About 1 in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the CDC, so your family probably knows someone with autism. Help your child learn more about ASDs by reading these children's books about autism for kids of all ages, from preschoolers to teens. Read the books during Autism Awareness Month (April) or anytime you think your child could gain a better understanding of a classmate, neighbor, friend, or sibling who is "on the spectrum."
All My Stripes by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
Zane is a zebra with autism who wishes his differences from other kids wouldn't make him stand out. His mother gently reminds him that autism is just one of his "stripes," and it makes him amazing and unique. The story is written for children with autism, as well as their siblings and peers.
The Autism Acceptance Book by Ellen Sabin
This is an activity book about "being a friend to someone who has autism." Parents and teachers can use it as a conversation starter to help kids learn about autism and how to be empathetic toward people with all kinds of differences.
Ethan's Story: My Life with Autism by Ethan Rice
The young author of this book, Ethan Rice, was diagnosed with autism at age 4. He wrote this book at age 7 to help his first-grade classmates understand what it feels like to have an ASD. He lays out his challenges and strengths in his own words and in a way that young children can understand.
My Friend with Autism by Beverly Bishop
The author — the mother of a boy with an ASD — wrote this book to help inform her son's classmates about autism in a straightforward, positive, kid-friendly tone. The story addresses the challenges of ASDs, such as sensory sensitivity, communication differences, unique ways of playing, and insistence on routine. The book comes with a CD of free coloring pages!
Ages: 7 to 10
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
Actress and autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborated with her daughter on this story, based on Holly's son, Charlie, who has autism. Told from the perspective of a caring big sister, we learn about 10-year-old Charlie's struggles (with expressing his feelings and making friends), and his special talents (playing the piano and knowing the names of all the presidents).
Ages: 7 to 10
Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes by Jennifer Elder
This book introduces children to inspiring historical figures, such as Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, and Sir Isaac Newton, who were "on the spectrum" and achieved greatness in the worlds of art, science, philosophy, and comedy. The story is told from the perspective of Quinn, an 8-year-old child with Asperger's Syndrome, but is relevant for all young readers learning about ASDs.
Ages: 8 to 12
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Caitlin has Asperger's. The world according to her is black and white; anything in between is confusing. When her older brother, Devon, is killed in a school shooting, she is reeling but wants immediate closure. In her search for it, she discovers the world may not be so black and white after all. This critically acclaimed story won the National Book Award.
Ages: 9 to 13
Rules by Cynthia Lord
In this Newbery Honor Book, 12-year-old Catherine wishes for a normal life — which seems impossible when you have a brother with autism. She has spent years trying to teach David the rules: "a peach is not a funny looking apple" and "keep your pants on in public." One summer, Catherine makes some new friends — and new realizations — that make her question the meaning and importance of "normal."
Ages: 8 to 12