Are you an educator looking for an inclusive children’s book to read with your class? Are you a parent searching for a book to help explain autistic traits to your children? Are you a therapist who wants to help your clients explore sensory differences?
The following titles were carefully selected in That Au-Some Book Club – a group dedicated to discussing books about autism and neurodiversity.
In the book club, we say that children’s books have a high IPW (impact per word-count). That’s because these books are read in group settings to our tiniest friends, who are just starting to figure out the world around them.
We want to make sure the books we choose promote inclusion and accessibility. We don’t want to share books that stigmatize, pathologize, or infantilize our autistic youth.
This list will help you take the guess work out of choosing a few fabulous books.
A few notes before you browse…
Some of the titles are autism-specific while others promote inclusion and diversity in a broader sense. All of them would be fantastic additions to your home or classroom library!
Notes: Titles with (*) behind the listing indicate the author is autistic. The absence of a (*) does not mean the author is not autistic.
I included Accelerated Reading information for the books I could find.
This list is not all-inclusive. There are plenty of other titles that promote inclusivity and neurodiversity. These are the titles I stand behind as the author of this article.
I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. I earn a (very) small commission from the links provided.
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down by Lindsey Parker, Illustrated by Rebecca Burgess *
Just Right for You by Melanie Heyworth, Illustrated by Celeste Josephine*
Do You Want to Play? Making Friends with an Autistic Kid by Daniel Share-Strom, Maxine Share, Illustrated by Naghmeh Afshinjah *
Some Brains by Nelly Thomas, Illustrated by Cat MacInnes
Sensory Seeking Sebastian by Christia DeShields, Illustrated by Marissa Nelson
Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally J Pla et al. Illustrated by Ken Min *
Come On, Calm! by Kelsey Brown illustrated by Joseph Wrightson
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
AR Book Level: 3.4 Points: 0.5
Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is Ok by Clay Morton, illustrated by Alex Merry
We Move Together by Kelly Fritch Anne McGuier and Eduardo Trejos
My Wandering Dreaming Mind by Merriam Saunders, Illustrated by Tammie Lyon (ND Author)
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, Illustrated by Michael Hall
AR Book Level: 1.6 Points: 0.5
Too Sticky! :Sensory Issues with Autism by Jen Malia et al. Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff *
Come Meet Drayden by Dana Young-Askew, illustrated by Cameron Wilson
Juan Has the Jitters by Aneta Crus, Illustrated by Miki Yamamoto
When Things Get Too Loud by Anne Alcott
A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey, Illustrated by Mika Song *
AR Book Level: 2.4 Points: 0.5
Suzi Spins by Emma Dalmayne and Illustrated by her son Raphelle *
Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged by Zetta Elliott, Illustrated by Purple Wong
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el, Illustrated by Tim Bowers
AR Book Level: 2.9 Points: 0.5
The Masterpiece: One Big Canvas by Jay Miletsky, Illustrated by Luis Peres
The Molding of Clay by Jay Miletsky, Illustrated by Luis Peres
The Perfect Fit by Naomi Jones, Illustrated by James Jones
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima, Illustrated by Jessie Sima
AR Book Level: 3.3 Points: 0.5
A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow and Diana Cain Bluthenthal
AR Book Level: 3.1 Points: 0.5
Swing by Michael Hall, Illustrated by Michael Hall
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates illustrated by Amy June Bates
AR Book Level: 1.4 Points: 0.5
Be Who You Are by Todd Parr, Illustrated by Todd Parr
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr, Illustrated by Todd Parr
AR Book Level: 1.7 Points: 0.5
Rosalee the Seeker by Nicole Filippone *
Alexander the Avoider by Nicole Filippone *
The Little Senses Series by Samantha Cotterill, Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill*
Noah Chases the Wind by Michelle Worthington illustrated by Joseph Cowman
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Brittney Winn Lee illustrated by Jacob Souva
The Girl with Big, Big Questions by Brittney Winn Lee illustrated by Jacob Souva
The Boy Who Lost His Stims by Nathan McConnell *
The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit (novel) * New Book!
The Infinite by Patience Agbabi
The Time-Thief by Patience Agbabi
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit *
AR Book Level: 4.6 Points: 8
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (not autism specific, cross-disability, AAC representation)
AR Book Level: 4.3 Points: 8
Trouble with a Tiny T by Merriam Saunders ND Author
The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla *
AR Book Level: 4.8 Points: 9
Stanley Will Probably be Fine by Sally J. Pla *
AR Book Level: 4.2 Points: 7
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll *
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
AR Book Level: 4.6 Points: 3
Moojag and the Auticode Secret by N.E. McMorran*
Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos *
AR Book Level: 5.0 Points: 7
Can You See Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott *
AR Book Level: 5.6 Points: 11
Do You Know Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott (sequel ) *
Underdogs Series by Chris Bonnello
In Two Worlds by Ido Kedar *
Nonfiction Titles Including Biographies
The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens by Yenn Purkis and Tanya Masterman *
Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty *
Leaders Around Me: Autobiographies of Autistics who Type, Point, and Spell to Communicate edited by Edlyn Vallejo Peña, PhD *
Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students by Diego Pena *
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida *
AR Book Level: 5.8 Points: 3.0
Fall down Seven Times Get Up Eight by Naoki Higashida *
The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic by Siena Castellon *
Odd Girl Out by Laura James *
Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar *
The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods by Robyn Steward *
a resource for older elementary students
The Secret Life of Rose: Inside an Autistic Head by Rose Smitten*
Must-Reads for Parents and Educators
Inclusive Education for Autistic Children: Helping Children and Young People to Learn and Flourish in the Classroom by Dr. Rebecca Wood*
Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Childhood: for Parents and Carers of the Newly Diagnosed by Luke Beardon (ND Author)
Inclusive Education for Autistic Children by Dr. Rebecca Wood
War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence by Anne McGuire
Understanding and Evaluating Autism Theory by Nick Chown
Communication Alternatives in Autism: Perspectives on Typing and Spelling Approaches…by Edlyn Vallejo Peña *
Lost At School: Why Our Kids With Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through The Cracks And How We Can Help Them by Dr. Ross Greene Ph. D
Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children: A Guide for Autistic Wellbeing by Dr. Luke Beardon (ND Author)
Cooking Up Some Delicious Resources!
Autism Resources for Elementary School Teachers – Some of my favorite resources all in one spot!
Helping Kids Communicate Without Speaking: Sign Language, Visual Schedules, AAC, and more!
Helping Nonspeaking Kids Transition to Spelling, Typing, and Pointing – A Resource List
Accessible Academics Course: Adapting Grade Level Curriculum to Nonspeaking Students
Beyond Behaviors Course: Effective Science-Based Tools to Transform Childhood Behaviors – Professional Development Credits Available!
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