17 books about autism

In honour of World Autism Awareness Day, we've compiled a list of great books that talk about being on the spectrum.
Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

1. Noah Chases the Wind

Noah-2015

Written by Michelle Worthington and illustrated by Joseph Cowman, Red Leaf Press

Noah sees the world differently and loves to question things that most people don’t even think about. Join Noah as he tries to find out where the wind goes. This beautifully illustrated introduction to autism for kids celebrates the special characteristics of children on the autism spectrum. $23, chapters.indigo.ca

2. Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism

Bright Not Broken

By Diane M. Kennedy, Rebecca S. Banks, with Temple Grandin, Jossey-Bass

Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum, has struggled with autism all her life, but has not allowed her disorder to be an obstacle in her journey to follow her dreams. This book discusses the important issues of misdiagnosis and providing “gifted” children with the appropriate educational support. $20, indigo.ca

3. When My Worries Get Too Big!A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety

when my worries get too big

By Kari Dunn Buron, Autism Asperger Publishing Company

This illustrated children’s book teaches kids to develop their own self-calming practices. Adults who read this book with kids suffering from anxiety or mental illness, can educate them about how to relax themselves and balance their stress levels so that they may demonstrate a better focus on the tasks at hand. $45, indigo.ca

4. Autism: Understanding the Puzzle

autism understanding the puzzle

By Sharla R. Jordan, Lulu Press

Are you confused about what Autism Spectrum Disorder means? Is autism a foreign concept to you, or are you familiar with the illness but would like to learn more? Are family and friends asking you questions you don’t have the answers to? You’ll find explanations that are easy to understand in this book. Use it as a quick reference or as a resource to help explain ASD. $9, lulu.com

5. Have you met my brother, John?: A story about a little boy named Nicholas and his very special brother
have you met my brother john

By Mary Potts, Xlibris, Corp.

Nicholas’s older brother John doesn’t act like the other kids or talk like them either. But to Nicholas, he’s just like everyone else, only special. Little Nicholas shows his friends that having an autistic brother like John is the most wonderful thing. $16, amazon.com

Extra: This story comes as an app, too! Check out Have You Met My Brother, John? on iTunes.ca ($2)

6. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids On the Spectrum
raising kids on the spectrum

By Rebecca Dr. Landa, Mary Beth Marsden, Nancy Burrows, Simon & Schuster

In this book are 101 insightful stories written by parents and experts for parents who have children with autism or Asperger’s. These stories of experience will make you cry and laugh, and will comfort you by reminding you to stay hopeful and positive. $13, indigo.ca

7. The Spark: A mother’s story of nurturing genius

Random House Canada

Written by Kristine Barnett, Random House of Canada

When Kristine Barnett’s son, Jake, was diagnosed with autism, she knew that she wouldn’t be the kind of mom who would restrict her child’s life to what society thinks it should be. Therapists told her that Jake shouldn’t bother to learn the alphabet, or tie his shoes, but Barnett’s perseverance in nurturing her child’s intelligence has led him to researching quantum physics at Indiana University. The Spark tells the story of their journey. $21, chapters.indigo.ca

8. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

The-Reason-I-Jump

Written by Naoki Higashida, Random House of Canada

Written in first-person, Higashida gives the world an inside look of what it’s like to be a 13-year-old boy with severe autism. Despite having started writing the book when he was only in middle school, Higashida is mature beyond his years and discusses heavy topics such as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication. The book includes an introduction by Cloud Atlas author, David Mitchell, and is translated by his wife, KA Yoshida. $25, chapters.indigo.ca

9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time

Written by Mark Haddon, Random House of Canada

Narrated by Sherlock-obsessed autistic teen Christopher John Francis Boone, this fictional story follows him as he sets off to solve the case of who killed his neighbour’s dog—something he’s been blamed for. He faces challenges along the way, such as his parents’ separation, and has some emotional moments, but it’s all part of Haddon’s goal to get the reader to delve into Christopher’s mindset. $20, chapters.indigo.ca

10. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

Written by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Autism was named in 1947—the year Temple Grandin was born. This book talks about the new scientific discoveries in the field, such as advancements in neuroimaging, and new research in genetics. Having already changed some minds on autism with her TED talk “The world needs all kind of minds,” Grandin explores the spectrum through her own experiences in The Autistic Brain. $21, chapters.indigo.ca

11. The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome

The Asperkid's Secret Book of Social Rules

Written by Jennifer Cook O’Toole, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Jennifer Cook O’Toole knows that being a teen is hard, especially when you’re one with Asperger’s syndrome like she was. Her handbook is written in a funny and respectful manner: “For Aspies by an Aspie,” as she puts it. Full of illustrations and helpful advice, it’s the kind of book O’Toole wished she read when she was a teen. $23, chapters.indigo.ca

Read more: Autism: How to help your child reach out socially and emotionally>

12. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Look Me In The Eye

Written by John Elder Robison, Three Rivers Press

Labelled as a “social deviant” when he was younger for avoiding eye contact, taking radios apart and displaying other odd behaviour, John Robinson grew up thinking he was just unable to connect with people. At age 40, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The way he saw the world and himself changed from then on. $17, indigo.chapters.ca

13. House Rules

House Rules

By Jodi Picoult, Washington Square Press

Jacob Hunt, a teen with Asperger’s syndrome, uses his brilliant mind to focus on forensic analysis. Due to his typical Asperger behaviours, Jacob becomes a suspect for police when a murder is committed in their small town. Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper, brings a new story that portrays the difficulties that families of autistic children face. $20, chapters.indigo.ca

14. Daniel Isn’t Talking

Daniel Isn't Talking

By Marti Leimbach, Nan A. Talese / Doubleday

Stephen and Melanie Marsh have two kids: Emily, 4, and Daniel, 3. For the most part, they lead a typical life in London, but their world is shattered when Daniel is diagnosed with autism. Melanie becomes determined to teach Daniel how to speak and play “normally,” all while life gets more difficult and destroys her marriage. Andy, a speech therapist, starts working with Daniel and shows the Marshes that he has limitless potential. $21, chapters.indigo.ca

15. Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Different Like Me: My book of autism heroes

By Jennifer Elder, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Illustrated in colour and written in kid-friendly language, Different Like Me is meant to educate kids ages eight to 12 on different historical figures who had autism. Eight-year-old Quinn narrates this picture book, introducing readers to people like Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky—all autism heroes. $21, indigo.chapters.ca

16. The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone with Autism

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a friend to someone with autism

By Ellen Sabin, Watering Can Press

This activity book, targeted to kids ages six to 13, teaches kids about understanding and accepting autism. By helping the reader imagine what it would feel like to endure the difficulties people with autism encounter, The Autism Acceptance Book is the perfect manual for education a class or your own kids. $19, indigo.chapters.ca

17. The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

9781452133515_350_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Barry Jonsberg, Chronicle Kids

This short novel is a book about a twelve-year-old girl, who is smart and quirky, perhaps a little more quirky than others, and determined to make sure everyone around her is happy. She is also autistic, but that’s only a side note. Readers will fall in love with this character who, really, is just like everyone else. $17, chroniclebooks.com

 

Read more: Tips on how to build more interaction with your autistic child at home>

 

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