Authors: Michelle Garcia Winner,Pamela Crooke, PhD

Download PDFDownload our fidelity checklist to guide teaching.


Note: You are a Social Detective! is also available in Spanish and in French


Every one of us is a Social Detective. We are good Social Detectives when we use our eyes, ears, 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 entertaining comic book offers different ways that can be reviewed repeatedly with students to teach them how to develop their own social detective skills. Enjoy watching your students and kids blossom day-by-day into successful Social Detectives! Then, have children practice their detective skills with the interactive Social Detective App that's based on the book!

Elementary school-aged (K-5) students, and immature older middle and high school students who enjoy visual books, may benefit from this book. But this isn't just a book for students who have challenges relating to autism spectrum disorders, Asperger's, ADHD and like challenges.  The lessons also offer a variety of engaging ways to introduce the concepts of social thinking to general education teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, caregivers, special educators, grandparents, siblings, daycare workers, scout leaders, etc. So, don't think you have to be a kid to enjoy learning about social thinking! Throughout the book, 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 social thinking. The words are also fully defined for easy reference in the back of the book. Kids can read this themselves but it is best when adults read it with them, so that adults learn the social thinking vocabulary with the kids and then work to help the kids explore these concepts in their daily lives when the book is closed. This book is also the first book to read with students prior to introducing the Superflex lessons, as it teaches the core Social Thinking Vocabulary.

The Sections of the Book Include

  • School Smarts/Social Smarts & Expected Behavior
  • Unexpected Behavior
  • Being a Social Detective
  • Social thinking vocabulary keywords highlighted throughout the book and defined in the back of the book include
  • Social Smarts: The type of "smarts" in our brains that we use whenever we are around other people. Social smarts help our brains to know that others are having thoughts about us and we are having thoughts about them. We use social smarts in school, at home, and EVERYWHERE!
  • School Smarts: Different types of "smarts" in our brains that we use for school learning. Things like math smarts, computer smarts, music smarts, science smarts, and many more.
  • Body in the group: Your body is in the group if others feel you are part of the group. For example when you are standing, this means keeping your body about one arm's length away from others. The front of your body will be turned towards others in the group.
  • Brain in the group: Your brain is in the group when others feel that you are paying attention to what is happening in the group; for example, when you are thinking about others with your eyes and listening to what they are talking about.
  • Thinking with your eyes: This means that you are using your eyes to look at a person and it makes them feel that you are thinking about what they are saying or doing.


Related Books

You are a Social Detective provides an overview of key concepts that help to explore our own and others’ social thinking. A product that extends this teaching to kids in grades 4-7 is Social Thinking and Me (Winner & Murphy, 2016), a two-book set containing a Kids’ Guidebook to Social Emotional Learning and Thinksheets for Social Emotional Learning. The set dives deeper into Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts such as flexible thinking and stuck thinking, thinking with your eyes, the hidden rules and expected and unexpected behaviors, awareness to our body, eyes, ears, and brain in the group, and others.


Learn How to Teach You are a Social Detective!

Michelle Garcia Winner, You are a Social Detective co-author and the founder of Social Thinking, shares tips for teaching ages 8-11 with Social Thinking products (including You are a Social Detective), in this free, recorded webinar. Get the inside scoop!



- +
Add To Cart

What People are Saying


  • Mom's Choice Award Winner

    The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children and families. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 40 countries.

  • NAPPA Winner

    The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) is one of the longest running and most respected awards programs in the country. With 25 years of experience in the industry, we have been continuously celebrated as the "go-to" source for parents and professionals seeking the best products for their children and families.

  • Autism Society of America's Literary Work

    Each year, the Autism Society of America presents a number of awards to individuals and organizations in recognition of their commitment to the autism community. Award winners are announced each year at the Autism Society’s National Conference and Exposition. Nominees should exemplify positive impact on the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Product Details

  • Profession

    Behaviorist, Mental Health (counselor, social worker, psych), Occupational Therapist (and PT), Parent, Speech Language Pathologist, Teacher (Sp.Ed. and Gen.Ed.)
  • Age

    Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Middle School
  • Diagnostic Label

    Attention Issues (ADD/ADHD), Anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Language or Learning Disability, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Social Communication Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, No Diagnosis, Other
  • Social Thinking & Social Skills

    Common Core & State Standards, Concepts & Frameworks, PBIS/RTI, Self Regulation, Social Responsibility & Executive Functioning, Social Academic Connection & Goal Writing, Social Emotional & Mental Health, Social Problem Solving, Social Skill Strategies
  • Additional Languages

    French, Spanish
  • Publishing Info

  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Think Social Publishing, Inc.
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 62
  • ISBN: 9780979292262
  • We Take Purchase Orders