Book Corner: Neurodiversity

This month in Book Corner, we celebrate those we love with neurodiversity! While we proclaim their strength and individuality, we also acknowledge the challenges they must overcome. The books found here provide information, offer guidance, and teach empathy to people of all ages who seek a better understanding of these superheroes without capes.


1 Talking Is Not My Thing by Rose Robbins
Can you communicate without words? In the companion title to Me and My Sister, join a brother and sister, one of which is neurodivergent, as they navigate their day with different experiences and emotions narrated through thought bubbles and speech bubbles. This story is affirming for families with kids on the spectrum, but it is also an opportunity for conversations in all types of families.

2 Charlie Makes a Splash! by Holly Robinson Peete and RJ Peete
Through his adventures and discoveries with his twin sister by his side, Charlie shows the world that even though he has autism, autism doesn’t have him. The back matter explains why the Peete Family wrote the book—and how it can help.

For kids reading on their own, there’s a lot to learn from the characters in these chapter books.

3 Honestly Elliott by Gillian McDunn
Honestly, Elliott is struggling. His grades aren’t great, his best friend just moved away, his stepmom is having a new baby, and he has ADHD. Elliott loves to cook, but he and his dad don’t see eye to eye, so his dad doesn’t think cooking would make a good career, or even a good hobby. When Elliott wants to go to cooking camp, his dad says he’ll have to pay for it himself. When Elliott gets teamed up with the most popular girl in school for a project, can they figure out a way to work together, and help send Elliott to cooking camp?

4 A Perfect Mistake by Melanie Conklin
What in the world happened? Max and his friends, Will and Joey, the “three Broskateers” snuck out one night. Now Will is in a coma, Joey is barely speaking to him, and Max can’t remember any details. Max has enough going on, being newly diagnosed with ADHD, and having a growth spurt that makes him one of the tallest in his class. Max befriends Sam, who wants to be a journalist, and together they try to discover what happened. But some people may not want them to find out!

Does your child love graphic novels? Check out these visual tales of love and acceptance.

5 A Tale as Tall as Jacob by Samantha Edwards
Samantha is so excited when Jacob is born–she’s going to be the best big sister ever! It turns out that Jacob is a lot to handle. He’s diagnosed with ADHD, and he has a speech issue. This graphic novel tells the story of Samantha and Jacob’s misadventures. As Samantha tries to deal with the sometimes crazy situations that tend to occur, will she learn to accept her brother’s differences?

6 Growing Pangs by Kathryn Ormsbee
Katie and Kacey are best friends forever, until the BFFs go to summer camp, and everything changes. They begin to drift apart, and when Katie arrives home from camp, her anxiety and OCD ramp up. Katie worries about getting braces, sixth grade, and making new friends. Her repetitive habits help with her anxiety, but what will happen if anyone finds out about them? This graphic novel is loosely based on the author’s experiences.

This children’s non-fiction title gives an accurate look into someone’s life with ADHD.

7 My Life with ADHD by Mari Schuh
This is the true story of Anabelle, a child diagnosed with ADHD. She not only describes some of her symptoms and coping mechanisms, but also some things she likes and doesn’t like to do. This nonfiction book also gives general facts about ADHD and has a section at the back with a glossary of terms and tips for respecting people with ADHD.

Tweens and teens
Help your tweens and teens appreciate the differences in people with these books.

1 Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment, in addition to life with his autistic sister.

2 Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya
Sixth-grader Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling abuela, her mother’s work commitments, her father’s distance after returning from deployment, evolving friendships, and a conflict in her community.

3 Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
To everyone at Meridian High School, 14-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special–he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens–and through them, the world.

These books provide a wealth of information for adults who are helping navigate these exceptional children through life.

1 Parenting Bright Kids with Autism: Helping Twice-Exceptional Children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism by Claire Hughes-Lynch
Parenting Bright Kids With Autism discusses the frustrations, the diagnoses, the challenges, and the joys as parents help their gifted children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) thrive in school and at home. Topics range from understanding the first signs of autism and the diagnosis, finding a support network, and filling out necessary paperwork, to determining the various types of therapies available and planning for adulthood. With the advice and encouragement provided in this book, parents will receive valuable insight into this new world of caring for a gifted child with autism.

2 Helping Your Child with Sensory Regulation: Skills to Manage the Emotional and Behavioral Components of Your Child’s Sensory Processing Challenges by Suzanne Mouton-Odum, PhD., et al.
This book addresses the often-overlooked connection between sensory sensitivity and the emotional and behavioral issues that can lead to a diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and other disorders. Parents will not only gain a better understanding of their child’s emotions and behaviors, but will also learn powerful sensory regulation skills to help their child-and family as a whole-find some much-needed balance.

This article was originally published in April 2024.

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