9 Multicultural Children’s Books about Autism

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Multicultural Children's Books about Autism

It’s Autism Awareness Month! Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) include a wide range of conditions characterised by difficulties with social interactions, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviours.

These multicultural children’s books about autism highlight the challenges children with autism face as well as their unique abilities and strengths.They also address the issues of friendship and bullying.

9 Multicultural Children’s Books about Autism

Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book
by Celeste Shally

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: Since We're Friends

Matt’s autism doesn’t stop him from having fun! When he struggles to navigate social situations, his friend is there to help him out. The two boys enjoy playing sports, watching movies, reading books, and talking about animals. With colourful illustrations and simple text, Since We’re Friends is a touching story of friendship, compassion, and understanding. ~ Diverse – PreschoolElementary School

My Brother Charlie
by Holly Robinson Peete

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: My Brother Charlie

“Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It’s harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe.” But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can’t do well, there are plenty of things he’s good at, such as knowing the names of all the American presidents, knowing stuff about aeroplanes, and playing the piano really well. With expressive illustrations, My Brother Charlie is a heartwarming book by bestselling author and actress Holly Robinson Peete – in collaboration with her daughter -, based on her own son, who has autism. ~ African – PreschoolElementary School

Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload
by Jennifer Veenendall

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears?

Not all children with autism suffer from sensory processing disorder, but many do. Meet Izzy, a feisty first grader, whose behaviour is often misunderstood as she tries to cope with sensory overload in her new surroundings. Brightly illustrated Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears is a helpful and reassuring book for occupational therapists, teachers, and parents to share with children. Includes lists of related books and websites.  ~ Diverse – PreschoolElementary School

The Bully Blockers: Standing Up for Classmates with Autism
by Celeste Shally

What would you do if you saw someone being bullied? Would you pretend it did not happen? Would you walk away and hope that someone else will take care of it? Would you care? Children with autism are likely to be bullied because they are socially awkward and often times unaware they are being bullied. The Bully Blockers tells the story of a boy who witnesses a classmate with autism being bullied and decides to stand up for him. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism
by Ellen Sabin

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: The Autism Acceptance Book

The Autism Acceptance Book teaches children how to be a friend to someone with autism. It is an engaging and thoughtful activity book, conversation-starter, and educational tool that helps children understand, accept and respect children with autism. Suitable for children aged 6 to 13 and ideal for classrooms and other group settings. ~ Diverse – Elementary SchoolMiddle School

Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism
by Fiona Bleach

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: Everybody Is Different

This book answers the many questions siblings of children with autism might have, from explaining the characteristics of autism and the seemingly odd behaviours of children with autism, to addressing the feelings of the sibling and suggestions for making family life comfortable for everyone. With engaging illustrations, Everybody Is Different is an accessible and helpful book for brothers or sisters of children with autism. ~ Diverse – Elementary SchoolMiddle School

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)
by Elizabeth Verdick

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders is a positive and straightforward resource for kids with autism that helps them understand, accept and manage their condition. Meant to be read with a parent, the book addresses questions (“What’s an ASD?” “Why me?”) and provides strategies for communicating, making and keeping friends, succeeding in school, and symptom management. The book includes stories from real kids, fact boxes, helpful checklists, resources, a glossary, and a section for parents. ~ Diverse – Elementary SchoolMiddle School

Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: Counting by 7s

12-year-old Willow Chance is obsessed with nature, diagnosing medical conditions, and counting by 7s. Struggling to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, she leads a quietly happy life, until both her parents die in an accident, leaving her alone in a confusing world. But Willow manages to push through her grief and find a substitute family. With a multicultural cast (Willow describes herself as a ‘person of colour”, her new family is of mixed Vietnamese, African American, and Mexican heritage), bestselling Counting by 7s is a moving middle grade novel about loss, resilience and the true meaning of family. ~Diverse – Middle School

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
by Naoki Higashida

9 Multicultural Children's Books about Autism: The Reason I Jump

Not specifically a book for young adults but definitely suitable for them, The Reason I Jump gives an intimate insight into the mind of a very smart, self-aware, and charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism. Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”). This vivid and eye-opening memoir demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. ~ Asian – High School (YA)

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon US, CAN and UK by clicking on the image or book title*

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5 Responses

  1. Julie Fortenberry
    | Reply

    Could Lily’s Cat Mask be added to the list? Lily doesn’t talk throughout the book. (She does, however, meow.) While not marketed specifically as a book about autism, Lily might be familiar to parents with children on the autism spectrum, and those children might identify with her.

    • Colours of Us

      Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely check the book out.

  2. Mia Wenjen
    | Reply

    This is a really important list. Thanks so much for sharing at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day linky.

  3. This is such a great list. It can be so difficult to find books that are both multicultural and which touch on different abilities – finding a book about a non-white character with autism can seem almost impossible sometimes!

  4. Marjorie (MWD)
    | Reply

    It’s great to see this collection of books – I must look out for Counting by 7s and The Reason I Jump… Thanks for sharing with #diversekidlit

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