Finding a good book for kids living with autism can be difficult. The Novita team has done the hard work for you!
We’ve reviewed some excellent, suitable books for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families, which are available through the Novita Library and other libraries throughout South Australia. Contact us if you have any suggestions about other great books that you and your kids have read.
by Jude Welton
Thomas Loves… is a rhyming picture book about a boy called Thomas who is a child living with autism. The book introduces the reader to some of Thomas’s traits which might be related to his autism such as repeating words, flapping his hands when he gets stressed and liking routine. The book is a good introduction to autism to educate kids who don’t know what autism is, and for them to see that in the end we all have similarities. According to the author, ‘The book aims to help children see that although a child like Thomas may be different from them in some ways, he is just like them in his need for love, fun and friendship.
Waiting for Hugo
by Amanda Niland
Waiting for Hugo is a children’s picture book about the relationship between two kids — a sister and a brother who is living with autism, with delightful water colour illustrations. Hugo’s family are always waiting for him because he likes to count things. His sister doesn’t like this at first, saying ‘I really wish I didn’t have a brother who has to count things’. In the end though, she sees the bright side of Hugo’s counting and they have fun together.
Available at SA libraries.
I am an Aspie Girl
by Danuta Bulhak-Paterson
This picture book is about a girl called Lizzie. Lizzie introduces the reader to how Asperger’s syndrome presents in girls, like the fact that ‘Aspie girls’ are often good at blending in with others but how this can make them very tired after school. The book includes discussion points such as ‘Do you get really tired after being at school all day’. This allows girls to start a dialogue with a parent who they are reading the book with. The book can be used to educate people about how Asperger’s (or autism) presents in girls and can be used by girls with Asperger’s to help explain their feelings to others who need to know.
by Rose Mannering
Boo’s Beard is about a little dog called Boo and his owner Tom, who wants to be able to play with other children but doesn’t really understand them. The book uses the dog Boo to help explain different expressions. The children then ask both Tom and his dog Boo to play. This book would be suitable for children living with autism and any child who enjoys a good story and beautiful illustrations.
Ben’s School Daze
by Robyn Sims and Joanne Larcom
Ben’s School Daze is an illustrated rhyming picture book which introduces the reader to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). With Sensory processing disorder a small amount of input through people’s senses can be too much. Through Ben’s day at school we see the challenges that he has to overcome because of SPD such as sounds being overwhelming. This book is useful for parents and teachers as it has condensed information and strategies for dealing with SPD. This book includes discussion questions in the beginning which might be good to raise with kids that have SPD so they can tell you how they are feeling. It can also be used in the classroom as a tool to help kids understand their peers living with SPD.
A Manual for Marco
by Shaila Abdullah
A manual for Marco is about the special and not so special parts about having a brother living with autism written from the sister’s perspective. This story was based on an 8-year old girls list of the things she likes and dislikes about having a brother who lives with autism. This story would be relatable for siblings who have a sibling living with autism. It offers some tips to parents to improve the relationship between siblings. This would be a good book to explain autism and some of the traits to kids who don’t know what autism is.
A Friend for Henry
by Jenn Bailey
A Friend for Henry is a story about Henry, a child who has traits of living on the autism spectrum, and his search for a friend. It has expressive, well drawn illustrations. It might be useful to read for kids who are starting school. It could help them understand that there might be kids who they don’t like as well as who they do like, and to not give up on finding a friend.
Available at SA libraries.
I Am Utterly Unique
by Elaine Marie Larson
I Am Utterly Unique by Elaine Marie Larson celebrates ‘the strengths of children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. The book goes through the letters of the alphabet and lists strengths that children living with autism might have, starting with that letter. This book would be a good tool for children to learn how to read.
Different Like Me: My book of autism heroes
by Jennifer Elder
Different Like Me is a book of famous people who lived or are living with autism. It celebrates their achievements in science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, art and more. This may be a good book for older children to learn about these important figures in history and their discoveries, and to make them realise that people living with autism can achieve great things.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome
by Kathy Hoopman
The book All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome can be used as an introduction to Asperger’s for children and adults. The book writes about the common traits of a child living with Asperger’s and the strengths they might have. One downside is that the book refers to children with Asperger’s as a ‘he’ throughout the book so it is not necessarily inclusive of girls. Nevertheless, the book is relevant and the cat photos accompanying the text are illustrative and cute.
My Friend with Autism
My Friend with Autism is a picture book about a child living with autism. It gives examples of ways to deal with social problems which might arise when one child is living with autism. In one example the child living with autism is being rough and the narrator says ‘I can help him by reminding him to be gentle and by remembering not to play too roughly myself. The book provides brief information about what autism is and provides an explanation of the concepts on each page and how they relate to autism. This would be a useful book for kids to understand about kids living with autism.