One of the best ways to teach children, especially young children, is through stories. Books and stories have a unique ability to reach children when they may not have the words yet to discuss what they are feeling. The books described here are all written for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), siblings of children with autism, and peers who may want to learn more about becoming friends with a child with autism. The list was obtained by looking at the best selling children’s books on autism from Amazon.com, Borders.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. The five books selected were among the top ten best sellers on all three sites.
One note: The writer of this site was disturbed at the lack of availability of these books at local bookstores. Only two of the books on this list are currently in stock locally. Gainesville has a significant number of children with autism and a strong advocacy movement. It is alarming that local retailers such as Borders and Barnes & Noble do not even stock their own bestsellers on the topic. That said, here are the recommended books.
My Sister Katie: My 6 Year Old’s View on Her Sister’s Autism by Mary Cassette
This book is written for any child who has a family member or friend with autism. It seeks to explain how autism makes a child different and how they can deal with those differences. It also helps illustrate to children who each child is unique and possesses their own talents and abilities. Available online or the book may be ordered through Barnes & Noble for store delivery. It is not available through Borders
I Am Utterly Unique: Celebrating the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism by Elaine Marie Larson.
This A to Z alphabet book uses a kid-friendly format to illustrate the positive aspects of children with ASD including their many talents and abilities. The author states that it is designed to help children with ASD grow in self-awareness of their many capabilities. Available online or the book may be ordered through Borders or Barnes & Noble for store delivery.
Playing by the Rules: A Story about Autism by Dena Fox Luchsinger
This book is designed to help siblings of children with autism understand the unique role they have as a bridge between their sibling and society. It is the story of Jody and her brother Josh, who has autism. When a relative comes to visit, it is Jody who must teach Aunt Tilda the “rules” when it comes to Josh’s autism. Available online or the book may be ordered through Borders or Barnes & Noble for store delivery.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
A mother-daughter author team writes this story. It is a fictional representation of their experiences with Ryan’s twin brother, RJ. It is the story of Callie and her brother Charlie. Charlie is very good a many things but at times he becomes withdrawn and isolates himself. The story focuses on the relationship between these siblings, one who has autism and the other who does not. It includes the joy of their strengths and the challenge Callie faces having a brother with autism. In stock at Borders and Barnes & Noble.
Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book by Celeste Shally
The story is about two boys, Matt, who has autism, and another boy who wants to be his friend. The boy must learn that even though Matt behaves differently at times, he can still be friends with Matt. The boy learns how to help Matt in social situations. The practical applications are a bit of a stretch. Simply giving a child with autism some extra attention won’t help the way it does in the book. But Since We’re Friends does illustrate to children that they can be friends with other children who happen to have autism. In Stock at Barnes & Noble
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