front cover
Nancy Pearl Book Award Winner
Gold IPPY AWARD Winner
Washington State Book Award Finalist
Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Finalist

The Chicken Who Saved Us

The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful

This true story of fierce and faithful parenting is what author and world-renowned autism spokesperson, TEMPLE GRANDIN, describes as “Heartbreakingly beautiful.”

Eight-year-old Andrew is autistic and bilingual. He speaks English and Chicken. With words limited by autism, Andrew lives in a fantasy world where chickens talk and superheroes come alive. But when he tells his pet chicken Frightful that his body is trying to kill him, it launches Andrew’s family and an entire medical community into a decade-long quest for answers. This beautiful, fierce, and refreshingly honest memoir takes readers on a mother’s journey through the complex landscape of modern medicine to discover the healing bond between a boy and Frightful, the chicken who saves them all.

Keep up with the latest book news, events, and book readings here, on my blog, Letters from the Coop, or on my Facebook page, Kristin Jarvis Adams, Author.

My son couldn't tell me what was happening to his body—but he could tell his chicken, Frightful.


The Chicken Who Saved Us is available wherever books are sold,
and at these online booksellers:



Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions

Discussion <br>Questions


 Printable Copy

  1. Research shows that the human-animal bond can aid in healing from stroke, injury, and PTSD. Pets can also lower blood pressure and alleviate anxiety and depression. Have you experienced a special bond with an animal that helped you to heal?
  2. Why do you think it was easier for Andrew to communicate with Frightful rather than his parents or another family member?
  3. The Chicken Who Saved Us touches on the stresses of raising a child with autism. Do you know anyone raising a child with special needs? 
  4. How was Hannah affected by her brother’s recurring illness? Would you have parented differently?
  5. Have you ever made a life-or-death decision for a loved one?
  6. Kristin describes an unexpected encounter at the grocery store with a woman who filled her cart with food, purchased it, and sent her home, saying, “You are taken care of tonight. Bless you.” Has anyone ever shown you a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel?
  7. Kristin began questioning her faith during her son’s health crisis. What is your view on faith, and how has it changed throughout your life?
  8. After a desperate midnight phone call to a local church, Pastor Becki encourages Kristin to accept help from others. What did she mean by, “You will have people now, people who can hold you, your family, and your story.”
  9. Sue becomes Andrew’s closest human friend. How was her relationship different than Frightful, and in what ways was it similar?
  10. What did Sue’s stories offer Andrew that simple conversation could not?
  11. At what point in the story does Andrew turn to superheroes to connect with his feelings? Why superheroes?
  12. What is the significance of Shadow the Hedgehog? Why do you think Andrew relates to this particular video game character?
  13. Raising a special needs child with the addition of a medical crisis can easily fracture a family. What allowed Jon and Kristin to function well as a team?
  14. In the book, Kristin refers to her relationship with Jon as “extreme tag-team parenting.” Have you ever put your marriage on hold during a transition or crisis? How did you navigate through it?
  15. What would you sacrifice for your children?
  16. At the urging of a friend, Kristin visits Leah, an art therapist. Leah’s approach to therapy was a deeply profound way for her to get in touch with her fears. Where do you turn when you need to make sense of your life?
  17. Are dreams important to you? Kristin shares her frequent visions of a lake, stating that she always had two friends with her. Who do you think they were?
  18. At one point, Kristin asks Frightful who she is. What do you think?
  19. Near the end of the book, Kristin admits that healing for her is an ongoing process. When she let go of her need for a perfect life, she was able to embrace her “new normal.” What does that mean to you?
  20. What themes could you relate to most after reading The Chicken Who Saved Us?