10 Books for Children with Autism

Whether your child has mild or severe Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), making reading a fun activity can support learning and social skills. You’ll find that sharing books together is a good way to connect with your son or daughter, and reading also helps your child’s language development and listening skills.

For kids on the spectrum, acquiring basic skills can be much more challenging. Stories provide narratives that empower, strategies that equip, and hope that builds up confidence and self-esteem. The beauty of children’s books today is that more than ever, they cover topics related to emotional regulation, social skills, feelings, life skills, and more. Look for books with great illustrations and simple story lines, filled with practical tips. A touch of humor or fun also never hurts!

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the books that are recommended for children with ASD. And remember, starting slow with a few minutes a day and working up to a whole story is reasonable for children who have trouble concentrating.

  1. Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough

This book has a great rhyming pattern and also opportunities to make funny voices. The author’s other books, including Captain Duck, Hit the Ball, Duck, and Duck’s Key: Where Can It Be, are also great but their rhyming schemes are a bit more complex.

  1. Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly

This book doesn’t have rhyming, but it does offer great die-cut pages and a funny plot. The surprise is that after the scary monster reveals himself, you can make him disappear, page by page.

  1. My Little Yellow Taxi by Stephen Johnson

This book is truly interactive as it teaches what it is like to drive a taxicab. Children get to check the tire pressure, pump the gas, and use the steering wheel. Each page includes a super-chunky cardboard cutout, and on the dashboard page, you actually get to pop out a cardboard key, put it in the ignition, turn it, and put the car into gear. Children with ASD often struggle with pretend play, but this book uses the familiar format of a storybook to encourage pretending.

  1. Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

Many kids with ASD are very skilled in number, letter, and color recognition at an early age. Additionally, many gravitate toward games and books about colors. This book serves as a solid combination of these attention-grabbing elements.

  1. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

The plot is predictable and makes sense to a child. If you give a mouse a glass of milk, he is going to want a cookie to go with it, of course. Every page follows this pattern and kids find comfort in knowing what comes next. Numeroff has several other books on this premise as well, and all are equally good and a nice change of pace. Plus, the drawings are darling.

  1. Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

This book offers a solid pattern to the story, as it follows Duck through his political career. There are also some fun lists of words in each section. The interactive story sets the stage for audience interaction. For kids who can follow a storyline, this one is very entertaining.

  1. More Spaghetti, I Say by Rita Golden Gelman

A monkey named Minnie loves eating spaghetti so much that she cannot find time to play with her friend. You can’t help but read it at a fast and lively pace. Very simple, very cute, this one is a great starter.

  1. Fluffy Bunny by Piers Harper

Tactile books offer repetition and the chance to interact. The bunny travels from family to family until he finds which one is right for him. There is no rhyming, but there is repetition in the plot as Fluffy Bunny visits the otters, mice, horses, and woodpeckers.

  1. Hand Art by the Editors of Klutz

This art project book is interactive, showing how to trace your hand and turn the drawings into different animals. The creativity and fun prompt and hold interest.

  1. Zach Gets Frustrated by William Mulcahy

Frustration is a common feeling for all kids, but for children with ASD who struggle to adapt to the world, frustration can be even more present. Zach introduces kids to his three-step method for coping: Name the frustrating thing, Tame it with calming techniques, and Reframe it by looking for possible solutions.

These titles are suitable for all children, but they have been recommended by many organizations that specialize in ASD. Reading invites imagination, introduces systems in a low-key and playful way, and helps with social interaction.

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