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12 Must-Read Autism Books for Every Stage

Knowledge is power! These autism books are ideal for every step and stage.

12 Must-Read Autism Books for Every Stage

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Starting at a young age, reading is a key skill to develop. While children with autism can face challenges, they benefit from books like their peers — some kiddos love to read themselves while others enjoy having books read to them. We’ve curated a list of autism books to elevate reading for little ones and their parents.

But don’t panic! If they don’t initially show an interest in books, it’s important to introduce reading into their routine because it supports their development. For some, it’s the key addition to combat sleeping issues at night.

Why autism books are so important

Austim books are equally important for both kids and their parents. “Reading is knowledge. Books that serve parents and children on the autism journey can be a great teaching tool as they can provide insight and help promote an understanding of autism for readers,” says Alisha Simpson-Watt, Executive Clinical Director and founder at Collaborative ABA Services.

“This information can be helpful for children who may not understand the challenges they are experiencing in a life with autism, in addition to a parent/caregiver who does not know where to start nor understand their child’s perspective.”

For Simpson-Watt, autism books assist individuals and families impacted by autism to better understand autism spectrum disorder. “It leads to a better understanding of the strengths and challenges for individuals on the spectrum, and how to support. Autism books are empowering,” she says.

If you’re planning your next trip to the bookstore, Simpson-Watt recommends looking into who the authors are and their credentials. “If you are reading a book to a young child diagnosed with autism, the book should be a children’s book for children with autism.”

Some other features to look out for include books that portray autism as a neurodiverse spectrum of disorders and celebrate diversity, and books that provide updated information based on science and research. For kiddos, books that include pictures are ideal because individuals on the spectrum can benefit from visual aids.

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“I would recommend looking into who the authors are and what credentials they have to ensure they’re reputable. The books you choose should be relatable and appropriate.”

The best autism books to add to your collection

Amazing Me: A Kids Guide to Understanding AutismAmazing Me: A Kids Guide to Understanding Autism by Dr. McKenzie Schneider, must-read autism books

This heartwarming story is an informative children's book that follows Alex, a child with autism, as they navigate the world with their unique strengths and challenges. Through engaging storytelling and relatable experiences, young readers — up to age 12 — develop a deeper understanding of what it means to have autism.

The Volcano No One Could See

The Volcano No One Could See by Nat Bickel, must-read autism books

Ideal for ages two to six, this book tells the tale of an unlikely volcano that appears in the heart of a city — it’s only visible to certain people. The story is a metaphor for kids to be aware of issues in our society that they’re often blind to unless they have been personally affected by them.

As a reflection of real life, the book spreads cognizance of autism and other unique lived experiences that come with systemic prejudices.

My Brother Charlie

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete, must-read autism books
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Actress Holly Robinson Peete pens a personal tale based on her son, who has autism. Ideal for little ones aged four to eight, this book’s narrative follows twin siblings navigating the world with one’s differences. Mixed media illustrations and a heartfelt story make it one of the best autism books for kids.

Noah Chases the Wind

Noah Chases the Wind by Michelle Worthington, must-read autism books

This unique tale follows Noah, a child who sees the world differently and loves to question things that most people don’t think about. Filled with rich illustrations, this picture book celebrates the inquisitive nature of all children, including those on the autism spectrum.

Ideal for ages three and eight, this book about a boy with autism is an illustrated introduction to ASD and social skills for younger people, celebrating the special characteristics of children on the spectrum.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, must-read autism books
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Narrated by Sherlock-obsessed Christopher, this fictional novel follows a teen with autism as he sets off to solve the case of who killed his neighbor’s dog—something he’s been blamed for. As readers dive into the teen’s detailed mindset, we discover unexpected truths about him and the world. It’s poignant yet funny telling of one’s journey through autism.

It's a brilliant book for parents filled with interesting details and practical solutions for ASD, life with Asperger's and beyond.

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek, must-read autism books

Autism was named in 1947 — the same year Temple Grandin was born. This book unpacks the new scientific discoveries in the field, like advancements in neuroimaging and new genetics research. At 256 pages, the novel unpacks a sophistication about herself and the science of autism so far.

When Things Get Too Loud: A Story About Sensory Overload

When Things Get Too Loud: A Story About Sensory Overload by Anne Alcott, must-read autism books
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When the world is too much, Bo’s Feel-O-Meter goes up. With vibrant illustrations and bold colors, this book guides your child through the feelings of sensory overload. It helps adults to prevent overstimulation and helps their children understand that it's perfectly ok to feel this way.

Readers gain insight into how it can feel to struggle with hyperstimulation. It gives children a voice and a tool to communicate their emotions in moments of sensory overload.

All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism

All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer, must-read autism books

This is a helpful, award winning story for kids with autism spectrum disorders as they follow a young zebra, Zane, who learns to understand how he is different from the rest of his classmates. With a bold, honest spirit, he learns to appreciate his unique stripe — emphasizing the importance of embracing everyone’s differences and expressing love.

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“The book teaches the readers about accepting differences within themselves and others in addition to developing empathy and understanding for individuals on the spectrum,” says Simpson-Watt.

Uniquely Wired: A Story About Autism and Its Gifts

Uniquely Wired: A Story About Autism and Its Gifts by Julia Cook, must-read autism books

Though his actions may seem peculiar to some, Zak's experiences, desires and disappointments are as ordinary as any child's — he’s uniquely wired. As he embraces life the only way he knows how, the illuminating story teaches important lessons about fairness, patience, curiosity and independence.

Ideal for ages six to nine, the book aims to impact those who live, work, play or go to school with children on the autism spectrum or who have other special needs. It's an important read for any young person with autism.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price, must-read autism books

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As the title suggests, this book is a deep dive into the spectrum of the autistic experience and the phenomenon of masked autism. Masking is a coping mechanism where people with autism hide their identifiable traits to fit in with societal norms, adopting a superficial personality at the expense of their mental health.

When My Worries Get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety

When My Worries Get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety by Kari Dunn Buron, must-read autism books

This illustrated children’s book teaches kids to develop their self-calming practices and ease their bodies. With wonderfully goofy illustrations, the picture book communicates how to recognize stress and certain moods before they spin out of control. The direct teaching approach puts the power in the hands of the children themselves.

Ideal for ages three to nine, the book features a section for adults, which provides helpful tips to educate littles ones about how to relax and balance their stress levels.

Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity

Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity by Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, must-read autism books

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Autism is not a one-size-fits-all disorder — from diagnosis, every person’s experience is unique and it’s a journey to acceptance and understanding. From childhood and education to culture and gender identity, this anthology tackles the everyday joys and challenges of growing up with autism.

Part memoir, part guide and part love letter, the novel highlights how parents can avoid common mistakes and misconceptions, and make their children feel truly accepted, valued and celebrated for who they are—ASD, Asperger's syndrome or anything else.

Experts: 

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