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Have you been looking for children’s books about autism with Black characters to support your child with autism?
Then, you’ve stumbled upon the right article.
More and more children are being diagnosed with autism due to a better understanding of the disorder and increased testing and diagnosis.
Children’s books are one of the main tools to teach children about life concepts that are appropriate for their learning and developmental levels.
They also reinforce children’s identity and reflect the world and people they know.
This is why a diversity of all life experiences is important and should be represented in children’s books.
In this article, we have provided a list of children’s books about autism with Black characters. If you’ve been searching for books to support your child through their diagnosis or simply want your child to see a reflection of themselves in children’s books, continue reading this article.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder caused by differences in brain function in diverse groups of people. The disorder is considered developmental because the onset of it begins in childhood.
ASD is characterised by difficulty in social interaction and communication, and repetitive behaviours. Autism is a spectrum disorder which means that not everyone with the diagnosis will have the same issues and the degree of difficulty in their everyday lives.
Autism can be detected as early as 18 months. Parents need to pay attention to their children during those critical developmental stages because early intervention can make a difference to your child’s quality of life and outcomes in later adulthood.
What is the Prevalence of Autism?
According to WHO, 1 in 100 children has autism. In the United States, 1 in 36 children has autism. Recent data from 2020 in the US show that for the first time, Black children 8 years old had a higher percentage of ASD than White children.
While there are no definite answers for the increase in ASD diagnoses in the Black community, we could speculate that improvements in awareness, identification and early diagnoses are possible reasons for the increase in the prevalence rate of ASD in Black children.
The CDC noted there had been improvements in ASD identification over time. In 2020, children who were born in 2016 were 1.6 times more likely to receive a diagnosis than those born in 2012.
Representation of Black Characters in Children’s Books about Autism
Even though we know that autism affects all races and ethnicities, the representation of Black characters in children’s books about autism is very low.
We already know that there is a lack of representation in the children’s books market when it comes to Black kids and families.
The lack of diversity in children’s books about autism is even more severe. In a blog post, American Library Service for Children (ALSC) noted that from 100 books surveyed, only 10 children’s books about autism had characters that were not white.
As the identification of autism in the Black community increases we must provide a steady stream of resources to support families and children as they embark on their journey of living with autism.
Children’s books are great teaching tools that help children to learn about the world and themselves and gain knowledge and skills.
Children’s books about autism can be your first step into teaching your kids about autism and showing them that they are not alone and that there is a community like them and for them.
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Here are our picks for children’s books about autism with Black characters:
Recommended for children 4 – 8 years old.
My Brother Charlie is about a twin brother and sister. The brother, Charlie, has autism. As seen from the perspective of his twin sister, we learn about the similarities and differences between the twins and Charlie’s autism.
Recommended for children 4 -8 years old.
Charlie Makes a Splash is the follow-up to My Brother Charlie. In this book were find Charlie and his twin sister, Callie, again. However, we hear from Charlie about all the things he loves to do and that “even though he has autism, autism doesn’t have him.”
3. When The World Gets Too Loud
Recommended for All.
When the World Gets Too Loud is a book that teaches children about autism and how to be kind and inclusive to those who are different from them. It is also recommended as a teacher and parent guide.
Recommended for children 4 – 8 years old.
A Day With No Words is about a boy who has autism. His mind is very active as he wonders about the difference between him and other people who can use their words. Although he doesn’t speak, he can communicate with his family.
Recommended for children 8 – 12 years old.
Just Like You tells the story of Zachariah, a non-verbal kid who is excited to start pre-k school. This book is great for teaching kids about autism awareness and acceptance, making friends and accepting each other despite our differences.
Rece Takes Swimming is about Maurice (Rece) a boy who has autism with sensory processing differences. Rece is learning how to swim but he’s very afraid, does he overcome his fears and learn how to swim?
Brailynn, the Ballerina is about acceptance, compassion and friendship. Brailynn is a ballerina with autism. As she struggles to learn the moves for the final show, her friend Jada provides the support and compassion she needs to succeed.
8. My Awesome Friend Denim Who Has Autism
Recommended for children 3 – 18 years old.
My Awesome Friend Denim Who Has Autism is about Trinity and her friend, Denim. Denim has autism. As Trinity tries to become friends with Denim, she learns more about autism.
9. Davis Speaks: A Brother with Autism
Recommended for children 3 -12 years old.
Davis Speaks: A Brother with Autism is about Nicholas and his baby brother Davis. Davis has autism. This book is about brotherly love and a family’s experience of the process of getting an autism diagnosis and learning about the different types of therapies for children with ASD.
Come Meet Drayen takes you into the life and daily routines of Drayden, who has autism, and his siblings.
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