Autism in Literature

Autism in Literature is my personal list of characters in literature with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or some other form of neurodivergence.

I also have a List of Autistic Characters in other media (film, television, and video games).

Jump down to the lists.


An Introduction

The format of this list is a little different than my Autistic Characters list. Most of these books will be children’s or young adult books, since that is my primary area of focus as a school librarian. I have divided up the list into the following sections:

  • A List of Actually Autistic Authors
  • Books with Autistic Main Characters
  • Picture Books About Autism (a work-in-progress!)
  • Nonfiction Books About Autism (a work-in-progress!)
  • Books with Characters with “Autism Voice”
  • Books with Autistic Supporting Characters
  • Books with Non-Canonically Autistic Characters
  • Additional Resources (including autism books lists created by others)

The lists below are a work-in-progress, and are not exhaustive. I am giving precedence to those books that have been well-received by readers on the autism spectrum. Those looking for a more complete list of books can consult my GoodReads “autism” shelf. You can also browse GoodReads’ genre shelf for “Autism,” and find book lists that others have made and tagged with “autism”.

Right now, the list is primarily comprised of titles. Over time, I will be adding character names, summaries of the book, cover images, links to reviews (particularly from the Disability in KidLit website), author websites, and other resources. I will also update the design of the lists. I want to separate out children’s books from YA books, and make it easier for readers to search for the perfect book.


A Note on “Autism Voice”

Author Corrine Duyvis, writing for Disability in KidLit, defined “Autism Voice” and the problems that arise from it in her excellent piece, “Narrative Devices and the Autism Voice.” Citing the many narrative devices that are commonly used to denote autism in literature, Duyvis writes:

The voice quirks often aren’t particularly related to the character’s situation or personality, but instead very much about the character’s autism. It sets the character apart in an attempt to convey “the autistic mind.”

The entire article is fantastic, so I had difficulty pulling a single quote to include here. I encourage anyone interested in autism in literature to give it a read. If the length dissuades you, I would at least recommended reading the ten paragraphs after the quoted passages, beginning with “I’m certain there are more books…” and ending with “This says telling things about how people view autism; we’re often thought to either lack emotions entirely or only have a narrow range.”

Books on the Characters with “Autism Voice” list are still worth reading, but are marked as such so that readers will keep this concept in mind. After reading a few of the books on the “Autism Voice” list, readers will begin to notice a pattern. Comparing these books to the books on the other sublists would be a very informative exercise!


Want to Contribute?

Have a book or character you want to suggest for one of the lists? Send me a message via the “Contact” link, and I will add them to my lists!


The Lists

A List of Actually Autistic Authors:
  • Tom Angleberger
  • Steve Asbell
  • Chris Bonnello
  • Kate Branden
  • Siena Castellon
  • Naoise Dolan
  • Corinne Duyvis
  • Helen Hoang
  • Ada Hoffman
  • Laura James
  • Melissa A. Joy
  • Mike Jung
  • Sarah Kapit
  • Kay Kerr
  • Elle McNicoll
  • Lyn Miller-Lachman
  • Signe Land
  • Rachael Lucas
  • Jen Malia
  • Marieke Nijkamp
  • Sally J. Pla
  • K. A. Reynolds
  • Kathryn Rossati
  • Libby Scott
  • Rivers Solomon
  • Kaia Sønderby
  • Susan Vaught
  • Jen Wilde
  • Bradley W. Wright
Books with Autistic Main Characters:
  • “A Boy Called Bat” by Elana K. Arnold
  • “Anything but Typical” by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • “A Whole New Ballgame” by Phil Bildner
  • “Underdogs” by Chris Bonnello
  • “On the Edge of Gone” by Corinne Duyvis
  • “The Half-Life of Planets” by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
  • “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang
  • “The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang
  • “The Heart Principle” by Helen Hoang
  • “Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!” by Sarah Kapit
  • “The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family” by Sarah Kapit [Spring 2021]
  • “Please Don’t Hug Me” by Kay Kerr
  • “Harmonic Feedback” by Tara Kelly
  • “Rogue” by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
  • “The State of Grace” by Rachael Lucas
  • “A Kind of Spark” by Elle McNicoll [June 2020]
  • “Planet Earth is Blue” by Nicole Panteleakos
  • “The Someday Birds” by Sally J. Pla
  • “Stanley Will Probably Be Fine” by Sally J. Pla, Illustrated by Steve Wolfhard
  • “Izzy at the End of the World” by K. A. Reynolds [Spring 2022]
  • “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon
  • “Failure to Communicate” by Kaia Sønderby
  • “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork
  • “Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree” by Lauren Tarshis
  • “The Real Boy” by Anne Ursu
  • “Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse” by Susan Vaught
  • “Can You See Me?” by Rebecca Westcott and Libby Scott
  • “Queens of Geek” by Jen Wilde
  • “The Place Inside the Storm” by Bradley W. Wright
Picture Books About Autism by Autistic Authors:
  • “Flap Your Hands” by Steve Asbell, Illustrated by Steve Asbell (picture book) [Spring 2021]
  • “The Obsessive Joy of Autism” by Julia Bascom
  • “Too Sticky!: Sensory Issues With Autism” by Jen Malia, Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (picture book)
  • “Benji, the Bad Day, and Me” by Sally J. Pla, Illustrated by Ken Min (picture book)
Nonfiction Books About Autism by Autistic Authors:
  • “The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic” by Siena Castellon
  • “Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life” by Cynthia Kim
  • “Autism, Bullying and Me: The Really Useful Stuff You Need to Know About Coping Brilliantly with Bullying” by Emily Lovegrove
  • “A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders” by Haley Moss
  • “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About” by Haley Moss
  • “The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens” by Yenn Purkis & Tanya Masterman
Books with Characters with “Autism Voice”:
  • “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine
  • “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon
  • “Rain Reign” by Ann M. Martin
  • “Colin Fischer” by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
Books with Autistic Supporting Characters:
  • “You Look Different in Real Life” by Jennifer Castle
  • “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko
  • “A Wizard Alone” by Diane Duane
  • “Evidence of Things Not Seen” by Lindsey Lane
  • “The End Games” by T. Michael Martin
  • “Isla and the Happily Ever After” by Stephanie Perkins
  • “Silence” by Michelle Sagara
  • “The Way to Bea” by Kat Yeh
Books with Non-Canonically Autistic Characters:
  • Luna Lovegood, from the Harry Potter film series and book series
  • Lisbeth Salander, from the Millenium film series and book series
  • Reed Richards, from the comic book series “The Fantastic Four”
  • Boo Radley, from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
  • Robinson Crusoe, from the book of the same name

Additional Resources
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