April is Autism Awareness Month. The goal of the month is to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They found that 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls were on the autism spectrum. Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
Medline Plus has more information about autism and the National Institute of Mental Health lists signs and symptoms.
Here are a few nonfiction books to learn more about autism:
Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Austim by Peter Hotez. Dr. Hotez’s daughter was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases that affect the world’s poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their discourse around childhood vaccines and autism. He explains the science that denies the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories, and critiques the scientific community’s failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public.
Autism in Heels by Jennifer Cook O’Toole. Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 35, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. In this memoir Jennifer brings to light the constant struggle between a carefully crafted persona and an “authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power.”
The Warner Boys by Ana Warner. “Seahawks star running back Curt Warner and his wife, Ana, were prominent figures in Seattle in the early 1990s. When they dropped from the public eye after Curt’s retirement, everyone assumed it was for a simpler life. But the reality behind their seclusion was a secret they hid from even their closest friends: their twins had been diagnosed with severe autism. What followed was a painful struggle to hold their family and their marriage together in a home filled with chaos, emotional exhaustion, and constant fear for the safety of their unpredictable but beloved boys.”
National Poetry Month was founded in April 1996 and is celebrated by reading poems and highlighting the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets.
Here are a few new books of poetry by American poets to try:
Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui. Bitsui is a Diné (Navajo) poet from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona. His previous book of poetry, Flood Song, won an American Book Award. He currently teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Oculus by Sally Wen Mao. Mao was born in China and grew up in Boston and the Bay Area. She has written two books of poetry and her work has been published in numerous magazines. Mao is currently teaching in the Asian American Studies department at Hunter College.
Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed. Reed was born in South Carolina and his work often deals with what it means to be a queer black man in America. This is his first full-length book of poetry and it won the National Book Award in Poetry in 2018.
Nearing Ninety by Judith Viorst. Viorst grew up in New Jersey and is the author of a series of light verse books on aging. She is a noted children’s book author, but also writes fiction for adults. Viorst has won numerous awards, including the Foremother Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011.
Here are a few nonfiction books for Women’s History Month. Celebrate by reading about some amazing women!
Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin – “The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows how women played a vital role throughout the conflict and reveals a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence.”
She Caused a Riot by Hannah Jewell – Women who were geniuses despite the fact that they were girls; Women who fought empires and racists; Women who punched Nazis; Women who wrote dangerous things.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara – “Milicent Patrick was one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters. Author O’Meara discovered that Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, and she soon after had disappeared from film history. O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time.”
Invisible Women, Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez – “Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.”