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I LOVE to read and I thought I’d suggest the best books by autistic authors I have read. It’s one of my favourite pastimes (or special interests depending on how you look at it). Currently, I am trying to read at least 52 books by the end of the year. End of February I’m about 1/4 of the way through my 11th!
Anyway, since its World Book Day, I thought I would create an appropriate post and list 6 of the BEST books by autistic authors you HAVE to read. I have included 3 books I have read and 3 books that have outstanding reviews (which are on my list). So if your favourite is not on this list, please don’t @ me, or do and tell me what I should read next!
So let’s get started with the 6 best books by autistic authors you have to read!
ODD GIRL OUT –
LAURA JAMES (2017)
Odd Girl Out is a memoir by author and journalist Laura James. It follows her diagnosis of Autism at age 45 and spans a year in her life. This book comes in waves of happiness, sadness, laughter and tears as Laura learns that ‘different’ doesn’t mean ‘less.’ It’s a great lesson that it’s never too late to find peace within yourself.
So I found this book during a conference I’d attended about Autism where Laura James spoke. I had never heard of her or her book before, apparently, it had been out for a year before and EVERYONE was talking about it or had read it. Anyway, I listened to Laura talk about her life and her book… her life and experiences just gripped me from the moment she opened her mouth. I bought the book direct from her at a stall after the event and started reading it on the way home, the next day I had finished it! I don’t think I’ve ever found a biography as gripping or relatable as Odd Girl Out. So much so that I’ve read it another 4 times since then!
IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS –
MICHAEL BARTON (2011)
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs is an illustrated book by Michael Barton. It focuses on the confusing world of the English language and aims at making metaphors easier to understand for Autistic people.
I found this book at the first Autism Show I worked, which was in London. Michael was there to give a speech and had a stall where he was promoting this book on. Instantly I fell in love with the concept of the book and I found the illustration and comparisons between what the everyday expressions literally mean and actually mean quite amusing.
Some people might argue that this book is created for younger children, while it is a great resource for them, I have come back to it time and time again to help me with certain sayings!
It has a great place in my bookshelf!
BITTERSWEET ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM –
EDITED LUKE BEARDON PHD AND DEAN WORTON (2017)
Bittersweet On The Autism Spectrum is an anthology of Autistic experiences by 28 authors. What makes this book different is that every single experience written about in the book has a positive spin on it.
I found this book along with It’s Raining Cats and Dogs on Michael Barton’s stall. After a brief chat about it, I decided to buy it for a family member who suffers from depression and anxiety. They also have Autism so I thought it might a good book to help them see the positive side of it.
I picked it up on the plane back to visit home because I thought I’d give it a go. I enjoyed it so much! My favourite part about it was how they focused on Autism experiences in different scenarios such as doing a PhD, being a parent, run-in a marathon and teaching. I felt it gave a good well-rounded view on the Autistic experience.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE PUBLIC
THINKING IN PICTURES: MY LIFE WITH AUTISM –
TEMPLE GRANDIN (1995)
Thinking In Pictures is an autobiographical book by Autism Activity Temple Grandin. It follows her life and looks at how her Autism helped her working on cattle farms. She describes how saw images of prototypes of machines and were able to edit them in her mind before they were built.
While it is quite a cliche in this point in time to add Temple Grandin to any list. Due to her standing within the Autism community. However, I do feel that we need to give credit and respect to the people who came before us and paved the way for the rights the community has today.
This book is currently on my bookshelf waiting to be read and has rave reviews across the board. Temple is a legend and pretty much a rockstar in the Autism community and I feel she deserves a spot on this list.
The Reason I Jump is a book by Japanese author Naoki Higashida at age 13. Being non-verbal he painstakingly used an Alphabet Grid to construct his story, letter by letter, word by word.
I have heard this book described as the way people have wanted to tell people about aspects to do with their Autism but didn’t know how. (Incidentally, that’s how I felt about Laura James’ book).
While it reads as a Q&A on Autism and what it means. I decided to put it on this list because I feel it’s important Autistics of all ages, cultures are represented here. If having it on this list means it helps a younger person with Autism understand themselves better. then it’s done its job!
I know it’s on my to read list!
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND ASPERGER SYNDROME,
A USER GUIDE TO ADOLESCENCE –
LUKE JACKSON (2002)
Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger Syndrome is an autobiographical book by author Luke Jackson. It tracks his and his siblings’ experiences as young autistic through puberty and to adulthood.
A funny and anecdotal book all about growing up different. Luke allows the readers into his shoes and really explain what it feels like to have Aspergers.
While arguably some of the contents have not aged well. Some of the theories on certain things have changed. However, I feel it’s important to add onto the list for a younger experience of Autism.
So there are my 6 of the best books by autistic authors you have to read! What are your favourites?