While browsing available ebooks on the Libby app, I was pleased to find a Big Library Read selection that complements Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. The current selection is a memoir: Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic, by comedian Michael McCreary. I enjoyed reading about McCreary’s experiences, beginning with his diagnosis at age five and continuing along his path to success as a stand-up comedian. McCreary shares hilarious anecdotes of relatable social awkwardness and moments of self-discovery. He also has a knack for explaining autism—at least, his experience of it—in an approachable way. As McCreary says, not every 22-year-old might feel ready to write a memoir, but that’s what makes this book perfect for a teen audience.
If you haven’t heard of Big Library Read before, you’re in luck: it’s especially well suited to our current times. Big Library Read is a global digital book club facilitated through OverDrive, allowing all library users to read the same book at the same time—no holds list required. Join the virtual book club conversation and access a reader’s guide and other materials for book discussion.
Check out other great selections for Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month:
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
“Jason is autistic. He hates art class and PE, where there's too much space and unorganized time, but he feels at home on his computer, writing stories on the Storyboard website. When he meets a fellow writer named Rebecca online and has the chance to meet her in person at a Storyboard conference, he panics. What will happen to their comfortable online relationship when she meets him?”–Kirkus Reviews
Kids Like Us, by Hillary Reyl
“For the first time in his life, Martin Dubois, a 16-year-old with autism, has an opportunity to interact with and befriend neurotypical peers. He's attending a general education school in rural France while his film- director mother shoots a movie there, and the experience for him is confusing and frustrating, but also exhilarating.” –School Library Journal
When My Heart Joins the Thousand, by A. V. Steiger
Grades 10 and up
Hoopla: eBook and audio
“Neuro-atypical Alvie Fitz loves routine, hates being touched, and prefers the company of animals. At seventeen she has her own apartment and a full-time job and looks forward to being legally emancipated. Then a romance with Stanley, who has a genetic bone disorder, upends Alvie's world.” –Horn Book
Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork
Grades 8 and up
“Marcelo Sandoval is a high-functioning, extremely self-aware teenager with Asperger's syndrome. He has an empathetic mother and a father, Arturo, who appears to be less empathetic as he pushes Marcelo to live in the “real world.” The form the real world takes is a summer job in the mailroom at Arturo's law office. Over the course of a summer, Marcelo learns that he can function in society; he is especially surprised to find that he can learn to read people's expressions, even to the point of knowing whom he can and cannot trust.” –School Library Journal