11 Children's Books That Help Kids Understand Autism
Kids are a lot of things, but understanding isn't always one of them. Even if your child is innately empathetic, it may still be hard for them to understand why their friend, classmate, sibling or acquaintance who has been diagnosed with a form of autism, acts the way they do. As parents, it's your job to help your kids relate and be kind to those who are different than them, even in especially difficult cases. Children's books that help kids understand autism can be a great tool for parents, teachers, and kids alike to do just that.
All of these books are written for children, specifically designed to demystify behaviors associated with autism and break down how an autistic child sees the world around them in terms anyone can relate to and understand. From dealing with big, overwhelming feelings, to having social anxiety, to resisting authority, these books tackle large issues that anyone close to an autistic child will witness.
Furthermore, if your child has autism, these books can be very beneficial too— helping them better see what goes on inside them and teaching them how to relate with the world around them.
It's easy to tell your child to befriend the child who doesn't fit in easily, but it's another thing to read them books about it and give them tangible examples of how to make that a reality.
1. 'When My Worries Get Too Big!' by Kari Dunn Buron
An easy to read book full of exciting illustrations, When My Worries Get Too Big! is a great tool for kids who have a hard time managing their feelings or worries.
2. 'Rules' by Cynthia Lord
Rules is a 2007 Newbery Honor Book about a young girl who spent years teaching her younger brother with autism about the "rules" he should follow to fit in. But along the way she learns a new definition of normal, and the readers will as well.
3. 'Views From Our Shoes' by Donald Joseph Meyer
Written specifically for kids with a sibling with special needs, Views From Our Shoes is a collection of easy to read essays from 45 children who share their experiences and advice.
4. 'Different Like Me' by Jennifer Elder
In Different Like Me, an 8-year-old boy tells readers about famous figures throughout history who, just like him, found it difficult to fit in because of autism. From Einstein to Louis Carroll, this book highlights the amazing achievements of people throughout history who also had a form of autism.
5. 'In My Mind: The World Through The Eyes Of Autism' by Adonya Wong
In My Mind: The World Through the Eyes of Autism is the perfect book for kids to get a glimpse into the mind of an autistic child.
6. 'Tacos Anyone? An Autism Story' by Marvie Ellis
Tacos Anyone? is a bilingual book about a young boy with autism and his older brother. It's written for kids, adults, professionals, or anyone looking to understand life with autism.
7. 'A Is For Autism, F Is For Friend' by Joanna L. Keating-Velasco
Told through the perspective of Chelsea, a little girl with autism, A Is For Autism, F Is For Friend demystifies autism by demonstrating how all kids can relate to their friends with autism in some form.
8. 'My Sister Has Autism' by Stephanie Ham & Sherry Ham
Written by a mother-daughter duo about her sister with autism, My Sister Has Autism is simple enough for a child to understand and relate to.
9. 'The Friendship Puzzle: Helping Kids Learn About Accepting and Including Kids with Autism' by Julie L. Coe
Geared towards kids who can read on their own, The Friendship Puzzle helps kids better relate to their friends, family or classmates with autism.
10. 'Ben Has Autism. Ben Is Awesome' by Meredith Zolty
Written by the mother of a son with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified), Ben Has Autism, Ben is Awesome tells the story of Ben through the eyes of a child, making it easy for children to empathize and better understand the world of a child with autism.
11. 'Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism' by Fiona Bleach
With many illustrations and clear descriptions and definitions, Everybody Is Different is a great down-to-earth book to teach older kids about interacting and helping their siblings with autism.