World Autism Awareness Day, held annually on April 2, invites us all to focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support.
In honor of World Autism Awareness, we have listed a couple of general books about autism, as well as titles about living with autism by those who understand it best: authors who have autism.
For more information on World Autism Awareness Day: https://www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-awareness-day
IN A DIFFERENT KEY: THE STORY OF AUTISM by John Donvan (DB 83336, BR 21773)
Beginning with the story of Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, who became the first child diagnosed with autism nearly seventy-five years ago, the authors discuss this often-misunderstood condition, the civil rights battles waged by the families, and the controversies surrounding what is sometimes called the autism “epidemic.” Commercial audiobook. 2015.
NEUROTRIBES: THE LEGACY OF AUTISM AND THE FUTURE OF NEURODIVERSITY by Steve Silberman (DB 82931)
A science journalist explores the past, present, and future of autism diagnosis and treatment. Once seen simply as a mental handicap, autism is now considered a spectrum disorder with a wide range in severity and symptoms, and possibly a natural and valuable variation in human cognition. Bestseller. 2015.
Author: Blaze Ginsberg
EPISODES: MY LIFE AS I SEE IT (DB 69969)
Blaze, a high-functioning autistic teenager who was the subject of his mother’s book RAISING BLAZE (DB 55558), describes his life as a series of episodes. Relates experiences like Thanksgiving family dinners and his crush on Hillary Duff. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2009.
Author: Temple Grandin
THINKING IN PICTURES: AND OTHER REPORTS FROM MY LIFE WITH AUTISM (DB 43272)
A professor of animal behavior attributes her career success to autism. Her heightened ability to visualize allows her to convert concepts to nonverbal images in a mental “video library.” Among other things, this ability has enabled her to design humane handling equipment for livestock. 1995.
ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION: USING THE MYSTERIES OF AUTISM TO DECODE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (DB 59860)
Grandin, author of THINKING IN PICTURES (DB 43272), theorizes that autistic individuals experience the world as animals do–through direct sensory perception rather than abstract thinking. Grandin, herself autistic, and Johnson combine insights about autistic people with animal facts and anecdotes to reinterpret the capabilities and strengths of both groups. Bestseller. 2005.
ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN: CREATING THE BEST LIFE FOR ANIMALS (DB 70209)
Coauthors of ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION (DB 59860) examine emotional needs of animals, from dogs and cats to livestock and zoo creatures. Provides guidelines for ensuring mental well-being by stimulating positive emotions through play and avoiding negative ones–such as fear. Discusses the impact of environment and warning signs of distress. Bestseller. 2009.
AUTISTIC BRAIN: THINKING ACROSS THE SPECTRUM (DB 77046)
Animal scientist Grandin, who is autistic, draws on her own experiences, interviews with others, and neuroscientific research to explore the causes, diagnostic methods, and treatment for the disorder. Warns against labeling people. 2013.
CALLING ALL MINDS: HOW TO THINK AND CREATE LIKE AN INVENTOR (DB 91083)
Explores the science behind inventions, the steps various people took to create and improve upon ideas as they evolved, and the ways in which young inventors can continue to think about and understand what it means to tinker, to fiddle, and to innovate. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2018.
Author: Naoki Higashida
REASON I JUMP: THE INNER VOICE OF A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY WITH AUTISM (DB 77650)
Autistic thirteen-year-old communicates with a special alphabet grid to explain his behaviors, like why he doesn’t make eye contact or stay still. Originally published in Japan in 2007. Translated by British novelist David Mitchell and his wife, who are parents of an autistic child. Includes short stories. Bestseller. 2013.
Author: Dara McAnulty
DIARY OF A YOUNG NATURALIST (DB 105404)
McAnulty, an autistic teen from Northern Ireland, shares his experiences over the course of a year in becoming a conservationist and environmental activist while also dealing with being uprooted from the home he has known, school, and managing his mental health. Discusses his sensory experiences while exploring the environment around him. 2020.
Author: John Malatesta
HI, MY NAME IS JOHN: MY STORY OF SURVIVAL WITH AUTISM AND LEARNING DISABILITIES (DBC 19749)
John Mario Malatesta was born in Santa Barbara, California on July 14, 1969. John has lived in Santa Barbara for most of his life. In this book John tells his story of trials and triumphs throughout his life living with autism and a learning disability. Unrated. 2012.
Author: Daniel Tammet
BORN ON A BLUE DAY: INSIDE THE EXTRAORDINARY MIND OF AN AUTISTIC SAVANT; A MEMOIR (DB 6386)
Autobiography of Daniel Tammet, a 26-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger syndrome and synesthesia, who can perform rapid memorization and mathematical calculations and learn an unfamiliar language in days. Describes his impoverished childhood with eight siblings, mainstream education, and adult life as a gay Christian. Bestseller. 2006.
en español DB 65997
EMBRACING THE WIDE SKY: A TOUR ACROSS THE HORIZONS OF THE MIND (DBC 04268)
The author of the acclaimed memoir Born on a Blue Day digs deeper into the mind of the autistic savant—people like himself with astounding intellectual abilities and pronounced social limitations. He explores just how little it differs from the mind of the non-savant. Drawing upon neuroscience, linguistic, and personal experience, he illuminates the immense potential within all of us. 2009.
THINKING IN NUMBERS: ON LIFE, LOVE, MEANING, AND MATH (DB 77461)
Author of BORN ON A BLUE DAY (DB 63862) explores “the math of life” in twenty-five essays. Topics covered include the calendar created by Omar Khayyam in 1074 CE and the concept of zero in Shakespeare’s work. Also discusses why years feel shorter as we age. 2012.
EVERY WORD IS A BIRD WE TEACH TO SING: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MYSTERIES AND MEANINGS OF LANGUAGE (DB 89083)
Essayist, novelist, and autistic savant, the author of BORN ON A BLUE DAY (DB 63862) examines the intricacy and power of language in a variety of countries and cultures. Discusses chatbots, numerical language, names that have become court cases, telephone grammar, constructed languages, and more. Commercial audiobook. 2017.
Author: Donna Williams
NOBODY NOWHERE: THE EXTRAORDINARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN AUTISTIC (DB 36144)
Australian college graduate Williams didn’t realize she was autistic until her early twenties. To understand herself, Williams recorded her memories of a childhood of confusion and “abnormal” behavior, coupled with an abusive mother. This abuse caused her to create “normal” counterparts to present to the world. Bestseller. Some strong language and some violence. 1992.
SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE: BREAKING FREE FROM THE WORLD OF AUTISM (DB 38137)
In the sequel to NOBODY NOWHERE (DB 36144), Australian Williams continues the story of her battle with what she terms an information- processing problem. After giving up her alternate personalities, Williams once more confronts the Big Black Nothingness that they had shielded her from. While trying to remember to breathe and eat, she also must deal with publishing her first book. Strong language. 1994.
LIKE COLOR TO THE BLIND (DB 45872)
This sequel to SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE (DB 38137) continues the life story of an autistic woman as she becomes involved with and marries a man who is similarly challenged. She recounts their struggles to overcome their own emotional barriers, to strengthen their mutual affection, and to establish a life together. Strong language. 1996.