With access to an infinite library of information at the tip of your finger, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to learn about a new topic, particularly a topic as complex as neurodiversity. To help with this, we have compiled a list of our favourite children’s books that we feel do a great job of explaining and representing autism, Asperger’s and neurodiversity in a positive and fun way that you and your child will enjoy.
Not only is autism a difficult subject for adults to fully wrap their heads around, it can be challenging to explain to children as well. We believe it’s important that children learn from a young age what neurodiversity means and why at Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), we describe autism as a different brilliant®
It is with both parents and children in mind that we’ve selected this list of children’s books about autism and neurodiversity:
- Different Like Me: My Book of autism Heroes (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005) Jennifer Elder
- All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006) Kathy Hoopmann
- All My Stripes: A Story for Children with autism (Magination Press, 2015) Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
- Can I Tell You About Asperger’s Syndrome? (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003) Jude Welton
- My Brother Charlie (Scholastic Press, 2010) Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
- Since We’re Friends: An autism Picture Book (Sky Pony Press, 2012) Celeste Shally and David Harrington
Different Like Me: My Book of autism Heroes
Different Like Me introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy.
Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in - just like Quinn.
Fully illustrated in colour and written in child-friendly language, this book will be a wonderful resource for children, particularly children on the autism spectrum, their parents, teachers, carers and siblings.
All Cats have Aspergers Syndrome
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome takes a playful look at Asperger Syndrome (AS), drawing inspiration from the feline world in a way that will strike a chord with all those who are familiar with AS.
Delightful colour photographs of cats bring to life familiar characteristics such as sensitive hearing, scampering at the first sign of being stroked, and particular eating habits.
Touching, humorous and insightful, this book evokes the difficulties and joys of raising a child who is different and leaves the reader with a sense of the dignity, individuality, and potential of people with AS.
This engaging book is an ideal, gentle introduction to the world of AS.
All My Stripes – A Story for Children with autism
In All My Stripes, Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates. He worries that all they notice about him is his "autism stripe." With the help of his Mama, Zane comes to appreciate all his stripes - the unique strengths that make him who he is!
Can I Tell You About Asperger’s Syndrome?
Meet Adam - a young boy with AS. Adam invites young readers to learn about AS from his perspective. He helps children understand the difficulties faced by a child with AS - he tells them what AS is, what it feels like to have AS and how they can help children with AS by understanding their differences and appreciating their many talents.
This illustrated book is ideally suited for boys and girls between 7 and 15 years old and also serves as an excellent starting point for family and classroom discussions.
My Brother Charlie
Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He’s good at so many things - swimming, playing the piano, running fast. Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriett.
But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. Charlie is like any other boy – and he is on the autism spectrum. In this story, told from a sister’s point of view, we meet a family whose oldest son teaches them important lessons about togetherness, hope, tolerance, and love.
Holly Robinson Peete, bestselling author, actress, and national autism spokesperson, has paired with her daughter, Ryan, to co-author this uplifting book based on their own personal experiences with Holly’s son and Ryan’s brother, RJ, who is on the autism spectrum.
Since We’re Friends
Matt’s autism doesn’t keep him from having fun! Even when he struggles in social situations, his friend is there to help him out. The two boys love playing sports watching movies, reading books, and talking about animals. By working together, a best friend’s understanding and compassion change Matt’s frustration into excitement.
No matter where they go, from the basketball court to the playground swings to the neighborhood pool, the two friends enjoy spending time with each other.
David Harrington’s bright illustrations delightfully compliment Celeste Shally’s sweet and touching story of friendship. This book is the perfect guide for parents and children to better understand autistic people.
How do we describe autism?
Autism is a condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It is a lifelong disability that starts when a person is born and stays with them into old age. Every Autistic person is different to every other. This is why autism is described as a ‘spectrum’.
At Aspect we pride ourselves on being the leading autism services and support provider in Australia. With satellite classes all over Australia (Aspect satellite classes are in mainstream schools, so students get the tailored support they need, but also the chance to participate in everyday school life), we know how important it is for every child and their family and carers to understand autism.
Stories can be the best teachers
Stories are powerful and captivating ways for children to learn about complex topics. We hope that you enjoy learning more about autism and neurodiversity with your child, students or a child in your care. Shout out to us on facebook and let us know which book on our list you enjoyed the most, or send in your own recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to add to our list.