28 Insightful Kids' Books About Autism

My Brother Charlie

Callie is the big sister to Charlie, a pretty cool kid with a lot of special knowledge and talent. He's pretty amazing at playing the piano and his knowledge of airplanes is amazing. Charlie also happens to have autism which, as Callie explains, makes his brain work differently. And because of this, he has a hard time expressing his feelings or making friends.  An upbeat, balanced perspective of what it's like for siblings of kids with autism.







Picture Books for Children about Autism

The list of picture books about kids with autism is growing.  Children on the autism spectrum have unique personality traits and challenges socializing. Every child can learn from the stories in these books about kids with autism. By learning more about why these kids exhibit certain behavior, children will understand, develop empathy, and make social connections with those who don't possess the skill to do it on their own.


Uniquely Wired

 This is a valuable book about a little boy who explains what it is like to be on the autism spectrum. He talks about some of his unique tendencies, such as his obsession with watches. In fact, he's always had obsessions with one object or another and loves to talk to people about his vast knowledge of very specific topics. After reading this story, children will develop a better understanding of why kids with autism behave in certain ways.




All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

 Children with autism will relate to this zebra who learns to wear his special stripe proudly. At first Zane is self-counscious about his autism and doesn't want to be noticed for it. His mother helps him understand that every single zebra has unique stripes and that is what makes them so special. An upbeat, colorful, accessible picture book that helps children learn to embrace their differences.



Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book

This is an insightful picture book about a friendship involving a neurotypical boy and his classmate. Matt's best friend understands his challenges, and offers unwavering support through a variety of situations. Together, they enjoy typical activies like playing sports, watching movies, and talking about their interests. Most important of all, they just like being together. A wonderful children's book about autism with a focus on inclusivity. 




Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Told from the perspective of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome who understands that kids want nothing more than to fit in with their peers. This informative book is full of stories about famous, brilliant people who accomplished important things. And they all share something in common- autism. Readers learn about Albert Einstein, Lewis Carroll, Wassilly Kandinsky and other remarkable people who have made great contributions to society.




How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine

A true story about Dr. Temple Grandin, a prominent scientist and animal behaviorist, who also lives with autism. As a little girl, she longed for human contact, but at the same time she couldn't stand to be hugged. To her, hugging was an uncomfortable gesture, like being stuffed in a scratchy sock or getting your teeth drilled by the dentist. So with a bit of ingenuity, Temple solved this problem by inventing a hug machine. An inspiring children's book about autism that challenges readers to think outside the box.



I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism

Widely used by teachers, the story is told from the perspective of the autistic child. It gives a voice to every child who struggles making friends and getting along in an inclusive classroom setting. The austisic child explains that his brain works differently and that he sees the everything around him in a different light. It encourages neurotypical kids to have patience, be kind, and form friendships with autistic children despite the challenges. The pages are chock full of real life experiences and tips for engaging with kids on the autistic spectrum.



Benji, the Bad Day, and Me

A special children's book about autism and brotherly love. Sammy is having one heck of a bad day. He gets into trouble for misbehaving at school, the cafeteria runs out of pizza, and he gets soaking wet from the rain on his walk home. Sammy is especially annoyed because no one seems to be concerned about his bad days. His parents only care when his autistic brother, Benji, is having difficulty. In a touching reversal of roles, Benji is the one who comforts Sammy and teaches him how to cope with his feelings.



Too Sticky! Sensory Issues with Autism

A must-read for kids on the autism spectrum who experience sensory issues. A high-functioning autistic girl experiences some anxiety when her science teacher introduces an experiment with slime. Holly has an extreme aversion to anything sticky, so she does not want to participate. With the gentle encouragement of her teacher and classmates, she finds the courage to try completing the project. Illustrations accurately portray the social and emotional struggles of a little girl who has to work hard to overcome her difficulties.




A Friend Like Simon

A fresh, insightful book about an autistic child who joins a mainstream classroom for the first time. The other students are curious, inquisitive, and ultimately accepting of Simon. They learn to appreciate his differences and welcome him into their group. This picture book about autism teaches readers that it is okay to ask questions and learn more about others who are different.



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

A go-to workbook for teachers, educators and parents looking to promote autism inclusion and awareness. This helpful resource is aimed at creating empathy and understanding for kids on the spectrum. There is an abundance of engaging activities and a useful guide for helping neurotypical children put themselves in the shoes of someone who views the world with an autistic mind.




A Friend for Henry

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of autism is the difficulty children have making friends. Henry desperately wants a friend. He wants the companionship of someone who will listen, share, and play with him. But Henry is having a particularly hard time with loud noises and boundaries. Will he ever find a buddy he can count on? A sweet, compelling story that offers hope for kids who need some extra help with socialization. 



Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK!

 An interesting look at how an autistic child perceives neurotypical children as being, well, not-so-normal. In this case, Johnny is the one who is perceived as different. He doesn't stick with the same routines and he never flaps. This book takes a unique approach by reversing the viewpoint and redefining what is and isn't normal. An appealing book about friendship and acceptance.



All Sorts

 For many kids on the autism spectrum, sorting objects is a therapeutic way for them to make sense of the world and organize the chaos that floods their minds. Frankie approaches life by putting almost everything she encounters into groups- objects like flowers, the contents of her refridgerator and even her neighbors. But what she can't seem to organize or sort out is herself. A charming book about a girl who struggles to figure out where she fits in this world.



My Life with Autism

This non-fiction picture book is about a boy named Zen. In some ways, he is just like other children. He enjoys hobbies like drawing and playing video games. But there are some important differences about his life that he wants to share with readers. While he doesn't want autism to define everything about him, it's very much explains why he behaves a certain way. Readers will come away with a better understanding about how to interact with kids on the autism spectrum.




Nathan's Autism Spectrum Superpowers

A little boy named Nathan gives readers a thorough explanation of what it is like to have autism. Sometimes his gifts, like the ability to hear everything, can actually overwhelm him at times. Nathan also provides insight about what helps him stay on track, like the importance of routines. He also explains how much he dislikes change, and how it affects his ability to cope. This autism picture book, despite its title, does not gloss over the struggles that come with the disorder. Rather, it offers a balanced treatment of the highs and the lows, and suggests ways that friends and family can support children with autism.



Ian's Walk: A Story About Autism

This very insightful book tells the story of autism from the perspective of siblings. Julie and her older sister are looking forward to a day in the park, but there is only one problem. Their little brother, Ian, wants to tag along. He has autism and often draws attention from others with his unpredictable responses to situations. The girls are worried that their quiet time feeding the ducks will be ruined by him. When they arrive at the park, Ian wanders off and the girls try to think like he does in order to find him. A touching, realistic book about empathy and understanding.



All Cats Are on the Autism Spectrum

A highly-recommended picture book about autism, All Cats Are On the Autism Spectrum takes a unique and compassionate approach to the disorder. Filled with intriguing photographs of cats behaving in a highly acceptable manner, the author makes some interesting comparisons.  Readers are challenged to open their hearts and minds minds in the way they view children with autism. Instead of focusing on the downside of social and communication difficulties, the focus of this compassionate book is on all the unique characteristics and potential of individuals on the spectrum.


girl with autism


Chapter Books for Tweens about Autism

All of these chapter books tell the story of an adolescent who is on the autistic spectrum. Some of these books are told from the perspective of the autistic tween, giving readers an in-depth look at how people on the spectrum see the world.

Other chapter books about autism are based on the viewpoint of friends and family who are affected by a loved one with this disorder. Every single one of these chapter books with autistic characters offers a deeply touching, meaningful, and important story that will help tween readers understand a little bit more about the broad autism spectrum. 


The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

While clearly on the autistic spectrum, Candice Phee doesn't define herself by the disorder. She is quirky, loving, funny, and full of life. This middle grade novel is organized into categorical chapters for her autobiography project. This chapter presentation gives the reader insight into how Candice makes sense of her world. When things seem to be crumbling around her, including crises and feuds with friends and family members, Candice relies on her unconventional yet effective ways to restore peace.





 A Newbery Honor book about an adolescent girl coming to terms with her brother's autism and the sometimes embarrassing behaviors that come along with it. Catherine has spent her entire life trying to correct her brother and minimize the negative attention he draws whenever they are in public. She just wants him to be normal. Then one summer everything changes for Catherine. Two new friends who enter her life shift the way that she views her brother. A touching and realistic look at a the transformation and maturity of a girl coping with her brother's autism.



A Boy Called Bat

This is the first book in a series featuring an extraordinary boy on the autism spectrum.  Bixby Alexander Tam, affectionately known as Bat, navigates surprises with every turn. Sometimes they are good surprises, and sometimes they are not so good. His mom, a veterinarian, brings home a skunk until it can be turned over to a wildlife shelter. Bat decides that this furry baby should be a permanent pet, and sets off to convince his mom of his conviction. A short, accessible chapter book that gives readers a glimpse into the world of a boy with autism.





Rain Reign

A highly recommended book by teachers and educators about a girl who is fixated with homonyms. It's the only way she can make sense of the world and keep her thoughts organized. Rose has a lot of other self-imposed rules and behaviors that govern her life. No one seems to understand Rose's autism and what makes her tick.  Fortunately, her loyal dog is the one steadfast connection in her life. When the dog escapes during a thunder storm, Rose is forced to temporarily override her routines and leave her secure home to find him. 




Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

Vivy Cohen has autism. But that is not her defining characteristic. She happens to a athletic, hard-working girl who dreams of being a baseball pitcher. After endless hours practicing in the park, she is finally ready to join a team. At the same time, Vivy begins a penpal relationship, with a professional pitcher, as part of an assignment in her social skills class. With the advice from her special penpal and her experiences as the only girl on  a baseball team, Vivy proves that she can do anything.



Chester and Gus

The loyalty of a dog to his boy has never been so touching. Told from the perspective of Chester, who has failed his certification as a service dog. When a family adopts him into their home to be a companion to their autistic son, Chester believes this is his calling. But Gus isn't like the other boys. Not only does he refuse to pet him, but sometimes he doesn't even want to be in the same room as the dog. Chester is not a quitter and determined to help his boy, no matter what.


How to Speak Dolphin

A moving middle-grade novel about a girl, Lily, who finds herself in the difficult position of caring for her autistic half brother, Adam. She loves him but feels  somewhat resentful of her role as caregiver. Lily is especially upset that Adam's father refuses to acknowledge that he is on the autism spectrum. When Adam has an opportunity to forge a relationship with a sick dolphin, this special connection has unexpected benefits. While Lily is happy about Adam's dolphin friend, she has conflicting feelings about its captivity. A beautiful story of family, friendship, and responsibility.


The Space We're In

Frank is a normal 10 year old boy who has an active, busy life playing sports and hanging with his friends. He also has a brother, Max, five years younger, who has not turned out to be the sibling his parents promised. Frank resents Max and his odd behavior and outrageous meltdowns when things aren't a certain way. It's not until the family is faced with tragedy that Frank finally learns to accept, understand, and love Max for who he is.


Ellen Outside the Lines

 A coming-of-age book about Ellen, a thirteen year old girl who is on the autism spectrum. For most of her life, she's been able to stick with a fairly routine schedule that helps her feel organized and in control. She's had one best friend, Laurel, who has always been there through difficult social situations. As the girls grow older, Laurel makes new friends and Ellen is left feeling lost and alone. When their private school hosts a trip to Spain, Ellen finds herself opening up to new friendships, coming to terms with her own sexuality, and learning how to view the world in a less binary fashion. Lots of sensitive topics are covered in this gentle novel about self-acceptance.




Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?

 This novel is about the unlikely friendship between a loud, outspoken girl, Aurora, and a silent, autistic boy, Frenchie. Growing up together in coastal Maine, the two share an undeniable love for nature and the outdoors. As they get older, Aurora begins to branch out socially while Frenchie is left struggling without a voice. Then one day Frenchie does not show up at school and Aurora feels the weight of guilt on her shoulders. When Frenchie is finally found, Aurora makes it her mission to lift her friend up from his lonely and sad state of mind. A gut-wrenching story about the stark reality of autism during adolescence.


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Best Children's Books About the Autism Spectrum

The CDC has estimated that up to 1 in 54 children are on the spectrum. Every single child will be affected at some point, whether they themselves are austistic, or have schoolmates or family members who are living with autism.

While there are many common, overlapping behaviors- physical, social, and emotional- among autistic children, there are so many varied, unique, and personal experiences. Their stories are important to share through both autism picture books and more profound chapter books about autistic adolescents. 




Why We Need to Raise Autism Awareness Amongst Our Children

Some kids who fall on the autism spectrum may exhibit very obvious, identifiable behaviors. Others kids with less severe forms of autism may still struggle with socialization and forming friendships. Their peers may not even know they have a disorder.  Teaching our children to recognize the nuances by reading picture books about autism will help them develop empathy and embrace others who have difficulty making friends.

Here are some important facts about autism-

  • Recent data indicates that autism is identified in 1 in 34 boys and 1 in 144 girls.
  • Of the people diagnosed on autism spectrum, 40% are nonverbal.
  • Many children living with autism are just as intelligent as their peers. 44% have IQs that are in the average to above average range.
  • Bullying is a big problem. Almost two-thirds of kids between the ages of 6 and 15 who have autism are victims of this negative behavior.
  • Every single ethnic and socioeconomic group is affected by autism.
  • There is no medical test to diagnose autism, and research indicates that genetics contribute to most cases.




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