Check out these great new books about and by Autistic and other neurodivergent authors or characters to help celebrate Autism Acceptance month this April and the many forms of neurodiversity. From Autism to dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, ADHD, OCD, bipolar, hyperlexia, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and more, there are a wide range of conditions and experiences and no two individuals are the same.

Acceptance calls for society to meet children and adults with autism where they are and to make room for them. The word “acceptance” asks that we see autism not as a disease, but as a natural difference in neurology.

 A staff-created list with even more of our recent favourites can be found on our online catalogue.

Book cover of Never Been Better

Fiction: Never Been Better by Leanne Toshiko Simpson

A hilariously offbeat and tender comedy about one bipolar woman’s messy search for love at a seaside wedding where no one can stay afloat. Leanne Toshiko Simpson is a mixed-race Yonsei writer who lives with bipolar disorder. Named Scarborough’s Emerging Writer in 2016 and nominated for the Journey Prize in 2019, she co-founded a reflective writing program at Canada’s largest mental health hospital and teaches at the University of Toronto. Never Been Better is her debut novel.

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Book cover of Rules for Second Chances

Fiction: Rules for Second Chances by Maggie North

Set in a fictional Canadian town based on Whistler, BC, Rules for Second Chances is a debut novel that follows socially awkward Liz, who feels out of place in the outgoing resort town she lives in, and in her marriage to extrovert Tobin. Liz finally decides to stop playing a supporting character in her own life and start taking chances, starting with leaving her husband, followed by taking an improv class and receiving a late-in-life Autism diagnosis. Canadian author Maggie North lives in Ottawa and enjoys being autistic a lot more since she received her diagnosis as an adult. 

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Book cover of But Everyone Feels This Way

Memoir: But Everyone Feels this Way: How an Autism Diagnosis Changed my Life by Paige Layle

Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 15, Canadian Paige Layle is an advocate and influencer for a better understanding of autism on social media. She began making videos in response to a degrading post about autistic people, initially creating a four-part series to address common misconceptions about autism. Now in her 20s, Paige is an autism acceptance activist on YouTube and TikTok.

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Book cover of How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover

Non-fiction: How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover: What Autism can Teach us about Difference, Connection and Belonging by Jodi Rodgers

In How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover, Jodi Rodgers shares inspiring, heartwarming stories from her years of experience as a teacher and counselor supporting autistic people. While acknowledging our differences, these stories invite us to expand our empathy and compassion for the neurodivergent people in our lives.

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Book cover of Rainbow

Graphic Novel: Rainbow Volume 1 by Sunny; illustrated by Gloomy

Teenager Boo Meadows has pink hair and a very vivid imagination – she has trouble separating from the real world. In her daydreams, she dances beautifully at balls or fights monsters as a magical girl. In reality, she has a complicated home life, work stress, school stress, and a wicked crush on the girl of her dreams. Recommended for fans of the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman. Sunny Funkhouser AKA “Sunny” (they/them), is a neurodivergent, queer creator who has been writing ever since they were a teenager. Sunny is autistic with ADHD and likes to collect dolls, make reborn dolls, crochet, act, and sew.

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Book cover of Daniel, Deconstructed

YA Fiction: Daniel, Deconstructed by James Ramos

A nerdy, Autistic high schooler learns to embrace his main-character energy in this witty and heart-healing ode to movie tropes, meet-cutes, “masking” and LGBTQ+ love. James Ramos (he/they) is a non-binary, unapologetically dorky Minnesota native who now calls Arizona home. Weaned on a steady diet of science-fiction, comic books, and classic literature, James wrote his first story at eight years old and hasn’t stopped writing them since.

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Book cover of Something More

YA Fiction: Something More by Jackie Khalilieh

A contemporary teen romance novel featuring a Palestinian-Canadian girl trying to hide her autism diagnosis while navigating her first year of high school. Recommended for fans of Jenny Han and Samira Ahmed. Jackie Khalilieh is a debut Palestinian-Canadian writer with a love of 90s pop culture, Dad jokes, and warm and fuzzy romance. Like many autistic females, she received her diagnosis as an adult.

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Book cover image of Maya Plays the Part

Middle Grade Fiction: Maya Plays the Part by Calyssa Erb

A fantastic #ownvoices middle grade debut by a Canadian author featuring Maya, a theatre-loving autistic girl who struggles with controlling her emotions and being a good friend. This story revolves around Maya’s time at a summer theatre camp where she makes new friends, experiences disappointments and learns there’s more to theatre than being the star of the show. 

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Book cover image of I am a Masterpiece

Picture Book: I am a Masterpiece by Mia Armstrong with Marissa Moss; illustrated by Alexandra Thompson

Mia offers a glimpse into the life of a child with Down Syndrome. Inspired by the author’s own experiences, this picture book offers much needed representation and fosters empathy for children with Down Syndrome. Mia shows how she likes many of the same things as other people, but also has a unique perspective all her own.

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Book cover image of A Day with No Words

Picture Book: A Day With No Words by Tiffany Hammond; illustrated by Kate Cosgrove

A Day With No Words invites readers into the life of an Autism Family who communicates just as the child does, without spoken language. This colourful and engaging picture book for young readers shares what life can look like for families who use non-verbal communication, utilizing tools to embrace their unique method of “speaking”. The story highlights the bond between mother and child and follows them on a day where they use a tablet to communicate with others.

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