Hiii readers, I hope that you’re all doing well. Today’s post was originally supposed to be Characters That Are Truly Kind + Ways To Bless Others, Inspired By Them, but I was struggling with writers block and really had no motivation to write that post (I mean, I did write it, but I was not satisfied with the finished result), so!! Instead, you guys get a post that I am much more enthusiastic about (also, writing something that excites me is kinda self care for me). I hope that that’s okay, thank you all for understanding 💕.
Autism representation is such an important thing. I cannot stress this enough. It is so important. Being autistic can sometimes feel incredibly isolating. There are so many things about having autism that only other autistic people understand. For example, my sensory stuff. I am sensitive to things that neurotypical people are not bothered by (such as fireworks. Side note: fireworks are actually a trigger for me, the sound scares me so much. If at all possible, this 4th of July, please take other autistic people into consideration and avoid using illegal loud *boom* fireworks).
There are so many things that are specific to having ASD (although, I will point out that those with ADD and other things like that can probably relate to a lot of my autism things); stimming, struggling with eye contact, not understanding social cues, and more. Explaining these to neurotypical people can sometimes to exhausting. They don’t always understand. My dad doesn’t always understand why I don’t eat certain foods. My sisters don’t always understand why I ask questions repeatedly. My teachers at a homeschool co-op didn’t always understand why I was so clueless to social cues (although, this might have been a result of having been homeschooled for most of my life haha). My classmates didn’t always understand why I couldn’t just be normal. Not everyone always understood, and explaining is sometimes just too hard.
When (on an extremely rare occasion) I see an autistic character in the media, I have been known to get emotional. They usually aren’t represented well, which really makes me sad. But here’s the thing, just knowing that they’re autistic makes me feel a little less alone. I feel a little better seeing them. Now, I want to ask you guys a question, why do we have so little autism rep that even just a mention of autism is a big deal? I want better autism representation. I want to be an advocate for better autism rep. I want people to understand why this is so important. I hope that in ten years other autistic teens will feel understood. I hope that autistic teens in ten years from now won’t understand the misunderstood feeling that so many of us feel daily. This is why autism rep is so important (or at least it’s one of the reasons, another reason would be so that neurotypical people understand better how to help autistic people).
- = I’ve read it and can guarantee that it has good autism rep
/ = I’ve read it and while it doesn’t have good autism rep, it still has autism rep. But, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for the autism rep.
~ = I’ve read it, and while it does not have autism rep, I think that one of the characters might be autistic.
^ = I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard that it has autism rep. I cannot however guarantee that the rep is well done.
The Books (I’m only going to include books with autistic main characters. There are others with side characters that are well written that I have chosen not to include for a few reasons. Also, I will be only including commentary on the books that I have already read. If I haven’t read the book, I will only include the blurb from Amazon)
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.
KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.
DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.
When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
I have incredibly mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I felt like it was really well written and had really likable characters. None of the characters were ‘flat’, even the side popular characters were interesting. I liked how it dealt with the fact that everyone is a little messed up. The main character was an autistic boy. He was really sweet. He was also a trope. He reminded me of literally almost every other autistic boy that I’ve read about, but he was portrayed as attractive instead of hideous, which is almost never done in books about autism. Overall, while the autism rep wasn’t perfect, it was better then most books. Besides, the romance was really sweet.
Note: There is quite a bit of ableism and graphic death threats in the book. Read with caution, I know that I found these quite triggering (which was why I skipped the climax).
Rose Howard has OCD, Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter.
Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.
Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.
Ann M Martin is my favorite author. Almost all her books are wholesome and fairly trigger free (the only one to watch out for is A Corner Of The Universe — it’s not horrific, but it does have some content that might be too mature for a middle grade book). She also tends to include characters that are diverse, especially in the sense of disability. In Main Street and Family Tree, she includes characters with Down Syndrome. Rein Reign focuses on an autistic 12 year old girl who has a hyperfixation with homophones. I don’t remember a lot about the book (I read it when I was eleven, basically three years ago), but I’m pretty sure that the autism rep was well done (although, once again, it was not perfect).
This award winning book offers kids an authentic depiction of selective mutism and a story of the experience of middle school interactions and mental illness.
Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away.
But now months have passed, and Elise isn’t sure she could speak even if she wanted to―not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away―or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher’s stuffed raven come to life. Then, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she’s ever hoped for…
I just finished this book, it was so good. The main character was a girl who had selective mutism, and I’m pretty sure that it was represented well (please note that I do not have selective mutism, therefore I cannot say just how well it was represented). I am also pretty sure that the main character (Elise) is autistic. I related to a lot of stuff about her social awkwardness and just overall vibe. I do not know for sure whether or not she’s autistic though. But!! If you’re looking for a book with selective mutism rep, this is a wonderful book. The ending broke my heart, it was so good.
Things Tally is dreading about sixth grade:– Being in classes without her best friends– New (scratchy) uniforms– Hiding her autism. Tally isn’t ashamed of being autistic — even if it complicates life sometimes, it’s part of who she is. But this is her first year at Kingswood Academy, and her best friend, Layla, is the only one who knows. And while a lot of other people are uncomfortable around Tally, Layla has never been one of them . . . until now. Something is different about sixth grade, and Tally now feels like she has to act “normal.” But as Tally hides her true self, she starts to wonder what “normal” means after all and whether fitting in is really what matters most. Inspired by young coauthor Libby Scott’s own experiences with autism, this is an honest and moving middle-school story of friends, family, and finding one’s place.
This beloved celebration of individuality is now an original movie on Disney+!
A modern-day classic and New York Times bestseller from Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli.
Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’ s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.
Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.
This book is so good, I could rave about this book for hours upon hours. But!! That’s not the point of this post haha. I personally canonize Stargirl as autistic, she is such a divergent thinker (I learned that term from the book BenBee and The Teacher Griefer — that was a book with really good ADD rep). Besides, I related to Stargirl. If she turns out to be autistic, I will be so happy because ahh guyss she feels so realistic ahh.
A KIND OF SPARK tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard? A story about friendship, courage and self-belief, perfect for fans of The Goldfish Boy.
Whip-smart, hilarious, and unapologetically honest, Rachael Lucas’s The State of Grace is a heartwarming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.
“Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.”
Grace is autistic and has her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.
Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.
M. That’s what I’d like you to call me please. I’ll tell you why later.
Welcome to M’s world. It’s tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of anxiety lurks outside classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence to everyone else?
Written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder with communication and interaction difficulties, M is for Autism draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal.
Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.
Thank you so much for putting up with this long rambling post. If you’re enjoying my blog and/or this post, please don’t forget to leave a comment, click like, and follow me.
Because I’m not quite sure what to use for question prompts based on this post, I’ll just ask you guys something I saw another blogger (Lotus @PagesOfStarlight) doing in a post. How are you guys doing this week, how are you all feeling at the moment?