March 30, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day, April 2: Book List

(updated June 2017)

According to Autism Society Canada, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that affects the way the brain processes information, resulting in developmental disability.  Communication, social interactions and behaviours are affected to different degrees in individuals with ASD.

To encourage education and awareness of ASDs, April 2nd has been designated as World Autism Awareness Day. To support that mandate, I'd like to present this short list of youngCanLit book titles that includes fiction with characters that display ASDs or that aim to educate readers about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Share this reading with others and help extend those who have a better understanding of this neurological disorder.


Dinosaur Diego: The World's Smartest Dude: Asperger's Syndrome (Autism)
by Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
Illustrated by Rob Hall
Wildberry Productions
36 pp.
Ages 5-9
Diego may know everything about dinosaurs but his daily life isn't as clear cut as he tells readers about his Asperger's.


by Alma Fullerton
Dancing Cats Books/Cormorant
255 pp.
Ages 10-13
After her mom takes off, Casey must deal with her autistic sister Ginny, taunts from friends and bullies, and her mom's partner's despair and despondency.  

Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell
by Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
272 pp.
Ages 12-16
Teen Frederick is taken outside his comfort zone of routines when he helps a friend.
Reviewed here

The Encyclopedia of Me
by Karen Rivers
Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Canada
251 pp.
Ages 10-13
In the encyclopedia of her life that she writes while grounded, Tink deals with all events and issues, including living with her autistic older brother Seb.

Everyday Hero
by Kathleen Cherry
Orca Book Publishers
168 pp.
Ages 8-11
Thirteen-year-old Alice may be initially helped by goth-inspired Megan but it's Alice who ends up being the hero to her new friend.
Reviewed here

Fragile Bones: Harrison and Anna  
by Lorna Schultz Nicholson 
Clockwise, Press 
217 pp.
Ages 13+ 
Hugh-functioning autistic teen Harrison teams up with Anna in the Best Buddies program at their high school.
Reviewed here

Gemini Summer 
by Iain Lawrence 
Delacorte Press / Random House Canada
261 pp.
Ages 10-13
It's 1965 and the summer of the Apollo Gemini mission. In Canada, the tragic death of Beau River, the younger brother of the protagonist Danny, is initially blamed on Dopey, a boy who ostensibly has a developmental disorder such as ASD.

Looking for X
by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood Books
132 pp.
Ages 11-13
Eleven-year-old Khyber who lives with her mom and autistic twin brothers in Toronto's Regent Park befriends a homeless woman, X.

Seeing Red

by Ann Louise MacDonald
Kids Can Press
220 pp.
Ages 9-13
Frankie, who has disturbing dreams with unclear messages, volunteers at a therapeutic horse ranch where he works with a young autistic boy.

by Dianne Linden
Thistledown Press
134 pp.
Ages 9-13
When his mother joins a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, Mike becomes fixated on death, finding solace with unusual companions both real and otherwise. 

by Caroline Pignat 
320 pp.
Ages 12+
Five teens barricaded in a school washroom during lockdown include a girl and her older autistic brother.
Reviewed here

The Space Between
by Don Aker
HarperCollins Canada
245 pp.
Ages 14+
Eighteen-year-old Jace deals with middle-child syndrome, between his wildly successful older brother Stephan, now dead, and Lucas, his younger brother whose autism garners him much needed special attention.

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food (And other life lessons)
by Jodi Carmichael 
Illus. by Sarah Ackerley
Little Pickle Press/Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
152 pp.
Ages 7-10
Gr. 3 student Connor shares life lessons from a single day at school in which his ASD helps define his routines, likes and dislikes and interactions with others.

Waiting For No One
by Beverley Brenna 
Red Deer Press
187 pp.
Ages 13+
Taylor (from Wild Orchid, 2005) is becoming more independent after her summer of change. She is taking a university course, working at a bookstore and learning how to keep herself out of the "red zone" where she speaks and acts inappropriately.

Wild Orchid
by Beverley Brenna
Red Deer Press
156 pp.
Ages 12+
Eighteen-year-old Taylor, who has Asperger's, graduates from high school and pursues her goals to get a job, make a couple of friends and find a boyfriend.

You Can't Take Micky!
by Sonia Craddock
Scholastic Canada
137 pp.
Ages 9-11
Siblings Claire (13) and Adam (11) run away with their four-year-old autistic cousin Micky when they fear he will be placed in an institution.

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