Books can be an excellent tool when it comes to teaching children about Autism Spectrum Disorder. For siblings of those on the Spectrum, non-fiction books written by other siblings, or fiction which feature characters like themselves and their brothers and sisters can be especially meaningful. Below, we’ve briefly outlined 15 of the best books about autism written specifically for siblings.
Autism, the Invisible Cord: A Sibling’s Diary
Barbara Cain’s Autism, the Invisible Cord: A Sibling’s Diary is an award-winning work of fiction that is sure to resonate with many. Written for the middle-grade and young teen audience, this book is narrated by Jenny. Jenny’s brother, Ezra, is both her best friend and the biggest obstacle between herself and a “normal life.” Over the course of the book, Jenny describes taking care of her brother, being his champion, and learning much about herself in the process.
Autism Through a Sister’s Eyes: A Young Girl’s View of her Brother’s Autism
Eve B. Band, Ph.D. and Emily Hecht
Autism Through a Sister’s Eyes is an informative, non-fiction book written by a clinical psychologist and a 10-year-old girl, Emily, whose brother is on the Autism Spectrum. The book explores the many feelings and questions a sibling might have about their brother or sister with autism. Autism Through a Sister’s Eyes is written in Emily’s voice, and features chapters on what are autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, learning to cope, and talking with others.
Boy Alone: A Brother’s Memoir
Karl Taro Greenfield
Boy Alone: A Brother’s Memoir is another non-fiction book that’s likely to be helpful to other siblings of those on the Autism Spectrum. This “unforgettable memoir” documents the confusion, anger, and ultimately, overwhelming love that author Karl Taro Greenfield felt growing up with his non-verbal autistic brother, Noah.
Brotherly Feelings: Me, My Emotions, and My Brother with Asperger’s Syndrome
Sam Frender and Robin Schiffmiller
Brotherly Feelings explores the many different emotions that are felt by siblings of those on the Autism Spectrum. It’s written by Sam, whose older brother Eric has Asperger’s Syndrome. Brotherly Feelings is one brother’s honest story about the times he was embarrassed by his brother’s behavior, resentful of the attention his brother received from their parents, and the guilt he felt for feeling resentful. Peppered with helpful illustrations and thought-provoking questions, Brotherly Feelings is a great book for any sibling who needs to sort out their feelings.
Everybody is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism
Any young person who has a sibling on the Autism Spectrum is bound to have questions. Fortunately, Fiona Bleach’s book, Everybody is Different, is the perfect resource. The book walks readers through the answers to common questions children have about Autism Spectrum Disorder. It follows up with suggestions about how to make family life more comfortable for all.
It’s Okay to Be Different
Though it’s not written exclusively about children on the Autism Spectrum and their siblings, Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different is a great resource for younger kids. This bestselling picture book communicates that it’s okay to be different, to need help, to talk about one’s feelings, etc. Through colorful illustrations and simple sentences, the book promotes diversity, acceptance of self and others, and self confidence, among other important things.
Leah’s Voice, by Lori DeMonica, tells the story of two sisters who struggle with typical sibling issues — plus the challenges faced by those on the Autism Spectrum and their family. Through kindness and family loyalty, one sister teaches those around them about the importance of accepting and including everyone, even those who might be a little different. Leah’s Voice has won a slew of awards, including the Dr. Temple Grandin Outstanding Literary Work of the Year Award (2014).
Living with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs: A Book for Sibs
Donald Meyer and Patricia Vadasy
Did something cause my brother or sister to have a disability? Does this mean my children will have a disability? What will happen to my sibling if our parents die? These are all common questions faced by children and young adults with brothers and sisters on the Autism Spectrum, and they’re all questions discussed in Living With a Brother of Sister with Special Needs. Though not written exclusively about autism, the book is helpful for all. In addition to answers to common questions, the book discusses the good and bad of having a sibling with a disability. It offers suggestions about how to make life a little bit easier and more enjoyable for the whole family.
My Brother Charlie
Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Actress Holly Robinson Peete has long been a national spokesperson for autism. In My Brother Charlie, Peete teams up with her daughter, Ryan, to talk about Ryan’s twin brother, Charlie. Ryan describes the experience in this beautifully illustrated picture book, “Charlie has autism.” Though his brain works in a special way, Charlie has lots of things at which he is great. My Brother Charlie is perfect for the young sibling of a child with autism, and will encourage readers of all ages to see the good in anyone on the Autism Spectrum.
My Brother is Autistic
My Brother is Autistic is a volume in the Let’s Talk About It book series. Written for children in pre-school and early grades, these books cover sensitive topics, and invite children to channel their feelings. My Brother is Autistic describes the daily life, challenges, and victories of a child with autism from the perspective of his brother. Each page is illustrated, and offers a different concern that many siblings have about their brother or sister. The back of the book also includes information for parents.
Oh Brother! Growing Up With a Special Needs Sibling
Though Natalie Hale’s Oh Brother! isn’t written about autism specifically, it remains beneficial for any middle grade-aged child with a sibling on the Spectrum. The book tells the story of an 11-year old girl who must find unique ways to handle the various challenges brought on by having an older brother with special needs. Throughout the story, the girl learns to focus on her brother’s many good qualities, and that it’s okay to take the rest in stride.
The Other Kid: A Draw It Out Guidebook for Kids Dealing with a Special Needs Sibling
Unlike the other books on our list of the best books about autism for siblings, this one is a workbook. The Other Kid: A Draw It Out Guidebook for Kids Dealing with a Special Needs Sibling allows children to read about common concerns held by siblings like them. It encourages them to think about their own life and relationship with their family members, and then draw and discuss their feelings. As an added bonus, proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to benefit the Family Services for Special Needs Children and their Siblings at ACLD in New York.
Siblings: The Autism Spectrum Through Our Eyes
Jane Johnson and Anne Van Rennselaer (Editors)
Middle grade and teenage readers are sure to appreciate Siblings: The Autism Spectrum Through Our Eyes. This book is actually a compilation of the words, feelings, and stories of several children who have siblings on the Autism Spectrum. The participating children speak candidly about the good, the bad, and the annoying. They also focuse on how they’ve successfully worked out their complicated feelings and found ways to enjoy family life.
Sometimes My Brother: Helping Kids Understand Autism Through a Sibling’s Eyes
Sometimes My Brother is a cute picture book that reveals to young readers just what it’s like to have autism. Because the book is written from the point of view of a boy whose older brother is on the Autism Spectrum, it’s ideal for introducing the topic of autism to younger children and affected siblings. Sometimes My Brother was the winner of an iParenting Media Award upon its release.
What About Me?
Brennan and Mandy Farmer
“What about me?” is a question asked by a lot of siblings of those on the Autism Spectrum. Written by seven-year old Brennan Farmer and his mother, What About Me? is a charming and honest picture book about the many questions, challenges, and joys experienced by those who have autistic brothers and sisters.