Celebrate Autism!: Books Featuring Characters with Autism

Celebrate Autism!: Books Featuring Characters with Autism

 

Everyone needs books that can act as mirrors, allowing them to see themselves, or windows, allowing them to see the world through someone else’s point of view. Whether these books featuring characters with autism are mirrors or windows for you, they are sure to deepen your understanding of autism spectrum disorder.

Print the Celebrate Autism! list

 


Compiled by:
Kim B.

Picture Books and Younger Elementary

All My Stripes

Shaina Rudolph
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Rud)

Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his "autism stripe," he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more. Recommended for ages 3-6.


A Boy Called Bat

Elana K Arnold
(Juvenile Fiction - J Arnold)

When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has autism, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently. Recommended for ages 6-9.


David’s World: A Picture Book about Living with Autism

Dagmar H. Mueller
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mue)

An older sibling tries to understand his brother, David, who lives with autism. His brother notices all the ways that David is different from himself as well as David’s strengths. Recommended for ages 3–6.


A Friend for Henry

Jenn Bailey
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bai)

Henry would like to find a friend at school, but for a boy on the autism spectrum, making friends can be difficult. Henry's efforts are sometimes misinterpreted or things just go wrong, but he keeps trying and finds a friend he can play with. Recommended for ages 3-6.


The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

Julia Finley Mosca
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Grandin Mos)

Diagnosed at an early age with autism, Temple Grandin grew up at a time when there was generally little care or regard for those like her. However, Grandin's mother was able to secure the therapies and education her daughter needed to thrive. ("She was Different, Not less,' they all finally agreed.") Grandin would eventually design animal husbandry techniques to more humanely treat livestock in the meat industry. Recommended for ages 6-9.


My Brother Charlie

Holly Robinson Peete
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Pee)

A girl tells what it is like living with her twin brother who has autism and sometimes finds it hard to communicate with words, but who in most ways is just like any other boy. Includes an author's note about autism. Recommended for ages 3–6.


Slug Days

Sara Leach
(Juvenile Fiction - J Leach)

Seeing the world very differently because of Asperger's syndrome, young Lauren struggles to navigate the challenges of school life and masters tricks to stay calm, understand others' feelings and let her personality shine. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Too Sticky: Sensory Issues with Autism

Jen Malia
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mal)

With help from her family and teacher, Holly overcomes her dislike of having sticky hands to participate in a science experiment. Includes an author's note about living with autism and a recipe for making slime. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Waiting for Benjamin: A Story about Autism

Alexandra Altman
(Juvenile Picture Book - Ej Alt)

Alexander experiences feelings of disappointment, anger, embarrassment, and jealousy when his younger brother is diagnosed with autism. Recommended for ages 6-9.


Older Elementary

Anything but Typical

Nora Raleigh Baskin
(Juvenile Fiction - J Baskin)

Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Forever Neverland

Susan Adrian
(Juvenile Fiction - J Adrian)

Told in two voices, Clover, age 12, and her autistic brother Fergus, age 11, discover they are descendants of Wendy Darling and set off with Peter Pan for adventures in Neverland. Recommended for ages 8–12.


Mockingbird

Kathryn Erskine
(Juvenile Fiction - J Erskine)

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Planet Earth is Blue

Nicole Panteleakos
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pantele)

Autistic and nearly nonverbal, twelve-year-old Nova is happy in her new foster home and school, but eagerly anticipates the 1986 Challenger launch, for which her sister, Bridget promised to return. Recommended for ages 9-12.


The Someday Birds

Sally J. Pla
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pla)

Charlie, twelve, who has autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder, must endure a cross-country trip with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit their father, who will undergo brain surgery. Recommended for ages 8–12.


The Space We’re In

Katya Balen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Balen)

Ten-year-old Frank's life revolves around his autistic brother, five-year-old Max, which can be hard to navigate. In this intriguing, intense, and respectful family story, Frank learns to love Max for who he is. Recommended for ages 8–12.

 


Superstar

Mandy Davis
(Juvenile Fiction - J Davis)

Lester's first days as a fifth-grader are not even a little bit like he thought they would be––the cafeteria is too loud, there are too many kids, and there's a bully. Lester was always homeschooled, and now he's shocked to be at a school where everything seems wrong...until he hears about the science fair! This touching peek into the life of a sensitive boy on the autism spectrum testifies that what you can do isn't nearly as important as who you are. Recommended for ages 8–12.


We Could Be Heroes

Margaret Mary Finnegan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Finnega)

Fourth-graders Maisie and Hank, who has autism, become friends as they devise schemes to save a neighbor's dog, Booler, from being tied to a tree because of his epilepsy. Recommended for ages 8-12.