Autism Awareness Resources

Crossfield Elementary Library

April is Autism Awareness Month

In place of my regular newsletter, I would like to showcase our wonderful library collection and the resources that we have to share about autism and autism awareness.

Fiction Titles

How to Speak Dolphin

Since her mother died, twelve-year-old Lily has struggled to care for her severely autistic half-brother, Adam, in their Miami home, but she is frustrated and angry because her oncologist step-father, Don, expects her to devote her time to Adam, and is unwilling to admit that Adam needs professional help--but when Adam bonds with a young dolphin with cancer Lily is confronted with another dilemma: her family or the dolphin's freedom.

Anything but Typical

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.

Understanding Sam and Asperger's Syndrome

A third-person past-tense narrative tells the story of Sam, a boy with Asperger Syndrome. Positive qualities are listed first: "Sam loved to giggle-. Sam was a happy boy." Next come some of his challenges: he is afraid of loud noises, he has trouble making friends, and he does not like change. When he leaves the house at night, walking all the way to the local fairgrounds because he loved the Ferris wheel so much, his parents know that something must be done. They take him for a check-up and receive the diagnosis. The doctors and therapists give them some suggestions for helping their son at home and at school. The book concludes with Sam playing the cello at a school concert. Because of the interesting story line, the positive approach, and the notion that others can learn to help Sam instead of expecting him to change, this is an excellent introduction to the topic. The pictures are bright and lively, showing mostly happy faces. The book concludes with 10 helpful tips to remember when a friend or a classmate has Asperger's. A useful introduction for both children and adults


Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

The Boy Who Ate the Stars

Kochka's lyrical novel illuminates a caring 12-year-old girl's experiences with the four-year-old autistic boy who lives in her Paris apartment building. When Lucy and her parents move in, the outgoing narrator sets out to meet all of her new neighbors, but when Matthew "popped up in my life, he turned all my plans upside down and inside out." One of the novel's several intriguing supporting characters is the boy's mother, who invites Lucy to spend time with her son to help him become more sociable. In clear yet poetic language, the woman explains the complexities of autism accessibly to Lucy (and readers): "Autistic people are like small independent planets that have landed here by chance, and instead of looking at the other earthlings as they move around them, they spin inside themselves." Through Lucy's interactions with Matthew, her understanding of his interior world and the ways in which he communicates deepens. Readers may find some of Lucy's observations rather cryptic, yet those looking to better comprehend the autistic mind will appreciate her curiosity, candor and insight. Maougo, Matthew's Russian nanny who speaks no French, demonstrates the power of unspoken bonds and loving actions. Readers will close this book confident that Matthew is in good hands indeed.

Looking After Louis

This upbeat look at mainstreaming is told from the point of view of a little girl who sits next to an autistic boy. Louis, who repeats words he hears and has little interaction with his peers, gets away with behavior that the other children cannot, such as mimicking the teacher. One day, after he shows interest in playing soccer with a classmate, Miss Owlie allows both of them to go outside and play during the afternoon, prompting the narrator to point out the unfairness of this treatment. With her teacher's help, the child comes to realize that sometimes it's OK to "break rules for special people." Though the story depicts a fairly innocuous display of autism, which may mislead some readers about the disorder, the main focus is on the development of sensitivity in the other students. Dunbar's childlike paintings cleverly show how Louis is essentially the same as the other kids-he could be any one of the boys in the class, until the artwork focuses more closely on him. An afterword by a child clinical psychologist offers adults more information about autism and mainstreaming

Ian's Walk

Julie, who appears to be eight or nine, tells about an outing to the park with her older sister and younger brother, who is autistic. As they walk through town, she describes the things that Ian does and the sensations he experiences that are different from what most people do and feel. At the park, Ian eats dry cereal he has brought with him instead of pizza and refuses to sit on the bench with Julie. Suddenly, she looks around and notices that he is gone. The girls frantically search for him until, hearing a ringing sound, Julie remembers how much Ian likes to play with the big bell. She runs to find Ian under it, happily ringing away. On the way home, the girls let their brother do all the things he enjoys. This book tries to help families of autistic children understand the role of siblings, their anger, and the problems they may have explaining the disorder to others. However, it does not give enough specific information to be truly useful. As a story, this offering is pleasant enough; however, the picture-book format may not appeal to older youngsters who could benefit from it themselves or share it with their friends. It may, however, help to introduce some behaviors that may be typical of autism to primary-grade audiences.

Zack the Prarie Dog

One small dachshund One prairie dog with autism Two unlikely heroes. Follow the adventures of Zack and Cody in S. Charles Deckers heart-warming tale, Zack the Prairie Dog, and learn that being different, physically or within, always comes with qualities to embrace. This seemingly simple tale has many layers to discover and will grow with your child. Autism awareness, prejudgment, accepting differences in self and others, overcoming fear and the power of faith and friendship are all blended in an exciting, easy to read story. In Zack the Prairie Dog, you will see In heavens eyes, we are all special. This is an eLIVE book, meaning each printed copy contains a special code redeemable for the free download of the audio version of the book.

Tomas Loves

Tomas is a little boy who loves trains, trampolines and his dog Flynn. He hates sudden noise, surprises and changes in routine. There are many things about Tomas that make him special and unique, but despite his differences he loves fun and friendship – just like you.

This beautifully illustrated, rhyming book is a perfect introduction to autism for young readers aged 2 and over, including children on the autism spectrum and their friends and siblings. In helping the reader get to know Tomas, the book encourages children to recognize what they have in common with him, not just what makes him different.

Pedro's Whale

Based on the real-life event that inspired Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz's bestselling "Just Give Him the Whale!," this simple but powerful story introduces educators to one of the best, most effective inclusion strategies: using students' fascinations to help them learn.

Pedro, a young boy who loves whales more than anything, is heartbroken when he's told to put away his favorite toy whale on the first day of school. But then Pedro's teacher discovers the secret to helping him do his best work: not only giving him his whale, but also incorporating his special interest into the whole curriculum. Soon, Pedro's whale is helping all the children learn, as the teacher works whales into math lessons, storytime, simple science experiments, and more! Pedro's whale helps him make friends, too, as the other children start to share his special interest.

An ideal teaching tool, Pedro's Whale will inspire educators to harness their students' natural motivations. The engaging, full-color illustrations (by Justin Canha, a gifted artist on the autism spectrum) also make this book perfect for storytime, so all children can increase their sensitivity to peers with special needs and learning differences.

Everyone who reads Pedro's Whale will remember its eye-opening message: when you work with instead of against what students love, they feel safe, happy, and ready to learn. Used in tandem with "Just Give Him the Whale!," this enlightening story will help teachers maximize inclusion and ensure that students with and without disabilities reach their full potential.

David's World

“Sometimes I do not like David. He is so different. He speaks a different language. . . . David is my brother.” Thus begins a moving story about David, who has autism, and his older brother, who is trying to understand the world David inhabits. David does not like when people are noisy; he does not like being hugged—not even by his own brother. David does not laugh when happy or cry when sad. He speaks his own language, which is difficult to understand at times. And he eats the same foods almost every day. However, David is a brilliant pianist and seems to have an amazing ability to communicate with the family dog. And even though he is not like most children, through the eyes of his brother we are able to see how he makes progress toward understanding his world.

Dagmar H. Mueller’s moving text paired with Verena Ballhaus’s expressive art help bring to light the notion that there is a lot to learn about spending time with a child with autism. The book’s striking narration—told from the point of view of David’s brother—will help siblings and friends of autistic children better relate to them. This is a must for any home with children with autism and for classrooms that include mainstreamed special-needs kids.

Boo's Beard

Tom can’t read facial expressions, so he doesn’t understand the other children and they don’t understand him. Playing at the park can be lonely sometimes, but luckily Tom has his dog, Boo, and Boo is easy to understand. She wags her tail when she is happy and whines when she is sad.

One day, Boo gets her beard all knotted up in the bushes. A little girl named Lydia sees Boo and stops to talk to Tom. Boo’s beard has been tangled into a big smile, and Lydia explains to Tom that it’s the expression that someone makes when she is happy. She twists Boo’s beard into more expressions, explaining each one as she goes. When Lydia invites Tom and Boo to play on the swings with the kids, Tom and Boo join her. And at the end of the book, Tom understands the meaning of his own smile.

This sweet book familiarizes children with social disabilities, such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children learn the meaning of facial expressions and are introduced to the possibility that some children may have difficulty interacting with them.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Autistic? How Silly is That?

Winner of a 2012 Preferred Choice Award by Creative Child Magazine, the first book of its kind that tells children with autism they are KIDS with autism, as it gently pokes fun of the onerous label "autistic". The readers will feel better about themselves after reading about their new friend, the narrator, who also HAS autism, as well as many other more important characteristics. Having autism is just one small part of his overall character and humanity. And we would never again label him as simply "autistic".

All My Stripes

This is the story of Zane, a zebra with autism, who worries that his differences make him stand out from his peers. With careful guidance from his mother, Zane learns that autism is only one of many qualities that make him special. Contains a Note to Parents by Drew Coman, PhD, and Ellen Braaten, PhD, as well as a Foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.

Since We're Friends

Matt’s autism doesn’t stop him from having fun! Even when Matt 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. Working together, a best friend’s compassion and understanding turn Matt’s frustration into excitement. Whether on the basketball court, the playground swings, or at the neighborhood pool, the two friends enjoy each other’s company.

David Harrington’s colorful illustrations complement Celeste Shally’s touching story of friendship to create a book that is the perfect guide for children and parents to better understand those with autism spectrum disorders

My Brother Charlie

From bestselling author and actress Holly Robinson Peete--a heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly's son, who has autism.

"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 more things that he's good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows.

Actress and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborates with her daughter on this book based on Holly's 10-year-old son, who has autism.

Autistic Planet

Autistic Planet is a magical world where all trains run exactly to time, where people working in offices have rocking chairs, and where all kids dream of winning the chess World Cup. Join us on a journey to this alternative reality, where being different is ordinary, and being "typical" is unheard of!

Full of colour illustrations and written in child-friendly rhyme, this book is ideal for children aged 6 and over.

Jennifer Elder is assistant editor in a book publishing company. She and her husband have two sons, one of whom has ASD. You can read more about their family in the memoirs Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong. Jennifer is the author of Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes, also published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Andy and His Yellow Frisby

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.

NonFiction Titles

I Know Someone With Autism

This book introduces readers to what autism is, how it affects people, and what they can do to be a good friend to someone living with autism.

Why Johnny Doesn't Flap

Johnny is different. He is never exactly on time, he can't seem to stick to a routine and he often speaks in cryptic idioms. Johnny is neurotypical, but that's OK.

A picture book with a difference, Why Johnny Doesn't Flap turns the tables on common depictions of neurological difference by drolly revealing how people who are not on the autistic spectrum are perceived by those who are. The autistic narrator's bafflement at his neurotypical friend's quirks shows that 'normal' is simply a matter of perspective.

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Different Like Me introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy.

Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid

In How to Talk to an Autistic Kid, a 14-year-old boy describes what it's like being autistic. With frankness and optimism, author Daniel Stefanski provides personal stories, clear explanations, and supportive advice about how to get along with kids with autism.

My Friend has Autism

Characters with disabilities are seen through the eyes of their friends, who relate how they behave and how they may seem impolite or distracted, or cause trouble in school. Robby has ADHD, but he's enjoyable to be around because he loves basketball and likes to try new things. Zack has autism, but his love of airplanes makes him a knowledgeable and fun friend. The message is that patience and understanding are the keys to being a good friend, especially to someone with chronic health problems or difficulties relating to others. Back matter offers a more detailed explanation of the disabilities and "Did You Know?" fact boxes appear on every page. Full-page, colorful illustrations depict multicultural children at home, school, and play. Engaging and empathetic, this set deserves a place on library shelves.

Tacos Anyone? : An Autism Story

Michael is a four year old boy with autism. His older brother, Thomas, doesn't understand why Michael behaves the way he does. The therapist teaches Thomas how to play with Michael, making sibling time fun again.

Keisha's Doors

An older sister can't understand why her little sister, Keisha, won't play with her. The family finds out that Keisha has autism and takes her to see a therapist to find out what autism means to them.

Looking for more?

You can find out more at Autism Speaks or check out the online catalog to see what other schools have to offer.

Remember that the library can do InterLibrary Loans for your resource needs.