• Julie @ Struck by Stories

    Hi Meegan!!

    ahhhhh, this is such a fantastic list! as an autistic person, I truly can’t thank you enough for making this 🙂

    just a quick side note, though: I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Autism Speaks is kind of an extremely polarizing autism organization within the autism community! they’ve done a lot of super shady things in the past & autism advocate Paige Layle has a video all about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johy4Bi52Vo. ASAN (https://autisticadvocacy.org), Autism Women & Nonbinary Network, Autistics 4 Autistics, and Autistic Inclusive Meets are all incredible alternatives though!!

    Please don’t take this the wrong way!! I really do appreciate you taking the time to put this together 🥰

    (P.S. if you’re looking for even more recommendations, I created a Twitter thread of 30+ middle grade & YA books by #ActuallyAutistic authors here! https://twitter.com/StruckByStories/status/1510342767809028103?s=20&t=xOPVTzB09tazZcT4u7m_0g)

    • meeghan

      Hi Julie, thank you so much!! I wasn’t aware of that, and will HAPPILY change the resources I have listed for the US. Thanks so much for letting me know!! And I look forward to browsing your twitter thread 💕

  • Davida Chazan

    Let’s not forget the first book to really have an autistic protagonist – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. While there have been some criticisms of the book, I don’t think readers ever had an autistic protagonist before his novel. I’ve read a few others like The Rosie Project (meh), Shtum (very good), and “It’s. Nice. Outside” (excellent), all of which I’ve reviewed on my blog.

    • meeghan

      To be honest, I’ve never even heard of the Mark Haddon book, but I will look into it.
      I can say Simsion has mentioned in an interview that he isn’t on the spectrum, but based his characters from The Rosie Project on work colleagues and others he knows with autism. I don’t know if he ever got sensitivity readers, but it’s not own voices.

    • meeghan

      Ok, so I’ve done a bit of research on the Mark Haddon book. It seems to be quite divisive. Haddon is not autistic (and therefore this book is not own voices) but he may have worked with autistic youth when he was younger (unverified and only in one article I could find). However, there is a quote from him saying that he did not do research on autism or Asperger’s for this book, but rather “Imagination always trumps research. I thought that if I could make Christopher real to me then he’d be real to readers…judging by the reaction, it seems to have worked.”
      While the book also has a lot of positive reviews, it seems that there are a lot of people with autism who are actively speaking out against it. They have said the main character is unrelatable and the book gives a negative and incorrect portrayal of people with autism.

      To be honest, I agree that autistic representation is a good thing. But poor representation by someone unwilling to do research and have sensitivity readers can be more harmful than anything. I’d much rather promote own voices books.

  • Janette

    Having worked with many autistic children over the years, I certainly felt that Christopher was believable. It was an important book as it was the first to really highlight autism and I strongly feel that the discussion sparked was a good thing. People reading it now when there are many other representations of autism in fiction probably see it very differently to those of us who read it originally.
    This is a great post Meeghan.

    • meeghan

      Thanks Janette! That’s so true. I guess I come from the perspective of mostly reading own voices stories, and fewer non-own voices, so I see the representation differently. I also come to it with a different perspective as someone who was diagnosed with OCD behaviours as a child, and also worked closely with people with autism.

    • meeghan

      Hi Louise, you are so welcome. I hope you like the books on the list. I have loved most of them. 💕

    • meeghan

      Oh, The Boy Who Steals Houses and The Kings of Nowhere (the sequel) are just the most amazing books. I love them so much it hurts. ❤️‍🩹💕

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