Picture Books with Autistic Characters
As the step-parent of an autistic boy, I often worry that neurotypical people will not recognize his kind heart and amazing mind. These picture books show autism from many different perspectives, and hopefully will show children on the autism spectrum that their unique gifts and contributions are just as important as those of neurotypical kids.
Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally J. Pla. Illus. by Ken Min.
This sensitive story shows the ways that autism can affect neurotypical siblings, and provides an empathetic model for how siblings can support each other.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. Illus. by Shane W. Evans.
Based on personal experience, the authors’ text combines with mixed-media illustrations to skillfully depict the warmth, love, and acceptance for twins Callie and Charlie, one neurotypical and the other autistic.
This Beach Is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill.
A young boy with sensory issues is excited for a day at the shore with his father, but the noise, and itchiness of the sand overwhelms him. Luckily, his family knows some techniques to soothe him so he can play. See also the other books in the Little Senses series by Cotterill who is on the autism spectrum herself.
How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville. Illus. by Giselle Potter.
As a young girl, Temple didn’t like hugs but still wanted the comfort of a hug, so she cleverly invented a solution that worked for her unique needs. The author’s note elaborates on Grandin’s life, career, and contributions to autism awareness.
My Brother Otto by Meg Raby. Illus. by Elisa Pallmer.
This engaging picture book shows everyday life with a pair of crow siblings when one of them is on the autism spectrum. The story gives gentle insight into why autistic children sometimes behave differently than their neurotypical peers, while also showing their common desire for love and fun.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold. Illus. by Charles Santoso.
The first book in this sensitive series about an autistic third grader introduces Bat (Bixby Alexander Tam) who bonds with an orphan skunk brought home by his veterinarian mom, and strives to prove that he can care for it. See also the other books in the Bat series.
A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey. Illus. by Mika Song.
Making friends is especially hard for Henry until he and a classmate, Katie, bond over their love for the class fish. It is never stated that he has autism, but his actions and thought processes will be familiar to readers on the autism spectrum.
Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT Is OK by Clay & ail Morton. Illus. by Alex Merry.
The narrator of this story matter-of-factly outlines the ways that his neurotypical friend Johnny seems strange, but ultimately, he appreciates that being different isn't wrong.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca. Illus. by Daniel Rieley.
Temple Grandin grew up at a time when there was generally little understanding of people on the autism spectrum. However, her mother advocated for her education, and Grandin would eventually design animal husbandry techniques to more humanely treat livestock.
Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey
Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.
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