Please welcome neurodivergent author Lindsey Rowe Parker who is guest posting with her favorite kids’ books about sensory differences for Sensory Awareness Month!
She also has a new book out, Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down, and we’re doing a signed giveaway below!
Have you ever felt the need for a wiggle, stomp, or squeeze? Wanted to zoom around the room, or have you seen a friend that loves to spin and twirl? These actions are your body looking for sensory input!
We all know the 5 senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Did you know there are 3 more? Vestibular, Proprioception, and Interoception.
These sound like challenging concepts, but actually, you feel them every day! Vestibular is balance and movement. Think of the feeling you get when you spin in a circle. Proprioception is awareness of where your body is in space, wave your hands around in the air or give yourself a big bear hug squeeze. And Interoception is your feelings inside your body, like hunger, thirst, or having to use the restroom!
October is Sensory Awareness Month, and 1 in 6 children struggles daily with sensory processing challenges. You probably know one or two! Maybe that is even you? Sensory processing refers to the mechanisms of how we feel. It is how we use what we sense to make sense of the world around us through our 8 senses.
Picture books are a great way to introduce concepts to kids and adults alike, to make them feel seen, and create empathy for those with different lived experiences!
I’ve pulled together some great books for your to check out for sensory awareness month! Many neurodivergent and autistic people experience sensory differences, and you will see their experiences reflected in my book list!
10 Books about Sensory Differences for Sensory Awareness Month
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down by neurodivergent author Lindsey Rowe Parker, illustrated by autistic illustrator Rebecca Burgess
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm my Jitters Down is a picture book about sensory differences. The book follows a young girl with sensory differences throughout her day as she navigates her 8 senses. The vibration when she runs, the tap-tap-tap of her spoon on the table at mealtime, the trickle of cool water running over her hands—these are the things that calm her jitters down. The book is also available in Spanish, entitled Meneos, Pistones, Y Apretones Para Calmar Mi Cosquilleo. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Too Sticky! Sensory Issues with Autism by autistic author Jen Malia, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethof
Who doesn’t love slime? Holly, that’s who. Holly loves doing experiments and learning new things in science class – But when she finds out the next experiment is making slime, she’s worried. Slime is made with glue, and glue is sticky. Holly has sensory issues because of her autism and doesn’t like anything sticky! With help from family and her teacher, Holly receives the accommodations and encouragement she needs to give slime a try. My kids love this book because they love to talk about things that are sticky, icky, gooey! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Rosalee The Seeker by Nicole Filippone
Nicole is an autistic author of a couple of different books about sensory differences. She also runs a huge group on Facebook about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and shares some fantastic information about our senses. Rosalee the Seeker is about a young girl with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and that means she just needs a little bit of help learning certain things, like personal space and organizing herself and her belongings. When Rosalee starts seeing an occupational therapist, she learns so many things that help her get the sensory stimulation she needs – and this makes all the difference for Rosalee! [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Alexander the Avoider by Nicole Filippone
Another great one by Nicole Filippone that is just now in preorder! This is a companion book to Rosalee the Seeker. Do you know a child that seems overly anxious or overwhelmed when it comes to sensory inputs (like sounds, visual stimuli, textures or physical touch, etc.)? Alexander the Avoider explains SPD from a child’s perspective, to validate and empower them, to give them words to explain their needs, and to help adults better understand and support the children in their lives who struggle because of their SPD. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Come Meet Drayden by Dana Young-Askew and illustrated by Cameron Wilson
In this sweet real-life story, Drayden’s siblings share what a typical day with Drayden is like. They describe many of the unique things that little Drayden does. He likes to spin in circles and loves to play in any water that he comes across. He takes good care of his toys and likes to line them up and sort them. His siblings describe how Drayden echos what they say, and how sometimes he gets upset and can’t tell them what is wrong. They love Drayden just the way he is! [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Come On Calm by Kelsey Brown, illustrated by Joseph Wrightson
Come On, Calm! is the story guide to finding the calm in everyday adventures. This new children’s book, written by a Speech-Language Pathologist gives step-by-step ideas for self-soothing when its readers find themselves nervous, excited, or just in a mood. Disguised as any other picture book, Come On, Calm! is just the book parents, teachers, and caregivers need to help their little ones build healthy habits and a shared vocabulary for when they need a break. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Sensory Seeking Sebastian by Christia DeShields and illustrated by Marissa Nelson
Sensory Seeking Sebastian is a book that empowers sensory seekers with strategies that help with self-regulation. Author, Christia DeShields has a son with ADHD and sensory differences. Since learning sensory strategies with an occupational therapist, her sensory-seeking son takes the initiative to regulate himself. This book is perfect for families who want to equip their sensory seeker to navigate the challenges of ADHD, Autism, and SPD. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
When Things Get Too Loud by Anne Alcott
This is a brand new book by Anne Alcott! When the world gets too much, Bo feels his Feel-O-Meter go from 1-10. Noises, smells, sounds, the world can be an overwhelming place. One day, Bo’s numbers climb too quickly and all he wants to do is hide. But then he makes a remarkable little friend….When things get too loud is a story about sensory overload, how it feels, what can trigger it, and what may help. The Feel-O-Meter provides the child and parents with a visual guide through emotions and the book comes with ideas to cope with overwhelming situations. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Juan Has the Jitters by Aneta Cruz, illustrated by Miki Yamamoto
This one is all about jitters! Written by a special education teacher, this book can help teach kids about neurodiversity, inclusion, and the beauty in what makes every one of us unique. Juan claps his hands to get his Jitters out. They make his tummy swoosh and swirl. His Jitters happen when there are too many people, too much noise, or too many changes to his day. Juan doesn’t like surprises. Find out how Juan’s teacher finds the perfect solution to include Juan in ways that support him. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
This Beach Is Loud! by autistic creator Samantha Cotterill
Going to the beach is exciting. But it can also be busy. And loud. Sand can feel hot or itchy or sticky…and it gets everywhere! In This Beach Is Loud!, a sensitive boy gets overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and sensations at the beach. Luckily, this kiddo’s dad has a trick up his sleeve to help his son face these unexpected obstacles. This Beach Is Loud! is part of the Little Senses series. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down Signed Book GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away a signed copy of Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
Award-winning author Lindsey Rowe Parker is a mom at the tail-end of toddlerhood, embracing the next phase of parenting while learning to navigate and advocate for her autistic daughter. With a recent adult diagnosis of ADHD, and a new deeper understanding of her own sensory experiences, she has begun to delve into the neurodiversity community learning all she can from neurodivergent voices.
Lindsey is also the creator of the #SensoryStories campaign that brings together authors, illustrators, educators, and advocates to raise awareness of sensory differences during Sensory Awareness Month this October. The aim is to increase mainstream understanding of the importance of sensory integration and processing. Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down is her first picture book, and she hopes it connects with everyone who has felt the need for a wiggle, stomp, or squeeze! Visit her at wigglesstompsandsqueezes.com. And connect with her on social media on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.