Children’s Autism Books help autistic kids, tweens, and teens know they are not alone, fosters awareness, understanding and acceptance with siblings, classmates, family and friends.
As a parent, a teacher, and now a grandparent, I have always read books to the children in my care. One of the best ways to to inform and open doors of communication on various topics, like children with autism, accepting differences, respecting and including others, is to discuss a book with a child. No better place to start the process than with young children, and Special Needs Book Review recommends the following ten autism books to help you.
Our choice of top ten autism books for children, tweens, and teens will help a parent, teacher, or other caregiver explain what it’s like for a child who has autism and what it is like for the whole family. Siblings, friends, classmates, grandparents, and the child with autism himself will benefit from these wonderful books, mostly written by parents of autistic children.
Special Needs Book Review is not paid for reviewing books. We are given the books by publishing companies or by the authors with no strings attached. The reviews and our “TOP or BEST Books posts” are entirely our opinions of the books. The books are in random order and we try to update frequently.
Readers can follow the link in each short review below to read the complete review of each book. Also in each summary you can find links to buy each book. The links take you to the exact page where the book is sold. Furthermore, many of the authors have participated in our very popular Author Interview Series and you will find a link to the interviews with each of the featured autism books.
Slim & All
By Janet Ann Collins - Illustrated by Alexander Morris
Slime & All is an early chapter book on accepting differences written at second grade reading level, but children from four to eight years old will enjoy the story. It’s about a giant, slimy worm named Lump who is lonely. Everyone is afraid of him because he’s different. But eventually Lump meets a boy who becomes his friend and introduces him to other kids. Besides helping kids learn to read, I hope this book will encourage them to befriend others who are different from themselves, such as those with Special Needs.
Slime, the worm, is shunned in the beginning and children must learn that shunning is a form of bullying. It is a very hurtful way to bully others and a topic our children with different needs must know about and learn to know what they should do if it happens to them.
Roar the Little Dinosaur Series
-By Hazel Reeves – Illustrated by Jay Morris
Six beautiful picture books created for children with autism. The author, a mom with a daughter who has autism, wants children to know it’s okay to do things differently. The marketing material announces that Roar the Little Dinosaur books and resources help celebrate the fantastic characteristics and qualities found in kids with autism or Asperger’s sydrome. Like Roar who uses her special talents, the children will be made aware that they too may have unique abilities and special interests.
The books are in full colour throughout and are written in rhyming verse. Each book contains 36 pages. Each book has a similar format which their target audience should appreciate as many children with autism or Asperger’s thrive on routines and sameness. In the inside cover, there are great ideas for sharing the books.
I highly recommend Roar the Little Dinosaur series to improve the self-esteem of children with autism or Asperger syndrome. The books will also help siblings, classmates and teachers appreciate the strengths of a child with autism or Asperger syndrome. The message learned is that being different or unique should be a cause for celebration! Roar has many characteristics that the child with an ASD can identify with.
Understanding Samantha: A Sibling’s Perspective of Autism
-By Dustin Daniel – Illustrated by Jaehyun Lamia Bae
David is the younger sibling to his sister, Samantha, who has autism. He is learning to understand her differences and decides to help her through a difficult time, by empathizing what her world is like. In the end, he has a better understanding of his sister’s sensory issues. Sensitizing readers to an internal view of the autistic condition, as well as the family dynamic, this book offers a valuable, warming perspective.
The characters are older children. They are based on the author’s own two children 15-year old Haley, who has High-Functioning Autism/Asperger syndrome, and a 14-year old son Michael. The audience for this book is very broad. This is a way to shed some light on the autistic condition, that many outside the immediate family may not see. It can help to educate relatives, friends of a sibling, or any caretakers of someone that wants a better understanding of autism. With that, the ages for this book are anywhere from elementary school to adult.
Congratulations to all the folks behind this absolutely beautiful children’s book! Educators and parents can use Leah’s Voice as a resource for teaching siblings and friends about inclusion and acceptance. The 28 page picture is about a sibling with autism but its important message on the acceptance of differences and treating everyone with kindness is for all children. Reading Leah’s Voice with your children or to students is the perfect way to open up a discussion on children with special needs, accepting differences, respecting and including others.
Leah’s Voice is a recipient of the prestigious seal of excellence by The Mom’s Choice Award, (MCA) Silver Honoree. It was The Mom’s Choice Award recipient in the children’s books category for developing social skills. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. It has also won the following awards:
- New York Book Festival 2013 Honorable Mention Award
- Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist 2013
- London Book Festival 2013 Honorable Mention Award
- 2014 Temple Grandin Outstanding Literary Work of the Year by the Autism Society of America.
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)
It is a friendly, thorough handbook for children on the autism spectrum, plus their parents. This book addresses the big questions kids ask and provides strategies for communicating, making friends, and succeeding in school. It includes sections on brain and body basics, symptom management, exercise, diet, hygiene, relaxation, sleep, toileting, and “stims.” Special emphasis is placed on helping children handle intense emotions, all with the help of their team of caregivers (parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, therapists, coaches, aides).
Both authors are mothers who have sons on the autism spectrum. The goal of the authors was to speak directly to kids on the spectrum, so they can find the answers to their toughest questions and develop a positive approach to living with ASD.
This book is for children ages eight to twelve, along with their parents, relatives, teachers, counselors, therapists, doctors, aides, and caregivers. The book can be read to children younger than eight and teens are reading it, too!
Autism Is…? Series
– By Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan – Illustrated by Jennifer Lackgren
The author, a grandmother to a child with autism, wrote FIVE beautiful stories to help her grandson with concepts he had difficulty understanding. She wrote Danger Is…? to teach him safety rules, as he tends to have no sense of danger, and would run off and into the road without looking, for example. School Rules Are…? came about after facing some pretty big behavior challenges at school. Feelings Are…? was written to help Logan understand his own and others’ feelings. Manners Are…?, not shown in the photos, covers basic manners to use at home, when out, and while at school.
This storybook series for children with autism provide beneficial information, encouragement, and help caregivers of children with autism explain things that can make their lives easier, safer, and more pleasant.
-Written and Illustrated by Florida Frenz, pen name.
This book is the work of an an inspirational, brave and very smart autistic teen. The 40 page book is for kids in the age range of 7 -12 years in grades 1 – 7 levels. With powerful words and pictures Florida Frenz chronicles in her notebook her journey to figure out how to read facial expressions, how to make friends, and how to juggle all the social cues that make school feel like a complicated maze.
Diagnosed with autism as a three-year-old, Florida is now an articulate 16-year-old whose explorations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to handle peer pressure will resonate with any pre-teen. For those wondering what it’s like inside an autistic child’s head, Florida’s book provides amazing insight and understanding. Reading how she learns how to be human makes us all feel a little less alien.
- By Jenny Berger – Illustrated by Bronwyn Deveau
It is a touching story about a little boy explaining and coming to terms with his brother’s autism. Daniel is non-verbal, and sometimes he flaps, spins and shouts and his brother wanted others to look past his different behavior and know the sweet, gentle boy he really is.
The author says, “My youngest son would run up to people in the park and say “This is my Brother, Daniel and he is okay, he just can’t 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.”
Young children (3 -7 years) in families with an autistic child will enjoy this book as will parents and friends of children with disabilities.
-By Helen C. Hipp – Illustrated by Hilary Ann Love Glass
A children’s book that celebrates differences, helps kids see that being different isn’t a bad thing, and helps them conquer fear and embarrassment of being different. Ms. Hipp’s heartwarming story is based on true events that happened when their family visited Africa.
This heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions.
Recommended Ages: 7 to 12, Intended for parents, caregivers, teachers and children who may have felt at some point in their life that they were different from their peers.
A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling
-By Shaila Abdullah – Illustrated by Iman Tejpar and Shaila Abdullah
It is an excellent children autism book about sibling relationships when dealing with autism. It is a genuine, caring story in the words of an eight-year-old girl about growing up with an older, autistic brother. Through the words of this caring sibling it allows you to know how Marco is more often special than not-so-special.
Marco’s younger sister shares what it is like having a sibling with autism. Her love for him even shines through the negative things she describes he does. She feels they are a good team and their family would not be complete without him. The sister 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”.
The target audience is kids aged 6-8. It is excellent for siblings, classmates, and friends of autistic children so they can understand and accept their friends with autism with their unique character.
Readers will appreciate the endnotes that provide additional tips and information about interacting with those on the autism spectrum. We highly recommend this book written with sensitivity and beautifully illustrated.
Please note some of our other “BEST BOOK lists”
- Special Needs Book Review: Top 10 Autism Books for Parents, Educators and Therapists
- Best Five Books on Social Skills Reviewed by Special Needs Book Review
- Top 20 Books on Parenting or Teaching Children with Special Needs Reviewed by Special Needs Book Review