Autism Resources

6 of the Best Books for Kids with Autism

Jennifer Black April 26, 2024

When shopping for books for kids with autism or those who are neurodivergent, there are many avenues to explore. Although there is a wide variety of books out there for kids to read (or be read to!), it isn’t always easy to find books about autism that are helpful, age-appropriate, fun, and factual. When going to the library, there are not many books for children or families to borrow on this topic. Many books are informational, stating what autism is and what life is like with it, and while that is great, finding books geared specifically towards early learners requires special attention. The best kind of books for kids with autism are ones that bring joy, encourage understanding, and inspire kids to learn more about autism.

1. My Life with Autism

Written by Mari Schuh and Illustrated by Isbel Muñoz

My Life with Autism provides the perspective of a young boy with autism on his daily life, both the joys and the struggles. This book gives kids the opportunity to hear firsthand some of the experiences of a peer with autism; however, it can highlight more of the negatives than other books for this age group. Because My Life with Autism  is nonfiction, it does not shy away from sharing the challenges faced by its main character, Zen. The book also uses some “blanket statements” that are not always accurate, but can be helpful in teaching youngsters to understand autism.


2. My Brother Otto

Written by Meg Raby and Illustrated by Elisa Pallmer

Supporting and including siblings with autism is a main focus of My Brother Otto, which also highlights themes of understanding sensory issues, making good choices, and the joy of being different. This book gives children an example of siblings who understand and cherish their differences, sharing how Otto, who is on the autism spectrum, “likes to play, learn, have friends, and be loved,” just like his older sister Piper, and shows how love, acceptance, and understanding go a long way.



3. My Brother Otto and the Birthday Party

Written by Meg Raby and Illustrated by Elisa Pallmer

A sequel to My Brother Otto, My Brother Otto and the Birthday Party shows how Otto and Piper deal with different sensory experiences at a birthday party. This book introduces Ruthie, a friend who is also on the spectrum, and explains Otto and Ruthie’s differences by sharing their unique experiences. Following along to Ruthie’s party with Otto and Piper is a great way for young learners to learn about accommodations and how they help kids with autism.



4. Too Much! An Overwhelming Day

Written by Jolene Gutiérrez and Illustrated by Angel Chang

Another wonderful book that discusses autism in a positive, kid-friendly way is Too Much: An Overwhelming Day. This book’s author writes from her own experience with sensory processing disorder, and uses examples from kids’ daily lives to express the struggles of sensory processing and encourage understanding of self-soothing and other practices that can help with overstimulation.



5. My Brother Charlie

Written by ​​Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete and Illustrated by Shane Evans

The authors of My Brother Charlie are a mother and her daughter who collaborate to talk about their life and experiences based on their son and brother who has autism. From his sister’s perspective, this book explains how Charlie and his sister are different in an age-appropriate way, showing that, “…for everything that Charlie can’t do well, there are plenty more things that he’s good at.” Encouraging inclusion, love, and understanding for kids with autism, this book is a well-loved favorite for parents of kids with and without autism.



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

Written by by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer​​ and Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism is a great book that talks about appreciating differences and unique strengths. It also includes a reading guide with background information about autism spectrum disorders, as well as a note to parents and caregivers with tips for finding support. It also discusses a variety of other topics, including worrying, anger, aggression, and general differences between children.



Finding the Best Books for Kids with Autism

An often-recommended resource for finding the best books for kids with autism is Reading Rockets, a national public media literacy initiative. They offer themed “booklists,” which include topics like Picture Books Featuring Characters with Autism or Asperger’s and more helpful lists of the best books for kids of all ages.