Memorial Hall Library

Mind Reading: New Science & Fiction About Autism

How do biology and the environment impact brain development and behavior?  Scientific, political, and narrative writing about how people around us are hardwired is endlessly fascinating and helpful in the move towards inclusion and acceptance. The demand for new stories and information about autism spectrum disorders and the neurodiversity movement are at an all time high. The scope of what you can find in contemporary writing about neurodevelopmental profiles beautifully illustrates the favorite catch phrase of the autism community which is, sadly, way too big for a bumper sticker: If you have met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. New narrative-style non-fiction, memoirs, fiction, self-help, medical and legal books take readers far beyond the Rain Main stereotype of an quirky prodigy. Children's, teen and adult fiction featuring autistic anti-heroes and protagonists have proven to be refreshing, funny and sometimes heartbreaking glimpses into the exceptional talent, unrelenting integrity and often awkward interpersonal lives of individuals with varying degress of social communication impairments. In the past few years, journalists and medical historians have written long-form narratives about the history of autism and the growing strength of the neurodiversity movement. Here is a selection of new and recommended books about autism or featuring autistic characters. We invite you to contact us for help finding more material and with suggestions of your own

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig Ginny Moon is mostly your average teenager--she plays flute in the high school band, has weekly basketball practice, and reads poems in English class. But Ginny is autistic. And so what's important to her might seem a bit different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, her baby doll, and crafting a secret plan of escape. After being traumatically taken from her abusive birth mother and moved around to different homes, Ginny has finally found her "forever home"--a safe place with parents who will love and nurture her. This is exactly what all foster kids are hoping for, right? But Ginny has other plans.
In A Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donovan

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family's odyssey, this book tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. 

The prodigy's cousin : the family link between autism and extraordinary talent Investigates more than thirty child prodigies, all of whom have extraordinary memories and a keen eye for detail, and uncovers a genetic link between prodigy and autism.
On The Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2034, a comet is due to hit the Earth within the hour. Denise, who's sixteen years old and autistic, must try to find her missing sister and also help her neglectful, undependable mother safely aboard a spaceship.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Three friends attend a fan convention during which Charlie meets the actress she has a crush on and Taylor comes to realize her feelings for her best friend Jamie. Some of the most compelling chapters are told from the point of view of Taylor, who fears change, hates crowds, and is on the autism spectrum.

Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

Boy Called Bat by Elana Arnold


When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has austim, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently.
Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

Someday Birds by Sally J Pla Charlie, twelve, who has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder, must endure a cross-country trip with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit their father.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.
Things I should have known by Claire Scovell LaZebnek A popular Los Angeles teen tries to find love for her older, autistic sister.
Neurotribes : the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity by Steve Silberman Considers the idea that neurological differences such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are not errors of nature or products of the toxic modern world, but the result of natural variations in the human genome. Going back to the earliest days of autism research, Silberman offers a gripping narrative of Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, the research pioneers who defined the scope of autism in profoundly different ways; he then goes on to explore the game-changing concept of neurodiversity. 
The reason I jump : the inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism by Naoki Higashida A journey into the mind of a remarkable thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with severe autism shares firsthand insights into a variety of experiences associated with the disorder, from behavioral traits and misconceptions to perceptions about the world.