With its April 2021 campaign called ‘#Celebrate Differences’, Autism Acceptance Month focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life. According to The Autism Society of America, autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability. It typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Thus, in another attempt at diversifying your bookshelf, here is a list of books spotlighting authors and characters with autism.
1. When My Heart Joins the Thousand (A.J. Steiger)
Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. Alvie has spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Running from a painful past, she crosses paths with sweet Stanley. Born with a musculoskeletal disorder, Stanley reminds her that she may have a chance at happiness, after all. Perfect for fans of Fault in our Stars, this love story beautifully dismantles the ugly perceptions of autism.
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. But one day, when he sets out to solve the murder of his neighbour’s dog Wellington, what follows is a fascinating portrayal of a person who sees the world very differently.
3. The Kiss Quotient (Helen Hoang)
Goodreads Romance Book of the Year (2018), The Kiss Quotient is a heartwarming and sensual read. For Stella Lane, math is the only thing that unites the universe. It doesn’t help that she has Asperger’s and needs a lot of practice in terms of dating. So to deal with the latter, she hires escort Michael Phan who makes her crave all the parts of dating she never knew existed.
4. An Unkindness of Ghosts (Rivers Solomon)
Aster was born a slave on the HSS Matilda, a spacecraft that has ferried the last of humanity from a dying planet to a place called the Promised Land. However, Matilda is heavily segregated, built upon the horrible racial divides of America before the Civil War. Fed up with injustice, the autistic, gender nonconforming protagonist Aster finds a way to rise against her oppressors.
5. Mockingbird (Kathryn Erskine)
An eleven-year-old girl suffering from Asperger’s, Caitlin loses her brother Devon, who was the only person who’d help her make sense of the world. Now in her search for closure, she discovers that the world consists of so many colours and not just black and white. A middle-grade gem, Mockingbird chronicles the process of grief and how it can ultimately lead to understanding the beauty of life.