Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a day that focuses on speaking out against discrimination, celebrating diversity and the inclusion and participation of people with autism.
We’ve put together a list of a few wonderful books to promote understanding and awareness but there’s a wide range available, so please talk to your librarian for more ideas.
If you’d like to know more about World Autism Awareness Day, please visit the Autism Awareness Australia website where you’ll find a range of resources and they also have an extensive booklist.
This year the campaign that they are running for Autism AwarenessDay is #ourautismcrew – a social media campaign you can learn more about it here.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
In this story, told from a sister’s point of view, we meet a family whose oldest son teaches them important lessons about togetherness, hope, tolerance, and love.
Holly Robinson Peete, bestselling author, actress, and national autism spokesperson has paired with her daughter, Ryan, to co-author this uplifting book based on their own personal experiences with Holly’s son and Ryan’s brother, RJ, who has autism.
Hello My Name is Max by Max Miller
Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism is a beautifully composed collection of essays and drawings by Max Miller, a 12-year-old boy on the autism spectrum. Max eloquently explains what life is like with autism, providing insight into the autistic mind through the words and drawings of a child on the spectrum.
Max’s work is powerful and honest. It is unique as it is a book written by a child without prompting or direction. His words are straight from the heart – a must-own for any educator, parent, or loved one impacted by autism.
Autism Through a Sister’s Eyes by Eve Band, Emily Hecht, Gary B. Mesibov
When young people have questions about a brother or sister with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, clear answers can be hard to find. Written by Eve Band, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, this book gives voice to ten-year-old Emily’s story: her questions about her brother, her search for answers about autism, and her exploration of her feelings as a sibling of a young man with autism. Told in her voice, Emily’s story is as uplifting as it is filled with valuable information for parents and siblings, or any individual whose life is touched by a person with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, transcribed by David Mitchell and Keiko Yoshida
Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides rare insight into the often, baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world – other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.
David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki’s book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.
The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki’s words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.
For more ideas take a look at our booklist Different Perspectives: Autism and Aspergers in Middle Grade Fiction