If readers meet characters with autism spectrum disorder in fictional stories, they’ll come away with a greater understanding of ASD, and of the people who live with it. At least, that’s the authors’ goal.
“The hope is that getting characters with spectrum or developmental disabilities into popular culture will demystify them. I think we’re moving toward that, but considering the enormous numbers of these folks, they’re still way under-represented,” author Cammie McGovern, whose son has autism, told Publishers Weekly last month; all her books have dealt with kids who have physical or mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy and OCD.
Autism Awareness Month kicked off on April 1. If you’d like to expand your reading list, here are some novels and children’s books that feature characters with autism.
Books for Children
“All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism,” by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer (Magination Press, 2015) A young zebra worries that his “autism stripe” is the only thing other children see about him, instead of all his other qualities.
“Just My Luck,” by Cammie McGovern (Harper, 2016) A young boy worries about lots of things in his life – including his father’s health problems – but not his confident older brother with autism.
“Noah Chases the Wind,” by Michelle Worthington (Redleaf Lane, 2015) Noah, who doesn’t experience the world the way other people do, needs to find out where the wind goes, so he chases after it.
“Rain Reign,” by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel & Friends, 2014) A young girl with high-functioning autism and a fascination with homophones has to find her beloved dog after her father lets her out during a storm – then discovers her dog really belongs to someone else.
“Rules,” by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic, 2006) The Newbery Honor-winning novel tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who tries to help her brother with autism cope with the world around him, while she secretly wishes for a normal life.
Books for Adults
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon (Doubleday, 2003) The novel that became the Tony Award-winning Broadway play tells the story of a teenager with autism who’s wrongly accused of murdering the neighbor’s dog and tries to solve the crime himself – uncovering a larger mystery in the process.
“Daniel Isn’t Talking,” by Marti Leimbach (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2006) A couple’s marriage begins to disintegrate when their young son is diagnosed with autism and his mother keeps trying to find ways to connect with him.
“House Rules,” by Jodi Picoult (Simon & Schuster, 2010) In the prolific author’s seventeenth novel, a teenager with autism, who is fascinated by forensics and prone to setting up “crime” scenes, is accused of murdering his social skills tutor.
“Love Anthony,” by Lisa Genova (Simon & Schuster, 2012) A mother grieving the death of her son with autism flees to her Nantucket cottage, where she meets a woman trying to cope with her own tragedy.
“Un/Fair,” by Steven Piziks (Month9Books, September) On his 11th birthday, a boy with autism gains the ability to see the future; which puts him and his family in danger from the fairy realm.
“West Meadows Detectives: The Case of Maker Mischief,” by Liam O’Donnell (Owlkids Books, October) A third-grade detective with autism gets a new case to solve: His classmate’s robot is missing and he needs it back before the Maker Faire.
“Things I Should Have Known” by Claire LaZebnik (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, spring 2017) A popular teenager tries to find love for her sister with autism.
Top (Hero) Feature Image Courtesy: © SSilver/Dollar Photo Club
Additional Body Images Courtesy:
All My Stripes/Amazon
Just My Luck/Amazon
Noah Chases The Wind/Amazon
The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time/Amazon
Daniel Isn’t Talking/Amazon