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My Autism Story: Books for Children and Teens

What is it like to grow up with autism? Some of the books here are written by young people and adults who share their lives and how neurodiversity has shaped them. The list also includes a picture book biography of Temple Grandin and her own co-authored autobiography — both describe her inspiring life story.

Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students

Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students

By: Diego Peña
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this pocket guide for individuals who support autistic students, nine-year-old Diego (who is nonverbal) concisely articulates the challenges and dilemmas he faces with his sensory system, communication, and motor system. He thoughtfully explores the implications and possibilities of these challenges as a primary school student. His experiences nudge educators, therapists, parents, and students to rethink their approaches to supporting individuals who are autistic and non-speaking. Diego’s words reveal a disarming truth. The real experts of autism are actually autistic themselves.

Autistic and Awesome: A Journal from the Inside

Autistic and Awesome: A Journal from the Inside

By: Alfonso Julián Camacho
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Alfonso Julián learned to communicate when he was seven years old and showed that people with non-speaking autism have a lot to say and contribute. In this book, Alfonso presents a collection of his personal writings about his experience. Alfonso continues to write and advocate for non-speaking individuals.

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism

By: Naoki Higashida
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Naoki Higashida shares his thoughts and experiences as a young man living each day with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida explores school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it’s raining outside. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems.

Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison

Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison

By: Ido Kedar
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This book opens a window into nonverbal autism through dozens of short, autobiographical essays each offering new insights into autism symptoms, effective and ineffective treatments, and the inner emotional life of a severely autistic boy. In his essays, author Ido Kedar, a brilliant 16-year-old with autism, challenges what he believes are misconceptions in many theories that dominate autism treatment today while he chronicles his personal growth in his struggles to overcome his limitations.

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

By: Sy Montgomery, Temple Grandin
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism. Her mother believed in her abilitie and supported her education, and Temple eventually went on to graduate school. Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Through her work she revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. This biography, complete with personal photos, takes us inside Temple's extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

By: Julia Finley Mosca
Illustrated by: Daniel Rieley
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe. Also included are fun facts, a timeline of events, and a note from Temple.

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

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

By: Naoki Higashida
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming 13-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that provides a window into how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds. It is a "... wise, beautiful, intimate and courageous explanation of autism as it is lived every day by one remarkable boy."

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