In light of the fact that April is Autism Awareness Month, I thought I'd feature some great reads that focus on the autism spectrum and feature autistic characters so you guys can run out and put them on reserve for next month : )
by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone, 15, lives in England and has autism. He likes his world to be neat, orderly, routine, and predictable. Then his neighbor’s dog is found dead, which upsets the balance. As Christopher works to solve the mystery, he discovers a secret that his father has been keeping. As Christopher faces the deception, readers see how Christopher processes information and the feelings that the betrayal bring to the surface. He is truly courageous in this singular mystery/coming-of-age tale.
Al Capone Does My Shirts
by Gennifer Choldenko
"Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water." So narrates 12-year-old Moose in this School Library Journal Best Book of 2004 set in 1935 on Alcatraz Island when gangster Al Capone is an inmate working in the prison laundry. Readers learn how Moose and his family ended up on Alcatraz—his father took a job as a prison guard so that Natalie, Moose’s sister, could attend the Ester P. Marinoff School for students with autism. The story addresses how having a sister with autism affects a sibling’s life more than autistic Natalie herself; Choldenko portrays both aspects of the story well. A humorous treat for siblings of people with autism and an entertaining read for all.
by Cynthia Lord
If the bathroom door is closed, knock! Say "thank you" when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it). No toys in the fish tank! These are just a few of the rules that 12- year-old Catherine has written for her autistic brother David to help him navigate the world and look "normal." Yet having a brother with autism takes a lot of "normal" out of life. Catherine loves David but is embarrassed by him and resents the amount of time and energy he requires of her parents. Befriending a boy with a different disability helps Catherine work through her feelings. An honest look at life in a family touched by autism from a rarely-heard-from perspective; an excellent read for siblings affected by autism.
by Marti Leimbach
The challenges of parenting are many; so are the joys. When a child is diagnosed with autism, both the challenges and the joys are doubled. Melanie fears there is something dreadfully wrong with her son, Daniel. He doesn’t talk, he doesn’t play with toys, and he screams for hours. Melanie tries to talk to her husband, Stephen, about her fears, but Stephen is sure that Daniel will be fine. This is the story of Melanie’s fight to diagnose Daniel and to help him, with or without Stephen. An intimate, wrenching look at how autism can bring out the best and the worst in people and how they survive and triumph.
~ For more themed book lists, check out Listless by One Librarian's Book Reviews and Listed by Once Upon a Bookshelf ~