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Running on Dreams by Herb Heiman

This book tells the story of Justin, a 15-year-old boy with autism who is starting his first semester in a mainstream school, and Brad, the school track star, all-around "cool guy," and Justin's assigned "buddy." In Running on Dreams, these two middle-school boys are tossed together in a story of teenage angst, confusion, and friendship. For adolescents with autism and their neurotypical peers alike, the book is written from both Justin's and Brad's perspectives as they struggle to understand each other and themselves.

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Jay Grows an Alien
by Caroline Levine

Jay often feels out of place in the world around him, but doesn't know why. Being called names like "space cadet" and "asp-booger" confuses him even further. He has looked up "asp" in the dictionary and knows he is not an asp, a "small poisonous snake from Egypt." But what is he then? Caroline Levine's short novel, Jay Grows an Alien, follows Jay, a young boy with Asperger Syndrome, at school and home. Over the course of the novel, as he deals with bullies, faces the difficulties of a sibling relationship, and befriends a cyborg from outer space, Jay begins to find his place and comes to understand that differences in him and others are unique and special.

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Jackson Whole Wyoming
by Joan Clark

Tyler is confused when he is selected by his entire fifth-grade class to present a going-away gift to Jackson, a classmate who is moving out of town. The agonizing dilemma is that while Tyler likes Jackson, he is a little embarrassed to admit it, and is worried about being "lumped together" with Jackson, whom many of the other students view as a bit "strange." The truth of the matter is that Jackson has Asperger Syndrome, which explains his sometimes bizarre behavior and lack of social skills. In the end, Tyler's kind nature prevails and he does a wonderful job of presenting a class book to the departing Jackson. This heart-warming and often humorous book paints a realistic picture of the ups and downs in the life of a fifth-grader and, more important, of a young boy with Asperger Syndrome.


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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
a novel by Mark Haddon

For 15 year old Christopher Boone, the hero of this year's most unusual mystery novel, the entire world is a mystery. Christopher is autistic. He can't understand ordinary jokes. He can't read other people's facial expressions. When people touch him, he panics and screams. So when he stumbles on the corpse of his neighbor's dog Wellington impaled on a garden fork, it's just one more mystery that needs solving. "In a murder mystery novel," the young man tells us, with his permanently straight face, "someone has to work out who the murderer is and then catch them. It is a puzzle." Indeed.


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The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

The book, The Speed of Dark, tells the fictional story of an autistic man, Lou, in the near future. This story, told from Lous' point of view, is a tale of Lou's struggle of trying to understand "normal" people. The author insightfully explores the nature of "normality," identity, choice, responsibility, free will, illness and health, and good and evil.


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