If you want to participate in raising awareness of autism this month, may I suggest one of my books? The two non-fiction books I wrote with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel are amazing guides for parents and teachers of both children and young adults on the spectrum:
There’s Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life. Temple Grandin called it “an excellent, practical book.”
For teenagers and young adults, there’s Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s. Publisher’s Weekly said, “Some of the suggestions, for example, for dealing with bullies, carrying on a meaningful conversation and developing good manners, are so good they ought to be taught to every middle and high schooler, autistic or not.”
I’m proud of how approachable these two books are, but if you’re not in the mood for reading or gifting something that’s on the more educational side, how about a lighthearted novel that happens to include a character who’s on the spectrum? I’ve written several of those, starting with my most recent YA novel, Things I Should Have Known, about a teenage girl who sets out to find romance and friendship for her sister, who’s on the autistic spectrum–and finds something along those lines for herself along the way. The School Library journal wrote, “This story about a girl who upends her own life by trying to help someone else is a winning read for young people ready for a realistic romance about life’s challenges. Suggest to fans of Clueless, also inspired by Austen’s Emma.”
In my YA novel Wrong About the Guy, the main character adores her little brother who has some unusual behaviors and hasn’t yet started to say more than a word here or there. Her parents disagree about whether some kind of diagnosis should be sought or not–and, in the meantime, our narrator is figuring out her own life. Loosely based on Austen’s Emma. (Apparently I like that book.) School Library Journal said, “While the overall tone is light, the author deftly weaves in story lines with depth.”
And if you want something from the adult world of fiction, my novel Family and Other NonReturnable Gifts features a family of grown siblings where two out of the three clearly fit somewhere on the autistic spectrum. I’m very fond of this novel–my only one set in the Boston area, where I’m from–and with a family that’s quirky, difficult, and not always lovable–but there’s still love there. Because . . . family.
So happy Autism Awareness Month and happy reading!