Books with neurodivergent characters

Cally and Jimmy: Twins Together

This non-exhaustive selection of books is an introduction to the range of books that feature neurodivergent (ND) characters. It includes characters with OCD, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia, as well as autistic protagonists. There is some non-fiction on neurodivergence too.

See our list on autism here

See our list on ADHD here

See our list on dyslexic characters here

  • Loud!

    Author: Rose Robbins
    Publisher: Scallywag Press
    Interest age: 4-8

    Abigail is always fidgeting and giggling at school until Miss Butler discovers her love of singing and songwriting. It’s implied that Abigail has ADHD but this beautifully delivered book will resonate with any child who's ever found it tricky to do what is expected of them.

  • Pablo and the Noisy Party

    Author: Andrew Brenner and Sumita Majumdar
    Publisher: Ladybird Books
    Interest age: 3-7

    Pablo finds the noise at his cousin's party overwhelming, but his imaginary friends are there to help him make sense of the situation. This empowering book and TV series competently reflect neurodiversity and has been developed by writers who are themselves on the autistic spectrum.

  • Lilly & Myles: The Torch

    Author: Jon Roberts and Hannah Rounding
    Publisher: Graffeg Books
    Interest age: 3-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Lilly is holidaying at Grandma’s seaside house in Wales.  She always enjoys her gran’s tall stories about sea monsters living in a cave nearby. When it finally stops raining, Lilly can’t wait to get outside and explore - especially as she’s found an old torch to play with. 

  • My Mummy is Autistic

    Author: Heath Grace and Joanna Grace
    Publisher: Speechmark Publishing
    Interest age: 6-12

    Five-year-old Heath explains in his own (very young but very wise) words what he has learnt about his mum’s experience of autism. A fascinating celebration (and explanation) of differences, particularly around language processing differences.

  • Cally and Jimmy: Twins Together

    Author: Zoe Antoniades Illustrator: Katie Kear
    Publisher: Andersen
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Cally and Jimmy are 10-year-old twins who couldn’t be more different. While Cally is sensible, clever and hard-working, Jimmy’s ADHD makes it difficult for him to focus or stay calm. But no matter what trouble they get into, they're always in it together!

  • When I Feel Red

    Author: Lily Bailey
    Publisher: Orion
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A touching and accessible book about finding your own way.

  • Wider than the Sea

    Author: Serena Molloy Illustrator: George Ermos
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Ró finds reading hard because the words jump around. She can’t tell anyone because her parents are unhappy and she doesn’t want to make it worse. A heart-felt, accessible book for all kinds of readers.  

  • Frankie’s World

    Author: Aoife Dooley
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This lovely, often funny, relatable and sensitive story about Frankie, a girl with autism, was inspired by the author Aoife Dooley’s own real life experiences. A great story about growing up and learning who you are.

  • A Different Sort of Normal

    Author: Abigail Balfe
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-13
    Reading age: 8+

    Abigail, the author and illustrator of this exceptional non-fiction book, spent most of her life not knowing she was autistic. Insightful, accessible and easy to navigate, this is an essential book for autistic and allistic (non-autistic) readers of all ages, including adults.

  • Like a Charm

    Author: Elle McNicoll
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 10+

    Readers of all ages will fall in love with this neurodivergent, beret-rocking protagonist. Thankfully, the promise of a sequel suggests that they can be reunited with her soon. 

  • Wonderfully Wired Brains: An introduction to the world of neurodiversity

    Author: Louise Gooding Illustrator: Ruth Burrows
    Publisher: DK
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Divided into four sections: Wonderfully working brains, which explains how brains work and which bit does what; Wonderfully diverse brains, which explains a variety of neurodiverse conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyscalculia, synaesthesia, OCD, tics, dyslexia and many more; Wonderfully wired history, which shows the timeline of neurodiversity awareness and …

  • When I See Blue

    Author: Lily Bailey
    Publisher: Hachette
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a touching and honest book about life in the grip of OCD but also the power of friendship. It’s also a reminder that good friendships are two-way as it turns out April needs Ben just as much as he needs her. 

  • A Flash of Fireflies

    Author: Aisha Bushby
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9-11

    Hazel’s family is relocating from Kuwait to the UK and her parents have sent her on ahead to stay with Grant, her unconventional great aunt, while they finalise the move. Hazel finds change difficult and is nervous about travelling alone and meeting Grant. She’s also worried about attending summer school, even though it will give her the opportunity to make …

  • Moving the Goalposts

    Author: Rob Childs Illustrator: Gary Rees
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 8+

    Sam is the hugely successful goalie in his football team...

  • Can You See Me?

    Author: Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Starting secondary school is a daunting time for any 11 year old – and Natalia is no exception. This is a powerful, readable and relatable story about trying to fit in. Along the way, a host of assumptions and stereotypes about autism are smashed.