As we approach Inclusive Schools Week, we are highlighting different inclusive books each day. Some schools will be willing to work with you to feature these books in your school libraries. If you are interested in additional titles, a quick google search and/or working with your local librarians is a good way to find more inclusive titles. If you have an inclusive book that you’d like to share with us, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a link directly on our Facebook group!
Inclusive Books List: Autism
We have used several sources to put together a list of inclusive books featuring characters with Autism that spans a wide age range. (Please see the bottom of this post for sources used).
DISCLAIMER: Inclusion in these inclusive book lists does not imply Fairfax County SEPTA endorsement of any publisher, product, program or technique.
|Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko||Ages 10+||When his father decides to take a job at Alcatraz in the 1930’s, Moose Flanagan’s life is uprooted when his family moves to the island, to live on the prison grounds with some of history’s most dangerous criminals. The story also explores Moose’s relationship with his autistic older sister, Natalie, and captures what it’s like for him to be the neurotypical sibling.|
|Elementary||This is the story of Zane, a zebra with autism, who worries that his differences make him stand out from his peers. With careful guidance from his mother, Zane learns that autism is only one of many qualities that make him special. Contains a Note to Parents by Drew Coman, PhD, and Ellen Braaten, PhD, as well as a Foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.|
|The Autism Acceptance Book, by Ellen Sabin
||Ages 6-13 years||An activity book, a conversation-starter and an educational tool that teaches children about autism, develops their understanding and empathy for their peers facing this challenge, and engages them in learning to embrace people’s differences with respect, compassion and kindness.|
|Autism Is…? by||Preschool / Elementary||Logan overhears his grandma tell her friend he has autism, and he asks her, ”Autism is…?” She explains it to him in this beautifully illustrated story. Someone wisely said, “If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” The characteristics are different with each unique individual, and so are the ways to interact, teach, and care for them. You may or may not wish to explain the term autism to your child at a young age, but if you do, I hope this book can help make it easier for you, as it did for me when explaining autism to Logan. His inquisitive mind wanted to know, and once he read this story, even before it was illustrated, he was satisfied with the answer.|
|Fortune on the Spectrum, by
|Young Adult||Denny was diagnosed with autism at three years of age. Autism gave him the gift of obsession. This gift made him the youngest, self-made millionaire in Texas history. Autism also made him vulnerable to the forces of the outside world, of both society and nature. Fortune on the Spectrum is the journey of an unstoppable young man, destined to succeed and challenged to survive. Denny’s story takes you through struggle, humor, love, finance and danger from the voice of an atypical mind.|
|A Friend Like Simon, by
|Preschool / Elementary||When an autistic child joins a mainstream school, many children can find it difficult to understand and cope with a student that is somewhat ‘different’ to them. This story encourages other children to be mindful and patient of the differences that exist and to also appreciate the positive contribution that an autistic child can make to the group|
|How to Speak Dolphin, by
|Ages 8-12 years||Lily loves her half-brother, Adam, but his autism has taken over her life. Lily can’t make friends or go out after school — caring for Adam has forced Lily to become as much mother as sister. All Lily wants is for her stepfather, Don, to acknowledge that Adam has a real issue, and to find some kind of program that can help him. Then maybe she can have a life of her own.|
|Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism, by Laurie Lears
||Preschool / Elementary||Julie can’t wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn’t have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly.|
|Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome, by
||Elementary||Answering the question Why is Sam different?, this heartwarming story tells of the challenges of living with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. This firsthand view of the life of an undiagnosed child presents behaviors and characteristics that are common among children with this disorder. Sam doesn’t like his pancakes to touch, his sister is annoyed with his repetitive song, and his new coat hurts his skin, but once he is diagnosed, teamwork-based support helps Sam’s life become a little easier. With endearing illustrations, the book includes 10 helpful tips geared toward children, showing them how to respect and accept differences as well as to interact with a classmate or friend with Asperger Syndrome.
*from Fairfax County SEPTA: Please note that this book was written prior to the removal of Asperger Syndrome from the DSM-5*
|Waylen Wants to Jam, by||Preschool / Elementary||Waylen has autism. He is constantly challenged in how to communicate and participate, but he loves to drum. He always will tell his mom, “I want to go drumming.” Waylen is fortunate to have an incredibly supportive mother and extended family, which allows him to participate in a community program. Because of Waylen’s strong interest and this support, he is successful on the drumline.
This success has started to change his life. Drumming is an extracurricular activity that could link to many opportunities as he ages. He feels like he belongs when he is drumming. Someday he will be drumming in his school band and maybe he will become a member of a world famous rhythm and blues band.
Why I Laugh: A Book About Autism, by
|Preschool / Elementary||This book tells the story of a young boy with Autism as he and his family find out about his disorder. The book explains some of the symptoms of Autism and could be used as bibliotherapy in the classroom.|
This is just a place to start. Check with your school’s librarian or related service providers to see if they have any suggestions for you and your child as well!
Sources and Additional Resources:
- Fairfax County SEPTA member recommendation
- Inclusive Books list put together by Laurel Ridge Elementary’s Librarian
- A Day in Our Shoes – 10 Books for Kids About Inclusion and Acceptance
- Barnes & Noble Blog – 7 of Our Favorite Middle Grade Books Featuring Characters on the Autism Spectrum
- Finding My Way Books