45 Books that Promote Autism Acceptance & Understanding

Library Parents School

April is Autism Awareness Month! What better way to spread awareness and understanding than reading and teaching your child about Autism. We have compiled a list of children's books geared towards elementary aged kids, perfect for your home, school, or place of worship. Each link will direct you to their Amazon page for your convenience. Enjoy!

  • Written by: Shaila Abdullah
  • Ages 3-6, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationship
  • "An 8-year old girl decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco."

  

  • My Brother Daniel

  • Written by: Jenny Berger
  • Ages 3-7, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationships, Sibling Representation
  • "A heart-warming story about a little boy coming to terms with his brother's autism. My son Daniel flaps and spins and shouts. He makes unpredictable movements with strange and disarming noises. But once you know him his strangeness is not so apparent. He is sweet and gentle and he loves to laugh. I have watched my other children try to explain this to people we meet. My youngest son would run up to kids in the park and say This is my Brother, Daniel and he is okay, he just cant talk. As a four-year old he didn't want people to judge Daniel as weird or rude. He wanted them to understand. Having a child that is so obviously different can be a very isolating experience. I am heartened by my children's attempt to help others appreciate Daniel and I felt the need to do the same through this little book."

 

  • We're Amazing 1,2,3! A Story About Friendship and Autism

  • Written by: Leslie Kimmelman
  • Ages 3-7, Autism Understanding & Acceptance, Autistic female
  • "We're Amazing 1,2,3! is the first Sesame Street storybook to focus on autism, which, according to the most recent US government survey, may, in some form, affect as many as one in forty-five children. It's part of Sesame Street's autism initiative that has expanded to include a new character with autism. Elmo introduces his longtime friend Julia to Abby, who's a little confused at first because Julia isn't saying hello. Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently. Julia sometimes avoids direct eye contact, flaps her arms when she's excited, and is sensitive to some noises. But Abby soon learns that she also has a lot of things in common with Julia. All kids want love, friendship, and to have fun! They are all wonderful, each in his or her own way."

 

  • Written by: Michelle Worthington
  • Ages 3-8, Self-Awareness, Autism Empowerment
  • "Noah is different. He sees, hears, feels, and thinks in ways that other people don't always understand, and he asks a lot of questions along the way. Noah loves science, especially the weather. His books usually provide him with the answers he needs, until one day, there's one question they don't answer—and that is where Noah's windy adventure begins. Filled with rich, sweeping illustrations, this picture book celebrates the inquisitive nature of all children, including those on the autism spectrum, who cannot stop asking a question until an answer has been unearthed.The book contains a page of information for parents, caregivers, and educators about the importance of helping children feel good about their differences and know that being different is okay."

 

  • I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism 

  • Written by: Pat Thomas
  • Ages 4-8, Understanding Autistic Peers, Siblings Relationship
  • "This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it. A wonderful catalyst for discussion that will help children to better understand and support autistic classmates or siblings. The story line is simple and easily accessible to younger children, who will learn that exploring the personal feelings around social issues is a first step in dealing with them. Full-color illustrations on every page." 

  

  • Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears?

  • Written by: Jennifer Veenendall
  • Ages 4-8, Autism acceptance, Autism Understanding, Self-Awareness, Classmate Relationships, Autistic Female
  • "Meet Izzy, a feisty first grader, whose behavior is often misunderstood as she tries to cope with sensory overload in her new surroundings. This brightly illustrated book creates an environment that is accepting of students with sensory modulation difficulties, including many on the autism spectrum. It's a great resource for occupational therapists, teachers, and parents to share with children. Resources for adults at the end of the book include definitions of sensory processing and sensory modulation disorder, suggested discussion questions, and lists of related books and websites." 

  

  • Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book

  • Written by: Celeste Shally
  • Ages 4-8 , Understanding Autistic Peers
  • "Matt’s autism doesn’t keep him from having fun! Even when he struggles in social situations, his friend is there to help him out. The two boys love playing sports watching movies, reading books, and talking about animals. By working together, a best friend’s understanding and compassion change Matt’s frustration into excitement. No matter where they go—from the basketball court to the playground swings to the neighborhood pool—the two friends enjoy spending time with each other."

  

  • The Butterfly’s Journey

  • Written by: Heather Porazzo
  • Grades PreK-5, Understanding and Explaining Autism
  • "Spring is an exciting time for new beginnings, but when Baby Butterfly does not emerge from his cocoon on time, his parents know something is wrong. Mama and Papa Butterfly seek help from their forest friends and find out that Baby Butterfly has autism. They learn from their animal friends what autism is, what to expect, and how to best help Baby Butterfly. Through the support of his parents and teachers, Baby Butterfly slowly emerges from his cocoon and learns to navigate in the big, beautiful, and often over-stimulating world."

  

  • Aurora's Gift: Overcoming the Daily Challenges of Life with Autism

  • Written by: Emily Bunny
  • Grades K-2, Autism Representation, Autism Understanding
  • "Based on a true story, Aurora is an extraordinary young girl who has Autism. Despite being nonverbal, throughout the story Aurora searches for ways to overcome her challenges and make herself heard. This rhyming picture story book helps children to understand the world from the point of view of an autistic child and to understand alternative ways of communication that can be used by those with special needs."

  

  • Ellie & Elliot: A Story about Autism

  • Written by: Csongor Veres
  • Ages K-3, Sibling Relationships, Sibling Recognition
  • "Join Ellie as she takes you on the journey of her brother Elliot’s Autism from his difficulties to his triumphs. Step into her world and see what everyday life is like living with a brother with a disability."

  

  • Uniquely Wired: A Story About Autism and Its Gifts

  • Written by: Julia Cook
  • Grades K-5, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding
  • "Zak is obsessed with watches. Before that it was trains. He owns hundreds of watches and is quick to tell everyone everything about them. Zak also has autism, so he sometimes responds to the world around him in unconventional ways. As Zak describes his point of view, young readers gain a better understanding of his behaviors and learn valuable lessons about patience, tolerance and understanding."

  

  • Written by: Julia Cook
  • Ages K-5, Asperger Representation, Asperger Understanding
  • "Being eight, Connor knew a lot. He knew that Mrs. Winters did not like to be interrupted, but he was sure she would appreciate his fact-finding methods—and who wouldn' t want to know more about geckos? He knew he needed the new library book, "More All About Dogs," more than Jane needed to keep sitting on that stool—and he only nudged her off so he could reach it. On a day when everything seemed to go wrong, Connor turned out to be the only one who could save the school from a dog-caused Code Yellow! Told from the point of view of a child with Asperger Syndrome, author Jodi Carmichael highlights some of the challenges—and triumphs—of experiencing a day at school from a different perspective."

 

  • The Bully Blockers: Standing Up for Classmates with Autism

  • Written by: Celeste Shally
  • Grades K-5, Anti-Bullying Strategies, Autism Understanding
  • "What would you do if you saw someone being bullied? Would you pretend it did not happen? Would you walk away and hope that someone else will take care of it? Would you care? According to research, children with autism are more likely to be bullied than their peers. They make easy targets because they are socially awkward and often times unaware they are being bullied. For the child with autism, there are severe emotional, and sometimes physical, consequences to being repeatedly bullied. The Bully Blockers tells the story of a boy who witnesses a classmate with autism being bullied and how he decides to get involved. This book shows that one child can make a difference when he has the courage to stand up for his classmate with autism."

 

  • Written by: Lori Leigh Yarborough
  • Ages K-5, Asperger Representation, Asperger Understanding
  • "The superhero of this book, Nathan, explains about his Autism Spectrum Superpowers, how they affect him, and ways his friends can help out when his superpowers spiral out of control. This book is a tool to empower children and their friends, families and caregivers understand kids with superpowers. Each "superpower" includes a Helpful Hints for Friends section that gives ideas on how to help a child with autism in different situations." 
 
  • Tacos Anyone? An Autism Story

  • Written by: Marvie Ellis
  • Grades K-5, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationships, Bilingual
  • "Michael is a four year old boy with autism. His older brother, Thomas, doesn't understand why Michael behaves the way he does. The therapist teaches Thomas how to play with Michael, making sibling time fun again. This fully color illustrated, bilingual (English and Spanish) children's book is written for young readers, parents, siblings, family members, and professionals who work with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders."

 

  • Written by: Christel Land
  • Grades K-5, Autism Understanding, Autism Representation
  • "This story speaks to children who are close to a child with autism; a brother, sister, cousin, friend or classmate. It explains how we are all different to each other, and how the sibling has special powers, which help them in the trickier moments where the child might feel rejection or find it hard to deal with a meltdown. With an air of magic running through the story, it is positive and empowering and encourages the child to use their special powers to make their dreams come true. The Superhero Heart is written by a mother with first hand experience of what it takes to raise two very different children in a family with autism."

 

  • The Superhero Brain: Explaining Autism to Empower Kids

  • Written by: Christel Land
  • Grades K-5, Autism Understanding, Autism Representation
  • "This story speaks to children who have autism, and explains to them what it means in a way that leaves them feeling empowered and able to make their dreams come true. The story refers to sensory issues as "special powers" and explains how living with autism can be awesome and at the same time also feel tricky sometimes. The Superhero Brain is written by a mother to her autistic son. The story was initially only intended to be for her son, to help him better understand himself, but has since turned in to a book available for everyone to share with their children."

 

  • I Love Being My Own Autistic Self!

  • Written by: Landon Bryce
  • Grades K-5, Self-Awareness, Autism empowerment, Self-Explanation, Sibling Relationships, Comic
  • "I Love Being My Own Autistic Self is a funny and upbeat book for autistic people, their families, and others who care about them. Author Landon Bryce uses a colorful cast of cartoon characters to gently introduce neurodiversity, the idea that neurological differences should be respected and valued. Vector, our narrator, talks about the benefits and challenges that his autism gives him. His friends Ramikin, who has Asperger’s syndrome, and Marko, who is nonverbal, show how different from each other autistic people can be. Vector also introduces readers to his friend Pang and his sister Manta, so they can see what it is like for him to interact with people who do not have autism. Researcher Dr. Chip is looking for a cure for autism, and Vector explains why that makes him sad."

 

  • The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin  

  • Written by: Julia Finley Mosca
  • Ages K-5, Autism Empowerment
  • "When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!" 

 

  • Written by: Elaine Marie Larson
  • Ages 5-6, Asperger Understanding, Self-Awareness
  • "Discover the unique characteristics and abilities of children with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism from A to Z. This book, laid out in an A-to-Z format, celebrates the extraordinary gifts and unique perspectives that children with ASD possess. Each page of this playful alphabet book presents one of the children s many talents and abilities. The kid-friendly illustrations and clever text create a positive portrayal of children with ASD."

 

  • Cooper and the Big Apple

  • Written by: Camille Cohn
  • Ages 5-6, Autism Empowerment
  • "Cooper the cat is purrfectly content with his life in Texas. So when his best friend Jennifer tells him they're taking a trip to New York City, he's not really sure what all the fuss is about. But, like a good friend, he embarks on the new adventure with her. Jennifer takes Cooper to climb the Statue of Liberty, to visit the Stock Exchange, and to attend a Broadway musical, and to see many other New York City landmarks. At each new location, Cooper realizes the Big Apple is not what he expected and even more than he imagined!"

 

  • My Friend Has Autism

  • Written by: Amanda Doering Tourville
  • Ages 5-8, Autism Understanding
  • "My friend Zack has a disability called autism. But that doesn’t matter to us. We talk about airplanes, build models, and enjoy hanging out at each other’s house. I’m glad Zack is my friend!"

 

  • Autism Is…?

  • Written by: Ymkje Wideman-Van Der Laan
  • Ages 5-8, Autism Understanding, Grandparent Relationship
  • "When young Logan hears his grandmother tell her friend that Logan has autism, he wonders what she means? “Autism Is….?” is Logan’s grandmother’s answer, and children on the autism spectrum are sure to appreciate her easy-to-understand, child-friendly explanation of the facts."

 

  • All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

  • Written by: Shaina Rudolph
  • Ages 5-8, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding, Autism Empowerment
  • "Zane the zebra has autism, and he is worried that his friends and classmates will make fun of his stripes, which makes him different. As Zane learns that having autism is one of the many things that actually makes him special, young readers will relate to Zane and realize that they, too, have plenty to be proud of."

 

  • Andy and His Yellow Frisbee

  • Written by: Mary Thompson
  • Grade 1-3 , Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationships, Sibling Perspective
  • "An illustrated children's book about Andy, a boy with autism. Rosie, the watchful and protective sister, supplies background on Andy and autism, as well as a sibling's perspective."

 

  • Jacob the Flapping Dinosaur Goes to School

  • Written by: Holly Terei
  • Grades 1-5, SpEd / GenEd Comparison, Sibling Representation, Siblings Role, Autism Understanding, Autism Representation
  • "Twins Jacob and Sarah Dinosaur have a lot in common, but they are also very different: Jacob has Autism. His brain works in a special way. Follow Jacob and his twin sister through their two very different classrooms and explore the issues that come along with it. The theme is of love, patience, and acceptance. The author, Holly Terei, has based this story on personal experience. She has also provided educational tools about Autism at the end of the book. The bright, mixed-media illustrations skillfully depict the connection Sarah has with her brother. Pair this with the ending guidelines to help raise awareness and understanding of Autism."

 

  • Leah’s Voice

  • Written by: Lore DeMonia
  • Ages 6-8, Autism Understanding, Autism Siblings, Autistic Female
  • "Leah’s Voice is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with special needs such as autism. Children who have a brother or sister with special needs may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends aren't more understanding. Leah's Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance."

  

  • Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism

  • Written by: Laurie Lears
  • Ages 6-9, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationship, Sibling Representation
  • "Julie is excited about an outing with her sister Tara, but is unhappy when her autistic brother wants to come because his actions sometimes embarrass her, but when he gets lost, Julie must step into his shoes to find him and realizes just how much she loves him."

 

  • The Children's Guide To Autism

  • Written by: Fiona Reeves
  • Ages 6-9, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding, Autism Education
  • "The Children's Guide to Autism book is a charming fact based description of what autism can be like and is aimed at younger children (roughly 6 – 9 years). It's a great way to start talking to your child about autism. The author wrote the book to explain autism to her son and his friends after his diagnosis; in a factual way rather than a story about a specific character with very specific symptoms, as autism isn't like that, it’s a spectrum condition and no two children are the same."

 

  • A Boy Called Bat

  • Elana K. Arnold
  • Ages 6-9, Autism Understanding, Autism Empowerment
  • "For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet."

 

  • A Friend for Henry

  • Written by: Jenn Bailey
  • Ages 6-9, Autism Understanding
  • "In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship."

  

  • Benji, the Bad Day and Me

  • Written by: Sally J. Pla
  • Ages 6-9, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationship, Sibling Representation
  • "Nothing seems to be going right for Sammy today. At school, he got in trouble for kicking a fence, then the cafeteria ran out of pizza for lunch. After he walks home in the pouring rain, he finds his autistic little brother Benji is having a bad day too. On days like this, Benji has a special play-box where he goes to feel cozy and safe. Sammy doesn't have a special place, and he's convinced no one cares how he feels or even notices him. But somebody is noticing, and may just have an idea on how to help Sammy feel better."

  

  • All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

  • Written by: KAthy Hoopman
  • Ages 7-9, Asperger Representation, Self-Awareness, Asperger Education
  • "All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome takes a playful look at Asperger Syndrome (AS), drawing inspiration from the feline world in a way that will strike a chord with all those who are familiar with AS. Delightful colour photographs of cats bring to life familiar characteristics such as sensitive hearing, scampering at the first sign of being stroked, and particular eating habits. Touching, humorous and insightful, this book evokes the difficulties and joys of raising a child who is different and leaves the reader with a sense of the dignity, individuality, and potential of people with AS. This engaging book is an ideal, gentle introduction to the world of AS."

 

  • Ethan’s Story: My Life With Autism

  • Written by: Ethan Rice
  • Ages 7-9, Self-Awareness, Self-Advocacy, Faith Based
  • "A children's book written by eight year old Ethan Rice who happens to be autistic. In this fully illustrated book Ethan explains what autism means to him and why he feels so very blessed that God made him this way."

  

  • My Friend with Autism

  • Written by: Beverly Bishop
  • Ages 7-9, Autism Understanding, Classmate Relationships
  • "My Friend with Autism is the exceptional result of parent Beverly Bishop’s determination to educate her son’s classmates about autism, thus helping her son fit in at school. A peer narrator explains that his friend with autism is good at some things and not so good at others―just like everyone else!" 

  

  • Super Lexi

  • Written by: Emma Lesko
  • Ages 7-10, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding, Autistic Female Representation
  • "Lexi’s got phobias about lots of things. Yogurt. Songs that get stuck in her head. Cashiers who think they’re good with kids. Her biggest phobia on Planet Earth, though, is eyeballs staring at her. That’s how come it’s too bad she has a solo in the school Parents’ Day performance. Good thing she has a plan. If she tornado-twirls at blur speed, she can disappear onstage!"

  

  • My Brother Charlie

  • Written by: Holly & Ryan Peete
  • Ages 7-10, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationship
  • "Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It's harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe." But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can't do well, there are plenty more things that he's good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows."

  

  • Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

  • Written by: Jennifer Elder 
  • Ages 8-12, Autism Empowerment
  • "Different Like Me introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy. Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn. Fully illustrated in color and written in child-friendly language, this book will be a wonderful resource for children, particularly children with autism, their parents, teachers, carers and siblings."

 

  • Written by: Naoki Higashida
  • Ages 8-12, Self Advocacy, Autism Understanding, Novel
  • "You've never listened to a book like The Reason I Jump.Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within. Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights - into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory - are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again."

 

  • Rules

  • Written by: Cynthia Lord
  • Ages 8-12, Autism Understanding, Sibling Relationship
  • "Catherine, a 12-year-old girl with big responsibilities, loves her autistic younger brother David and makes lists of rules she thinks will help him get by. But she often feels that her parents, focused on special care for David, forget that she exists, too."

 

  • Slug Days

  • Written by: Sara Leach
  • Grade 3-6, Autism Empowerment, Autism Understanding, Self-Awareness, Autistic Female
  • "On slug days Lauren feels slow and slimy. She feels like everyone yells at her, and that she has no friends. Today there is a different bus driver; Dan and Sachi are sitting in Lauren's seat on the bus; and Lauren's teacher interrupts her reading time. It is definitely a slug day. But not every day is like this. On butterfly days Lauren makes her classmates laugh, or goes to get ice cream, or works on a special project with Mom. Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she sees the world differently from many people. Sometimes this can be frustrating and makes Lauren want to flip her lid, especially at school where she learns differently from her classmates. But with support and stubbornness and a flair that's all her own, Lauren masters tricks to stay calm, to understand others' feelings, and to let her personality shine. She even manages to find common ground with her sticky, slobbery baby sister. Best of all, it is being different that gives Lauren insight into the insecurities of the new student, Irma."

 

  • Everybody is Different

  • Written by: Fiona Bleach
  • Ages 9 and Up, Autism Understanding, Sibling Representation, Autism Education
  • "Many brothers and sisters of young people have a hard time understanding what autism is and why their siblings with autism spectrum disorder do what they do. This book gives answers to the many questions brothers and sisters have about their siblings. In addition to explaining in basic terms the characteristics of autism, this book is full of helpful suggestions for making family life more fun and comfortable for everyone. The many illustrations make this a warm and accessible book for young people."

  

  • A Whole New Ballgame

  • Written by: Phil Bildner
  • Ages 9-12, Autism Understanding, Autism Empowerment, Classmate Relationships
  • "Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects. Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other ― and find ways to make a difference ― in the classroom and on the court."

 

  • Anything But Typical

  • Written by: Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • Ages 9-12, Autism Empowerment, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding, Novel
  • "Jason Blake is an autistic twelve-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is." 

 

  • The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

  • Written by: Berry Jonsberg
  • Ages 9-12, Self-Awareness, Autism Understanding, Autistic Female
  • "Candice Phee isn't a typical twelve-year-old girl. She has more than her fair share of quirks, but she also has the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to make sure everyone around her is happy—which is no easy feat when dealing with a pet fish with an identity crisis, a friend who believes he came from another dimension, an age-old family feud, and a sick mom. But she is on a mission. Her methods might be unique, but Candice will do whatever it takes to restore order to her world and make sure everyone is absolutely, categorically happy again."

Have a book we need to add? Let us know! Email us at thenoahrobertproject@gmail.com


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