Sunday, April 01, 2007

Autism Fiction

I was looking up the subject heading Autism - fiction at work the other day. I was very surprised that there were so many titles! Here are the books that I have read from that list:

The Boy Who Ate the Stars
by Kochka
An outgoing young girl, Lucy, moves to a new apartment and decides to meet every person who lives in the building. When she meets Matthew, a fascinating four year old with autism, all of her plans are turned upsidedown. She works hard at undertanding what autism is and what it is like to be autistic. It's a quick and lyrical read an gives a refreshing perspective on autism.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Haddon, Mark
Currently a very popular book. I enjoyed it. It's written from the perspective of a boy with Aspergers. A friend of mine wrote a paper about it for a young adult literature class she's taking and felt that the author's voice intruded too much. I can see her point of view but I think that your average person who hasn't encontered or interacted with an autistic perston in a meaningful way wouldn't be able to translate the behaviors and since it's in first person rather than third or omnicient there really is nobody else to explain what is going on inside his head. Ah, if only we could get a peek into the brains of all our kids!

The Art of Keeping Cool
by Janet Taylor Lisle
How I discovered this book:
I went out on maternity leave with Brenna in the beginning of June 2002. It was that same week that a volunteer at Therin's preschool suggested that he had a PDD. I had no Idea what that was so I followed directions and immediately called the school district to get an evaluation and was given a brush off. It took me a week to get somebody somewhere to get an appointment for an evaluation. I did no research during that time because I wanted to wait for a professional opinion before I dove headfirst into the information and possibly misdiagnose my child. I know myself well, but I didn't know how long it would take to get professional opinions. Frustrated with the attempt to get Therin evaluated, I googled PDD and found out about Autism and Aspergers. I figured Aspergers was the way to go so I requested the maximum number of books from the library and when the first 2 showed up in my email I went to get them. While I was in, I stopped by to say hi to my colleagues and SC was on the desk. I told her about the PDD/Autism research and asked for a recommendation. "Something good, but out of my normal reading zone," which is usually Sci-fi/Fantasy. She suggested the Art of Keeping Cool. As I read it I expected to "get away" from my research, but I found myself diagnosing one of the children in the book. It is not linked, catalogued, or reviewed anywhere as having to do with autism, however, I figured that one of the characters acted the way he did because he's on the spectrum, so that's why I include this book in this list.
During WWII Robert and his Mom move in with his grandparents when his father is deployed. He and his cousin Elliot befriend a German artist that lives outside of town even though he is reputed to be a spy. Lots of internal family drama make all relationships difficult in this coming of age story.

A Wizard Alone
by Diane Duane
You'll have to take a look at the plot elsewhere. I know I read this book. I just can't remember anything about it. Bizarre. I don't remember Kit & Nita interacting with an 11 year old boy who has autism. I'll have to read it again. If you're waiting impatiently for the next Harry Potter read books 1-5 first, then read this one.

by Cynthia Lord
Catherine is simultaneously bothered by other peoples reactions to her brother David's behavior and yet she is often embarassed by how he acts in public and in other homes. She doesn't think her parents are preparing him for the real world as she sees it so she is creating a list of rules to help David fit in better. Her emotions become even more complicated when she befriends Jason. He uses a wheel chair to get around and a picture board to communicate and helps Catherine realize that her rules are holding her back.

Andy and his Yellow Frisbee
by Mary Thompson
At recess Andy always spins his yellow frisbee. The new girl in school watches and tries to make a connection to Andy and his older sister.


MileMasterSarah said...

What an awesome list of books! I'll have to buy a few. I have never read any autism fiction. Perhaps I should write some....

Queen of Dysfunction said...

I've actually read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime. It was quite a good book if a heartbreaking story. But still good.

I had no idea that there were so many books on this!

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Oh, and I wanted to ask... have you checked out Maeve's blog?

She has an autistic son (I'm not sure where he is on the spectrum compared to yours) and she blogs about him, her efforts to have him educated, accepted, everything.

Here url is: