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Children's books about autism

Autism Awareness

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Edited: Apr 11, 2007, 10:02am Top

I'd like to recommend highly the children's picture book Ian's Walk, by Laurie Lears. It is a wonderful story about 2 girls taking their autistic brother out for a walk, and how Ian's behavior in public makes them feel. The illustrations are excellent, too.

There is also a new Newbery Honor book, Rules by Cynthia Lord, you might want to read. It's about a girl's life with her brother who has autism and the helpful rules she makes up for him (like "no toys in the fish tank"). I know that's vastly oversimplified as a description, but I haven't read it yet. I will be reading it soon for my daughter's 4th grade book group, and after I read it I'll post more information.

Just for the record, my 13 year old son has autism.

2morganstern1 First Message
Apr 24, 2007, 6:32am Top

also for kids- tobin learns to make new friends by Diane Murrell teaches ASD kids socializing skills. my son has always love the books Feelings and Manners by Aliki which touch on many basic concepts of socializing and understanding other's perspectives in a comic strip format; these 2 books are extra-special fun!

Apr 24, 2007, 12:09pm Top

Does anyone know of any books for/about autistic teenagers? My two sons have asperger's. The oldest has read the curious incident of the dog in the night but are there others?

Apr 29, 2007, 7:32pm Top

thats a good question i dont know of any but they should be out there somewhere? ill ask around and get back to you....

May 28, 2007, 9:39pm Top

Ok, I'm back to report on Rules, by Cynthia Lord. It's excellent. A very real portrayal of a family with an autistic child, told from the point of view of an older sibling.
The book was well received by the 4th graders and their parents in the reading group, and helped raise their awareness and increase understanding of autism. Another main character befriended by the narrator is a teenager who is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair, but who appears to have no cognitive disability. And there are the neighborhood kids who don't understand about disabilities. All of the characters are well portrayed and real.
I recommend Rules very highly for all readers, kids and adults.

Jul 24, 2007, 4:54pm Top

I've just read A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane, it has an autistic teenage character and it's a YA kind of book, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it. It's decently written (though it's nothing special beyond that) but I didn't like the attitude toward autism...

I've recently bought Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko but I haven't read it yet, I have high hopes for that one... but then again I had high hopes for A Wizard Alone too.

Jul 24, 2007, 5:32pm Top

prezzey - Al Capone Does My Shirts has been highly recommended to me by my 10 year old (sister to an older autistic brother), and a few teachers at her school. It's around here someplace - I have to read it one of these days. Let us know what you think of it.

Edited: Jul 25, 2007, 2:02am Top

> Does anyone know of any books for/about autistic teenagers?

Now you can use tagmash to search for a combination of tags.

(It needs to get a direct link from the search page, for the moment you have to do a normal tag search first).

On any tag page (example: autism), you can enter several tags separated by commas for a "AND" search. You also can use -tag to exclude certain tags.

autism, young adult
autism, children

asperger, young adult, fiction
asperger, children, -fiction

Jul 24, 2007, 6:16pm Top

The "autism, young adult" combination seems surprisingly accurate. Though I don't remember Chocky had anything to do with autism... but then again, I read it at least 10 years ago and I'm all of 23 years old myself.

I didn't know Lois Lowry had a related book, a friend of mine collects her books so I might be able to get ahold of that one quite fast.

This Alien Shore is definitely an adult book, I've just started reading it and this far I like it a lot, but it's of considerable size - and, consequentially, length - so my opinion might change ;) SF/space opera setting, the book is about aliens, but one alien race is basically modeled on Asperger's (which is acknowledged by the author).


BTW they have nothing to do with autism, but I am a HUGE fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books, they are a science fiction series featuring a smart kid with a physical disability... and NO pity, paternalism, etc. whatsoever. They are also not fluffy, eg. people do not suddenly all love the protagonist just because it's a future setting, in fact disability means discrimination very often (probably more often than in the present day US - that I have no experience of, other than being online - but I live in Hungary where let's just say if you're disabled you can dig yourself a hole and lie in it) which makes for a realistic feel. But Miles still manages to survive somehow, and make friends, and TAKE OVER THE WORLD (only slightly exaggerating ;) ). I love it. But it's also a series for adults, though I think teenagers should be OK. You might want to give the books a try yourself before you give it to your youngsters, there is violence, etc. (Miles is a soldier and lives in a very militaristic culture.) I haven't read all volumes - I'm at Mirror Dance - because I find these books very uplifting, and in the last year I lived in Western Europe, so I didn't need them as much ;) so I tried to save them for later. Now that I'm moving back to Hungary, I think I can resume reading the series by the time the next semester starts (= Administrative Hell). In the year before I went abroad, they literally helped preserve my sanity. (A friend recommended the series to me, I was not too enthusiastic because I prefer hard-SF to space opera, but I became a huge fan pretty much instantaneously when I had actually started reading.) So they might work for others, too.

Jul 24, 2007, 6:25pm Top

>8 sunny:
The "tagmash" is a great tool! Thanks for demonstrating it.

>9 prezzey:
I will also suggest the Bujold books to my older son, they sound like something he would enjoy. Thanks!

Aug 7, 2007, 6:19pm Top

> 7

I've finally read it (sometime last week, I just didn't get around to posting) and it was surprisingly good! The author obviously didn't forget about her own childhood... I hate books which show childhood/early adolescence as a super cool adventurous period with no bad features whatsoever, I guess Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine is the worst offender (though that's a book for adults, but about children). I like Bradbury, but I attempted to read this book five times and couldn't make it through. I don't think I ever tried to read a book as many times before giving up... I give up pretty fast if I don't like something.

Anyway, back to Al Capone Does my Shirts...
It was really involving emotionally, and that's great... I usually don't get caught up in English-language children's/YA books. (I wonder if there's a cultural gap... what I read as a child was mostly from Hungary and the Soviet Union, and I still enjoy those, even ones I didn't read as a child)

I'm not saying I liked everything about it (especially how they think it'll be better for the girl to live away from her family, even if for the treatment... especially when.... but that would constitute spoilers so I won't say especially when). But it was a pleasant surprise (or maybe I've set my standards too low after too many disappointments, LOL, that's also possible).

Aug 7, 2007, 6:25pm Top

Thanks, prezzey - my daughter is going to dig up our copy for me to read soon. I'll report back later.

Group: Autism Awareness

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