Reading to children is a joyful experience and one that sets them up for lifelong learning. One of the best things about books is that we see ourselves reflected in them, and that can be not just informative but also truly delightful, especially for a child. It’s even more important for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder because reading about autistic characters can help them face challenges like relating to others, understanding emotions, and making and keeping friends.
The right book may even help a child with ASD find his or her place in the world, offering comfort and understanding. If you love a child with ASD, try some of the books on this list and see if you can find the perfect match.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann: This book offers fun photographs of cats and kittens, along with a humorous look at the ups and downs of raising a child with ASD. Drawing parallels between children with ASD and household cats, the book touches on things like sensitive hearing, picky eating habits, and a dislike of being touched. This book is best for ages 7 and up.
All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism, by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer: Written for children ages 5-8, this book is about Zane the zebra, who developsan understanding of his ASD and how it actually makes him special.
Andy and His Yellow Frisbee, by Mary Thompson: Directed at readers aged 5-8, this book is about a boy named Andy, his protective older sister Rosie, and Rosie’s explanation of ASD to a new girl at school.
The Asperger Children’s Toolkit, by Francis Musgrave: This book for ages 6-12 is directed at children with ASD, focuses on positive behavior, and is written in an easy-to-understand language
The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome, by Jennifer Cook O’Toole: A must for older kids with ASD, ages 10-17, this bestselling book was written by an author with Asperger Syndrome raising three children with Asperger’s, offers illustrations and humor along with easy-to-understand explanations of important social rules.
Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes, by Jennifer Elder: Written for kids 8-12, this book tells of historical figures who were probably on the autism spectrum, including Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Lewis Carroll, Andy Warhol, and more.
Autism Is…? By YmkjeWideman-van der Laan: This book, written for children ages 5-8, offers easy-to-understand, child-friendly answers, as a child named Logan hears his grandmother’s explanation of the facts about ASD. It’s part of a series aimed at young children on the spectrum, which includes books like, “Feelings Are…?” and “Danger Is…?” as well as a range of other topics.
Tacos Anyone? / "Alguien Quiere Tacos” by Marvie Ellis: Children aged 4-7, along with their parents and siblings, will appreciate this bilingual book about a boy trying to relate to his younger brother, who has ASD.
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and Their Parents) by Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve, M.D.: Directed at adolescents age 8 and up, this guide offers straightforward answers to questions and problems kids with ASD might have.
How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl, by Florida Frenz is written by a teenager with ASD, this memoir is both powerful and informative. Aimed at kids ages 7-12, it’s often used in classrooms.