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Must Read Books with Autistic and Special Needs Characters

As we get closer to April 16th, we approach a national holiday that truly means more than can ever be expressed: National Library Day. Silly to some, but a day to celebrate a safe haven for others. Words, books, and therefore libraries have never closed its doors on anyone and to recognize this inclusivity is what is most bright about this day. As we continue to share all of the national holidays that April has to offer, we also keep autism awareness along with it as well as the awareness for all special needs people. Which is why we recommend you celebrate National Library Day in the most authentic way one can- by allowing words to open the perspective of those with Autism and Special needs. Though fictional, the following books are intriguing, heartbreaking, and grounding when it comes to the stories of these characters lives.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

A long title for such a chilling novel.

The curious incident of the dog in the night follows main character Christopher Boone who is 15 and has Asperger’s Syndrome. (Asperger’s is a disorder that is in a different classification than autism, but is thought to be a more mild version of autism.) Christopher is incredibly intelligent with a natural ability to do math and science well, but as many with Asperger’s do, he has difficulty understanding social cues and the nuances of life. The story begins with Christopher finding his neighbor’s dog dead-and well-at night of course. However, this one event causes a ripple of events to unfold, as they often do in life.

In the literary world, this title pinpoints the ultimate shifting moment, which is why it is so genius. However, the rest of the story continues and without warning breaks hearts with its honesty and real life scenarios. Being able to place oneself in the mindset of Christopher and see his thought patterns is not only awakening, but at times sad. It provokes the revelation that some go through their life unbothered from what they don’t know they are missing. This book is definitely a 5/5 star must read.

Out of My Mind

Though this book isn’t about a character with autism, the main character Melody does have cerebral palsy which is another disability that can at times cause others to treat her differently. Because of the difference in the way that they are treated, it is a book that would allow for the same expansion in terms of perspective. Eleven year old Melody is unable to walk, speak, or do very much of anything. Yet, she is graced with parents who will do anything to help her be as successful and loved as any other child. This support allows her to obtain crucial tools such as a wheelchair that also allows her type in order to communicate with those around her and it is then that everyone realizes just how capable she really is.

Melody begins her journey with her own voice and for once is able to get her every thought out of her mind. (See what I did there.) This book is truly inspiring.

The Someday Birds

Much like the last two novels, The Someday Birds surrounds a tween/teen character, Charlie. He is a twelve year old boy with autism and is on a grand journey to visit his father in a cross- country trip with his siblings. Because this story focuses on the realistic aspects of livelihood, as a reader you take on the complexities that the characters face as if they were your own. All that can truly be said is that it is a tear jerker. It allows readers to understand so deeply how the organized and unorganized parts of an autistic mind can be while keeping you company with various names of birds. Yes, it is true that the title is not misleading, and in fact, it becomes a coping mechanism not only for Charlie, but as a reader as well.

This book is one of those that should be read by all. It is meant for the age group that it was written into, but adults are equally able to enjoy this story. So so beautiful.