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  • Writer's pictureSharon Starkey

Books to Help Siblings and Peers Understand Autism

Are you looking for books to help your child’s friends or sibling learn about autism?

If you are looking for books on autism to share with siblings or peers, these are some suggested books. While I have no experience with many of them, the first five I have used in groups of 4 to 8-year-old children and the others come from recommendations by other parents. Some are older books, while others are newer books; be mindful of the fact that the older books on this list may have outdated information due to the large shifts in society's understanding of autism and how to be accepting of autistic people.

The Autism Acceptance Book by Ellen Sabin: This is an activity book about "being a friend to someone who has autism.

Ethan’s Story: My Life with Autism by Ethan Rice: 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 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!

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Pete: 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.

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.

In My Mind: The World Through the Eyes of Autism, by Adonya Wong: Explores the inner world of an autistic child, the world that no one else can see. From exciting adventures to silly games and conversations with friends, look closely and see how a child with autism sees the world and how the world sees him.

What It Is to Be Me! An Asperger's Kid Book, by Angela Wine: Danny, a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, shares the ups, downs, and pride of being an Asperger kid. Fully illustrated, this book is insightful and entertaining for both children and adults alike.

I Am Utterly Unique: Celebrating the Strengths, by Elaine Marie Larson: Discover the unique characteristics and abilities of children with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism from A to Z.

Can I Tell You About Asperger's Syndrome, by Jude Welton: Meet Adam - a young boy with AS. Adam invites young readers to learn about AS from his perspective. He helps children understand the difficulties faced by a child with AS - he tells them what AS is, what it feels like to have AS and how they can help children with AS by understanding their differences and appreciating their many talents.

A Is For Autism, F Is For Friend: A Kid’s Book For Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism, by Joanna L. Keating: Provides an inside look at the life of Chelsea, a young girl who has classic autism. In this book, Chelsea walks us through her day, including trips to the playground and park, and explains that although she sees other kids playing and wants to join them, social interaction can be tricky for her.

Everyone Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers and Sisters with Autism, by Fiona Bleach: This book gives answers to the many questions brothers and sisters have about their siblings. In addition to explaining in basic terms the characteristics of autism, this book is full of helpful suggestions for making family life more fun and comfortable for everyone.

I Love My Brother! A Preschooler’s View of Living with a Brother Who Has Autism. Written by Connor Sullivan, Danielle Sullivan (Editor): A four-year-old boy describes life with his two-year-old brother, Sean, who is autistic and likes some foods but dislikes others, hates loud noises, only wants to be hugged sometimes, and works with therapists to learn to play with others.

My Brother Sammy. Written by Becky Edwards, David Armitage: In a beautifully illustrated picture book, a boy describes some of the many feelings he has about his younger brother Sammy, who is autistic.

Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism. Written by Laurie Lears: Julie can't wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn't have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly.

Andy and His Yellow Frisbee by Mary Thompson: An illustrated children's book about Andy, a boy with autism. Rosie, the watchful and protective sister, supplies background on Andy and autism, as well as a sibling's perspective.

Joey and Sam: A Heartwarming Storybook About Autism, a Family, and a Brother’s Love by Illana Katz: Although it is sometimes hard to have a younger brother like Sam who is autistic, Joey is proud when Sam's special class performs at a school assembly.

Taking Autism to School by Andreanna Edwards, Tom Dineen: Fun-to-read storybook that will simplify and normalize autism. When read aloud, other children can identify why a peer may be treated differently and begin to empathize with them.



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