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Book Recommendations for Autism Acceptance Month

Did you know Autism Acceptance Month (also known as Autism Awareness Month or World Autism Month) is celebrated in April? Here are some books with autistic characters that we recommend checking out! 

Children’s Picture Books 

Charlie Makes a Splash! 

by Holly Robinson Peete and RJ Peete; illustrated by Shane W. Evans 

Charlie, a boy with autism, describes what his life is like with his twin sister Callie, who does not have autism, and explains how water–whether in a pool, a tub, or in the aquarium–is like a warm hug, which settles him down and calms his mind, allowing him to focus and cope. 

It Was Supposed to be Sunny  

by Samantha Cotterill 

Laila’s birthday party, perfectly planned with her autism in mind, goes awry due to a change in weather and an accident with her cake, but with the help of her mom and her service dog, Laila knows she can handle this 

It’s Me, Henry!  

by Stéphanie Deslauriers; illustrated by Geneviève Després; translated by Charles Simard. 

Henry, who is on the autism spectrum, struggles to connect with his classmates until they visit the botanical gardens, where his passion for botany makes an impression. 

Leo and the Octopus 

by Isabelle Marinov & Chris Dixon 

The world was too bright for Leo. And too loud. “I must be living on the wrong planet,” Leo thought. Leo struggles to make sense of the world. He doesn’t understand the other children in his class, and they don’t seem to understand him. But then one day, Leo meets Maya. Maya is an octopus, and the more Leo learns about her, the more he thinks that perhaps he isn’t alone in this world, after all. 

Talking is Not My Thing  

by Rose Robbins 

A girl with autism who almost never speaks demonstrates how easily she communicates with her brother and grandmother through facial expressions, gestures, flashcards, and drawings. 

 

Middle Grade Books

Ellen Outside the Lines  

by A.J. Sass 

Ellen, an autistic thirteen-year-old, navigates a new city, shifting friendships, a growing crush, and her queer and Jewish identities while on a class trip to Barcelona, Spain 

Izzy at the End of the World  

by K.A. Reynolds 

An autistic girl faced with disaster, Izzy Wilder and her dog Akka set out to discover the truth behind humanity’s disappearance, facing life’s greatest mysteries as they uncover the true endurance of the human spirit to save the world. 

The Trouble with Robots  

by Michelle Mohrweis 

Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption? 

Caterpillar Summer  

by Gillian McDunn 

Since her father’s death, Cat has taken care of her brother, Chicken, for their hardworking mother but while spending time with grandparents they never knew, Cat has the chance to be a child again. 

A Kind of Spark  

by Elle McNicoll 

When she discovers that her small Scottish town used to burn witches simply because they were different, a neurodivergent girl who sees and hears things others cannot refuses to let them be forgotten.
Honorable Mention:

Frankie’s World  

by Aoife Dooley 

Frankie is different from everyone in her class, and she can’t figure out why. She has trouble concentrating, and her classmates tease her for not having a dad at home. One day, when Frankie sneaks into her mom’s room and sees her biological father’s name on her birth certificate, she decides to go on a mission to track him down. Could Frankie’s father be the key to finding out why Frankie feels so adrift? 

 

Young Adult Books 

On the Edge of Gone  

by Corinne Duyvis 

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2034, a comet is due to hit the Earth within the hour. Denise, who’s sixteen years old and autistic, must try to find her missing sister and also help her neglectful, undependable mother safely aboard a spaceship 

Afrotistic  

by Kala Allen Omeiza 

Noa Ohunene Jenkins doesn’t feel Black enough. Or autistic enough. Or cool enough. To make the Dean’s Merit Society, she needs leadership experience, but there’s one problem: Noa struggles to socialize appropriately. Desperate to make it in the society, she creates her own group consisting of autistic students from her school district and names it the ‘Roaring Pebbles.’  

The Boy Who Steals Houses  

by C.G. Drews 

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him. 

Unseelie  

by Ivelisse Housman 

An autistic changeling trying to navigate her unpredictable magic, Seelie finds it difficult to fit in with the humans around her, unlike her twin sister, until they both get caught up in a heist gone wrong that changes everything 

Tell Me How It Ends 

by Quinton Li 

A coming-of-age cozy fantasy with a queer cast, witches, and tarot. Perfect for fans of Legends & Lattes and Our Flag Means Death. Iris Galacia’s tarot cards do more than entertain gamblers. With the flip of her fingers she can predict the future and uncover a person’s secrets. Enter Marin Boudreau, a charming young person who can scale buildings and break off doorknobs, who comes for her help to rescue a witch who’s been falsely imprisoned in Excava Kingdom. Now Iris must learn to trust in herself, Marin, and this new magical world, while racing the clock before the royals decide the fate of the witch, and before any secrets catch up to her. 

Honorable Mention:

Hell Followed With Us  

by Andrew Joseph White 

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him–the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.  

 

Adult Books 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown 

by Talia Hibbert 

Eve, the flightiest Brown sister, finds it’s time to grow up and prove herself, even though she’s not entirely sure how. But when she crashes into the life of Jacob Wayne, an uptight B&B owner, she has him falling hard, literally. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to “help.” Before long, she has infiltrated his work, the heat between them is impossible to ignore, and it might just be melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. 

The Outside  

by Ada Hoffman 

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive on board The Pride of Jai that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone left inside. The Gods declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, the offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the Gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world, literally, inside out. 

Phoenix Extravagant  

by Yoon Ha Lee 

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint. One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers. When Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes – and the awful source of the magical pigments they use – they find they can no longer stay out of politics. What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight.  

Into The Drowning Deep  

by Mira Grant  

Seven years ago, Atagaris set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.  

Uncomfortable Labels  

by Laura Kate Dale 

In this candid memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, through to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender, and autism, and how they intersect. 

Honorable Mention:  

Sensory: Life on the Spectrum 

edited by Bex Ollerton 

From artist and curator Bex Ollerton comes an anthology featuring comics from thirty autistic creators about their experiences of living in a world that doesn’t always understand or accept them. Sensory: Life on the Spectrum contains illustrated explorations of everything from life pre-diagnosis to tips on how to explain autism to someone who isn’t autistic, to suggestions for how to soothe yourself when you’re feeling overstimulated.