Monday, March 25, 2019

The Best Autism Picture Books

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Looking for picture books about autism for kids? These are, hands-down, the best autism picture books you'll find!

As a parent of an autistic child, I've been on a mission lately to find the best darn picture books about autism.

And it's proving to be a bit of a challenge because there is a lot of junk out there...

It seems like for every good one I do find, I had to read about 7-10 absolutely terrible ones first...

In fact, there's lots of autism picture books I couldn't even bring myself to finish reading because of poor wording or misinformation they presented in the opening pages.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I occasionally rip some autism picture books to shreds (not literally!) in my stories...I'll point out what's wrong with some of these picture books so you know which autism picture books to avoid.

But, don't worry, I'm not here to share those terrible books with you, as tempting as that might be. I just wanted you to know that, unfortunately, there seems to be more terrible autism picture books than there are good ones.

Anyway, here are my absolute favorite autism picture books for kids. These books truly represent the spectrum and feature both female and male autistic characters, as well as autistic persons of color.

Oh, and hey, if you're looking for chapter books for older kids that feature autistic characters, then I've got you covered too! You'll definitely want to check out this book list of fiction and chapter books featuring autistic characters.

The best picture books about autism for kids

The Best Picture Books About Autism

I originally shared my six favorite autism picture books over at CBC Parents so some of the books I mention below will suggest you click to read that post for more details. But I have obviously found some new suggestions since I originally wrote that post for them.

This list will be continually added to as I find and discover new picture books about autism, but here are my absolute favorites!

** Please note that one book pictured in the pinnable images has since been removed. I admit that I wasn't able to spot the problems in the book "My Brother Charlie" at first (spotting ableism is tricky when you're still learning!) and the book is no longer one that I would recommend. It has been removed from this list here. Look at me being human and admitting my faults ;) **

1. Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is Ok!

By Clay & Gail Morton
Illustrated by Alex Merry

This book is not like the rest on this list, but it is easily one of my favorites! You can learn more about why I love this picture book over at CBC Parents.

2. Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged

By Zetta Elliott
Illustrated by Purple Wong

I thought this book is really great for a variety of reasons. I love that it features an autistic child who is also a person of color. Representation matters!

I love the simple format of the book with one line of text (too much text would have overwhelmed my son when he was younger so I know this book would have been a fantastic read for him when he was a toddler).

I also love that this book mentions many of the sensory processing issues that are common in autistic children.

And, finally, I love the overall messages of it's okay to be different and that it's important to accept your friends for who they are.

3. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

By Julia Finley Mosca
Illustrated by Daniel Rieley

I am well aware of the autistic adult's community's concerns about Dr. Temple Grandin herself, but I do think this picture book is still a great read. Especially when the selection of autism picture books featuring female autistics is so small. You can learn more about why I like this picture book over at CBC Parents.

4. All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

By Shaina Rudolph & Danielle Royer
Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

This autism picture book was one of the first that I ever read to my boys many years ago. It's also one that seems to be readily available at libraries, which is good. The illustrations are cute and the story is really good. Want to learn more about this book? Read more of my thoughts over at CBC Parents.

5. Noah Chases the Wind

By Michelle Worthington
Illustrated by Joseph Cowman

The artwork in this book is just beautiful! I go into a bit more detail over at CBC Parents so click here to read my thoughts about this particular book.

6. Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

By Jennifer Elder
Illustrated by Marc Thomas & Jennifer Elder

This book features lots of biographies of autistic people, including females, males, and even a person of color. So lots of diversity within its pages!

It does, however, have a lot of text and isn't like a traditional picture book like the rest on this list.

But it's a great book for kids who need reassurance that being different is okay or need to find a person to relate to that is just like themselves.

7. Sensory Like You

By Rachel S. Schneider
Illustrated by Kelly Dillon

A blogging friend of mine recommended this book to me and I'm so glad she did.

Both the author and the illustrator have sensory processing disorder themselves and they did a great job introducing the topic of sensory processing to kids.

They describe all of the different senses, even interoception, and even go into detail about how a brain with sensory issues functions.

A great book for introducing your child's diagnosis to them, by the way!

8. Looking After Louis

By Lesley Ely
Illustrated by Polly Dunbar

There's lots of good things to highlight in this book, but you'll have to read my thoughts on this picture book over at CBC Parents.

9. We're Amazing 1,2,3! A Story About Friendship and Autism

By Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Marybeth Nelson

This picture book isn't amazing like the title would imply, but I do think it is a pretty solid first book about autism for the younger crowd.

What I do like is that it features an autistic girl, Julia, as a main character. I also like that Elmo is respectful and gives practical strategies to his friend Abby about how to be a good friend to Julia.

One thing I don't like about this book is that Julia is given some pretty stereotypical autistic traits like lining up toys, spinning objects, and hand flapping. It's not necessarily a bad thing, per se, just something I wanted to point out.

Overall, it's still a fairly good, and positive, autism picture book.


** The book "My Brother Charlie" is shown in the pinnable images, but has since been removed from this book list due to its subtle ableism and other problems (like I didn't read the information section at the end for instance - my bad for missing that!). **

The best picture books about autism for kids

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