11-Middle-Grade-Novels-with-Autistic-Characters

Check out some of these great novels for middle grade kids that feature characters with autism or Asperger syndrome:

  1. Rain Reign

    Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

    Rose Howard has 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.

  2. Rules

    Rules by Cynthia Lord

    A heartfelt and witty debut about feeling different and finding acceptance–beyond the rules.

    Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules-from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

  3. anything but typicalAnything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

    Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird — her name is Rebecca — could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles—and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.

  4. mockingbirdMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

    In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.Kathryn Erskine has written a must-read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year.

  5. The Someday BirdsThe Someday Birds by Sara J. Pla

    Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.

    And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.

    But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth.

    So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay…

    Equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an unusual boy, and portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

  6. Al Capone Does My ShirtsAl Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

    Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There’s my sister, Natalie, except she doesn’t count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook’s or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.

  7. RogueRogue, by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

    Kiara has Asperger’s syndrome, and it’s hard for her to make friends. So whenever her world doesn’t make sense—which is often—she relies on Mr. Internet for answers. But there are some questions he can’t answer, like why she always gets into trouble, and how do kids with Asperger’s syndrome make friends? Kiara has a difficult time with other kids. They taunt her and she fights back. Now she’s been kicked out of school. She wishes she could be like her hero Rogue—a misunderstood X-Men mutant who used to hurt anyone she touched until she learned how to control her special power.

    When Chad moves in across the street, Kiara hopes that, for once, she’ll be able to make friendship stick. When she learns his secret, she’s so determined to keep Chad as a friend that she agrees not to tell. But being a true friend is more complicated than Mr. Internet could ever explain, and it might be just the thing that leads Kiara to find her own special power.

    In Rogue, author Lyn Miller-Lachmann celebrates everyone’s ability to discover and use whatever it is that makes them different.

  8. counting by 7sCounting by 7’s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.

    Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

  9. The London Eye MysteryThe London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

    Monday, 24 May, 11.32 a.m. Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye. He turns and waves and the pod rises from the ground.

    Monday, 24 May, 12.02 p.m. The pod lands and the doors open. People exit in all shapes and sizes – but where is Salim?

    Ted and his older sister Kat become sleuthing partners since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain runs on its own unique operating system, to find the key to the mystery.

    In Spring 2009. the Unicorn Theatre adapted The London Eye Mystery for the stage. The story was adapted by Unicorn Artistic Associate Carl Miller, directed by Rosamunde Hutt and performed by the Unicorn ensemble and received a host of rave reviews.

  10. A Boy Called BatA Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

    For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

    But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

  11. SuperstarSuperstar by Mandy Davis

    Perfect for fans of Fish in a Tree and Wonder, this uplifting debut novel from Mandy David follows space-obsessed Lester Musselbaum as he experiences the challenges of his first days of public school: making friends, facing bullies, finding his “thing,” and accidentally learning of his autism-spectrum diagnosis.

    Lester’s first days as a fifth grader at Quarry Elementary School are not even a little bit like he thought they would be—the cafeteria is too loud for Lester’s ears, there are too many kids, and then there’s the bully.

    Lester was always home-schooled, and now he’s shocked to be stuck in a school where everything just seems wrong. That’s until he hears about the science fair, which goes really well for Lester! This is it. The moment where I find out for 100 percent sure that I won.

    But then things go a bit sideways, and Lester has to find his way back. A touching peek into the life of a sensitive autism-spectrum boy facing the everydayness of elementary school, Superstar testifies that what you can do isn’t nearly as important as who you are.

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