Kids like to see themselves in books, but they also crave understanding of those who are not like them. Diversity of every type is a common theme in children’s literature. This list focuses on kids with behaviors on the autism spectrum. It could be the main character or a sibling of the main character with autism. In either case, you are sure to walk away with a better understanding of what it’s like to live with autism.
The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla
Charlie is on the Austism spectrum and suffers from OCD. The last place he wants to be is traveling across country in an old RV with his crazy family and a weird lady from Bosnia. If he wants to see his dad, that’s what he must do. The only thing keeping this trip mildly bearable is the opportunity to observe the birds on his “someday” list.
How to Speak Dolphin by Ginny Rorby
Lily’s mother died, leaving Lily and her stepfather to care for her severely autistic 4-year-old brother. Her stepdad is having a hard time accepting Adam’s disability and refuses to put him in a special school. Finally he agrees to try the dolphin therapy program, but Lily’s blind friend questions the morality of keeping dolphins in captivity.
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Rose is a fifth grader with autism and a father who doesn’t understand her. When he unexpectedly brings home a dog on a rainy night, she names it Rain, and the two become instant companions. When Rain goes missing during a hurricane, she will stop at nothing until she finds her dog.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Some kids would think it’s cool to live several hundred yards from the most famous criminals in the world, but not Moose Flanagan. When his father takes a job as a prison guard at Alcatraz, Moose’s world takes a turn for the worst. Living on a rock in San Francisco Bay with his mother, father, and autistic sister is not his idea of fun. All he wants to do is play baseball, but instead he has to put up with the egotistical, scheming daughter of the warden.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Catherine’s autistic brother, David, has a hard time following rules. Don’t put toys in the fish tank. Late doesn’t mean not coming. Catherine struggles with the social ramifications of having an autistic brother. When a girl her age moves in next door, she becomes more determined than ever to teach David the rules.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Caitlin doesn’t know how to deal with the death of her brother. He was the only one who tried to help with her Asperger’s Syndrome. Now a school shooting has left her and her community devastated. After discovering the word “closure,” she realizes that she must learn this word and put it into action.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Siblings, Kat and Ted, are horrified when their cousin Salim disappears while on the London Eye Ferris Wheel. How is that possible? Ted has Asperger’s Syndrome. Most people don’t understand his way of thinking, nor do they have his ultra-logical brain. Kat feel’s responsible for finding Salim. Though Ted can be annoying most of the time, she can’t deny his importance at this moment. Narrated by Ted.
Team Players (Home Team #4) by Mike Lupica
It’s softball season, and there’s a new girl on the team. Sarah is on the Autism spectrum. She’s a fantastic player, but her lack of social skills is building a wall between her and the rest of the team. Cassie goes out of her way to make Sarah feel like she’s part of the team, but everything she does backfires and only makes it worse with both Sarah and her teammates.
Slider by Pete Hautman
David Miller feels like he is overshadowed by his autistic brother and smart sister, but he has something too. He’s obsessed with eating contests. When he accidentally bids $2000 for a half-eaten hotdog from Nathan’s famous hotdog eating contest, he’s determined to win the $5000 prize at the State Fair Pizza Eating Contest before his mom finds out.