Kids' Books to Celebrate Neurodiversity

Discover more books, resources, and programs at denverlibrary.org/neurodiversitymonth.

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Arango, Andrea Beatriz

Twelve-year-old Iveliz is trying to manage her mental health and advocate for the help and understanding she deserves, but in the meantime her new friend calls her crazy and her abuela Mimi dismisses the therapy and medicine Iveliz needs to feel like herself.

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Burgess, Rebecca

Twelve-year-old Mia is just trying to navigate a world that doesn't understand her true autistic self. While she wishes she could stand up to her bullies, she's always been able to express her feelings through singing and songwriting, even more so with her best friend, Charlie, who is nonbinary, putting together the best beats for her. Together, they've taken the internet by storm; little do Mia's classmates know that she's the viral singer Elle-Q! But while the chance to perform live for a local talent show has Charlie excited, Mia isn't so sure. She'll have to decide whether she'll let her worries about what other people think get in the way of not only her friendship with Charlie, but also showing everyone, including the bullies, who she is and what she has to say.

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Barton, Bree

Zia remembers the exact night the Shadoom arrived. One moment she was laughing with her best friends, and the next a dark room of shadows had crept into her chest. Zia has always loved words, but she can't find a real one for the fear growing inside her. How can you defeat something if you don't know its name?

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Beaty, Andrea

When Miss Greer asks each child in the class to write a story, second-grader Aaron, who loves to draw but struggles with reading, creates a story using pictures.

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Blackall, Sophie

Max isn't a typical cat, but his loving owner still sees the best in him.

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Bowling, Dusti

New friends and a mystery help Aden, thirteen, adjust to middle school and life at a dying western theme park in a new state, where her being born armless presents many challenges.

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Callender, Kacen

Moon is convinced that they do not belong to this world: that most of the time they are invisible (unless they stay still too long), that they belong to the stars, and want to go back to them--they live entirely in their imagination with an imaginary spirit guide who can appear in any shape and refuses to speak to anyone, lest their words tie them to a world they reject.

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Carter, Caela

A chronically frustrated eleven-year-old girl named Gwendolyn Rogers comes to realize she has an undiagnosed mental health issue and tries every way possible to get control of her emotions.

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Connor, Leslie

As he grieves his best friend Benny's death, Mason and his friend Calvin, who are targeted by the neighborhood bullies, create an underground haven for themselves, but when Calvin goes missing Mason finds himself in trouble.

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Cotterill, Samantha

Laila's birthday party, perfectly planned with her autism in mind, goes awry due to a change in weather and an accident with her cake, but with the help of her mom and her service dog, Laila knows she can handle this.

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Davis, Tanita S.

Henri has attended a special school for her learning disability, dyscalculia, but when she is mainstreamed, she finds herself struggling to balance other parts of her life, and not just in math class--a family feud, drama on the soccer team, and a passion for poetry.

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Denham, Joe

When he is unable to play baseball with other children because their loud noises hurt his head, a young autistic boy uses his love of painting and colors to find another way to make friends. Includes suggested activities.

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Fung, Rosena

Heartbreakingly honest and quietly funny, this #ownvoices graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school. Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school--and then there's Viola. Viola is Livy's anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola's relentless judgment, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola's days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola. Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier's Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy's rich imaginative world--filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns--to life on the page.

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Giroux, Benjamin

Ten-year-old Benjamin Giroux's iconic poem conveys what it's like to live with autism.

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Harbridge, Paul

A picture book about a girl who spends the summer with her family at a lake and learns to become more self-reliant.

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Hart, Melissa

When thirteen-year-old amateur entomologist Daisy gets an assignment to 'change the world,' she's determined to help her older brother, Sorrel--who has Down syndrome and adores men's fashion--fulfill his dream of becoming a YouTube celebrity.

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Hourigan, Erin

A little girl whose father's world goes from bright and yellow to dark and blue gets frustrated when she is unable to help him, but knows that together, they can do anything.

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Kapit, Sarah

Eleven-year-old knuckleball pitcher Vivy Cohen, who has autism, becomes pen pals with her favorite Major League baseball player after writing a letter to him as an assignment for her social skills class.

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Mandanna, Sangu

Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki's sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years. One day, her sketchbook's calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds--the real and the imagined--from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?

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McNicoll, Elle

When she discovers that her small Scottish town used to burn witches simply because they were different, a neurodivergent girl who sees and hears things others cannot refuses to let them be forgotten.

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Mosca, Julia Finley

If you've ever felt different, if you've ever been low, if you don't quite fit in, there's a name you should know...Meet Dr. Temple Grandin--one of the world's quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

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Neal, Trinity

A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.

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Patrick, Cat

Seventh-grader Frankie, who has various sensory disorders, is determined to find her missing best friend, Colette, before it is too late.

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Peters, Shawn

Logan, an undersized twelve-year-old orphan with a photographic memory and no filter, discovers that his foster parents are superheroes in grave danger and only Logan's highly logical mind can save them.

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Robbins, Rose

A girl with autism who almost never speaks demonstrates how easily she communicates with her brother and grandmother through facial expressions, gestures, flashcards, and drawings.

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Sass, A. J.

Ellen, an autistic thirteen-year-old, navigates a new city, shifting friendships, a growing crush, and her queer and Jewish identities while on a class trip to Barcelona, Spain.

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Saunders, Merriam Sarcia

A young boy with ADHD feels like he is constantly driven by a 'motor.' He is constantly getting in trouble, even when he is not trying to be naughty. But his mom helps him focus on the things he does right each day.

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Scott, Jordan

When a child has a "bad speech day" at school, his father gives him a new perspective on his stuttering.

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Talbott, Hudson

Through a story from his own childhood, Hudson Talbott shares the challenges--and ultimately the rewards--of being a non-mainstream kind of learner.

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Thompkins-Bigelow, Jamilah

Abdul loves telling stories but thinks his messy handwriting and spelling mistakes will keep him from becoming an author, until Mr. Muhammad visits and encourages him to persist.

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Tregonning, Mel

An empowering wordless graphic picture book that gets to the heart of a young boy's anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about acceptance, vulnerability, and the universal experience of worry.

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Winkler, Henry

Hoping to land the lead in the class play, Hank freezes during his audition and is only able to buzz like a fly, inspiring his teacher to create a special role for him as a silent bookmark that saves the show when a rival suffers an attack of stage fright.

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Woodson, Jacqueline

ZJ's friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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