, new illustrations reflecting a broader range of inclusion and diversity in characters, practice pages and activities for deeper learning, specific teaching tips, and a glossary of Social Thinking Vocabulary and concepts are just some of the new material you’ll find inside.

Guide readers on a journey of discovery where they can:

  • Learn formulas for gathering clues by observing a setting, the situation, and the people it
  • Be empowered to figure out how the social world works through their own detective lens
  • Learn to identify feelings and emotions and connect them to behaviors
  • Understand that all feelings are okay, even confused ones, and we can still learn and grow
  • Get support from emojis and special word banks
  • Find Social Thinking® core vocabulary words highlighted throughout to support and strengthen key learning concepts
  • Have numerous opportunities to make smart guesses about hidden social rules in various situations
  • See examples and tips for school, home, and community life
  • Celebrate how all of us are social observers who are affected by others’ actions and reactions

What’s new in this multiple award-winning 2nd Edition Storybook?

A structured approach to observation and clue gathering
In this new edition, we’ve added a structured approach to observing what’s happening and gathering clues for figuring out the hidden rules in a wide variety of situations—from the playground, math class, and school cafeteria to bedtime at home. Kids not only learn how to tune into the social world around them, but also to examine their own and others’ actions and reactions, figuring out how a certain behavioral response influences their own and others’ thoughts and feelings.

Practice pages for applying learning
Also new to the second edition are six practice pages with scenarios across a variety of environments, including the playground, home, and classroom settings. This storybook covers a lot of ground in teaching and practicing self-awareness and social competencies—and it also teaches interventionists (parents, caregivers, and professionals) and their social learners the Social Thinking® Vocabulary and concepts to support the social emotional learning process.

Updated illustrations
New illustrations promote inclusion and diversity with the addition of a girl Social Detective and everyday social learners of diverse races, different body types, and varied physical differences, all learning how to observe everyday situations and collect vital clues for understanding the hidden rules for expected behaviors.

Glossary of Social Thinking® Vocabulary
Throughout the storybook, keywords are highlighted in bold. These keywords represent the Social Thinking® Vocabulary, concepts that can be used in just about every environment, by everyone in the process of discovering and practicing social thinking. The words are also fully defined in a glossary in the front of the book for easy reference. All vocabulary helps to identify aspects of the social emotional chain reaction, which describes how each person is part of something larger than themselves in every social situation.

Tips for teaching and getting started
We recommend that interventionists (parents, caregivers, and professionals) first read You Are a Social Detective! by themselves, to learn our unique and explicit Social Thinking Vocabulary and underlying concepts of how we impact each other. Once interventionists and students learn the vocabulary and social concepts, it can be used during teachable moments everywhere: within curriculum instruction (e.g., reading comprehension of literature), in class, online, on the playground, in the community, and at home. We then recommend reading this book with kids in sections and combining that reading selection with real-life discussions about how the concepts apply to the social learners and their daily lives.

Recommended reading and teaching sections:

  1. My Smarts, School Smarts, Social Smarts p. 1-7
  2. The Situation p. 8-12
  3. Being a Social Detective and Smart Guess, Wacky Guess p. 13- 23
  4. Hidden Rules in a Situation, Expected Behaviors p. 24-37
  5. Unexpected Behaviors p. 38-45
  6. Review and Practice p. 46-53

New K-5 Social Detective Curriculum!
You Are a Social Detective! Teaching Curriculum & Support Guide: Lessons and Practical Activities


Help your students become Social Detectives with this easy-to-use curriculum that fits into your current teaching day. This accessible companion guide is designed for deeply teaching the social learning concepts explored in the multiple award-winning storybook, You Are a Social Detective! This curriculum provides 10 fun, structured lesson plans and visual tools to support building students’ social attention, social interpretation, and self-awareness—the foundation for social emotional learning for everyone.


You Are a Social Detective! is the first storybook in the Superflex® Series
Because You Are a Social Detective! storybook teaches from the social learner’s perspective about observing the social world before learning to self-regulate specific social behaviors, it should be the first book to read with students prior to introducing the Superflex®…A Superhero Social Thinking® Curriculum and related storybooks. It’s critical that social learners and their interventionists be familiar with the Social Thinking Vocabulary and that social learners understand the concept of observing social situations and reading clues—that is, become social detectives first to lay the groundwork for learning to self-regulate social behavior with the help of the Superflex Curriculum and storybooks.

This storybook can be used with some tweens and teens
Elementary school-aged (K-5) students, as well as immature older middle and high school students who enjoy visual or comic-style books may benefit from this book. You don’t have to be a child to be interested in how the social world works. To benefit from this storybook requires readers to be able to think about their own and others’ thinking, as well as discuss the concepts with others!

This storybook can be used with almost all kids!
The expanded and revised lessons offer a variety of engaging ways to introduce metacognitive concepts—taught through our Social Thinking Methodology—to all kids in mainstream education. Interventionists and administrators often take for granted the complexities of social emotional learning for all kids. This book is a strong resource to be read and discussed with most kids ages 6–10 years old, whether you are a general education teacher, paraprofessional, parent, caregiver, special educator, grandparent, sibling, daycare worker, scout leader, and more. This storybook is for both neurotypical and Neurodivergent students in the classroom, clinic, or home.

No translations available
This 2nd edition storybook is not available in any other language, including Spanish or French.

High-engagement learning and practice
Every one of us should be learning to be a Social Detective to help us figure out what’s going on around us, in the books we read, and the media we consume. We are Social Detectives when we use our eyes, ears, hearts, and brains to figure out what others are planning to do next or are presently doing and what they mean by their words and actions. This engaging, illustrated book offers different concepts to teach social learners how to develop their own observation and context clue-interpreting skills. Enjoy watching your students and kids blossom daily into successful Social Detectives, who are taking the time to read a social situation prior to their forming a social response.

Related books
You Are a Social Detective! storybook provides an overview of key concepts that help to explore our own and others’ social thinking. Extend this teaching to kids in grades 4-7 with Social Thinking® and Me, a two-book set containing Kids’ Guidebook to Social Emotional Learning and Thinksheets for Social Emotional Learning. If interventionists want to learn more about the Social Thinking Methodology and ideas for social skills assessment, explore Thinking About You Thinking About Me, 2nd Ed. To learn even more Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts along with basic ideas for exploring them with your social learners, check out Think Social!. The concepts explored in this book then help social learners begin to harness their superflexible powers with the use of our Superflex Curriculum series.

On Demand training for more tips on teaching Social Thinking Vocabulary and treatment frameworks
Learn new ideas for teaching the core concepts with You Are A Social Detective!, as well as other Social Thinking Vocabulary and treatment frameworks through a variety of On Demand Courses.

Learn about our other products for kids 8–11 years old!
Michelle Garcia Winner, You Are a Social Detective! co-author and the founder of Social Thinking®, shares tips for teaching kids ages 8-11 with Social Thinking products (including You are a Social Detective!) in this free, recorded webinar. Get the inside scoop!

Award-winning Social Detective & Superflex Series

Our award-winning Social Detective & Superflex series teaches social observation, social awareness, perspective taking, flexible thinking, and self-regulation. Click here to explore all our Social Detective & Superflex resources—why this social emotional learning series has sold more than 447,000 copies worldwide!

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Instructors: Ryan Hendrix Kari Zweber Palmer

Explore the world of social observation and learn how it lays the foundation for better interpersonal relationships and academic learning. Understanding what it means to be a Social Detective (social observer), especially during the start of a new school year, is crucial to navigating change, academic learning, making friends & more. In this free webinar, we’ll explore the highly accessible and easy-to-embed You Are a Social Detective! Curriculum & Teaching Guide. You’ll watch a curriculum lesson taught by a mainstream third-grade teacher, peruse curriculum-generated student work, and discover innovative ways to adapt these social learning concepts for the secondary grades.

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