diary of an autistic bookseller

You probably know our lovely Indy from her great passion for sharing middle grade fiction, her fantastic recommendations, and endless enthusiasm for anything fantasy or sci-fi. What you might not know, is that Indy is autistic.
To celebrate National Autism Awareness month, Indy has generously shared here some insights to her experience of being autistic and provided some reading recommendations for those of you who would like to learn more.

Hi there, I’m Indy and I’ve always been autistic. I just didn’t officially find out until I was 24. I have always been passionately obsessed with books and stories, this manifesting into collecting books and DVDs like they were going out of fashion. This is where my belief that buying/collecting books is separate to reading them as far as hobbies/obsessions go.  Naturally, becoming a bookseller was always a dream of mine (alongside that of being a librarian and a paleontologist) and I am very lucky to have been a bookseller for 7 years now. With the third anniversary of my official diagnosis coming up (I will be getting myself a cake), I thought this month would be great to share part of my story.

Sensory issues, anxiety and depression have been a common denominator my entire life. Alongside these was the feeling that I was missing something, that maybe I just didn’t get the handbook everyone else seemed to get at the beginning of life. I take things very literally; sarcasm is something I struggle with; I have to be places and leave at certain times; I was always early to being early and it would cause major anxiety if I was ever running late.  Finishing high school and not having that routine triggered massive anxiety and depression that led me to my therapist, Ann, who was absolutely incredible. After a few years and some things working and most things not, she is the person who suggested that I’m probably autistic. With that, came the answers to EVERYTHING. I got a formal diagnosis in April of 2020, right in the middle of everything else happening. The lockdowns were actually a bit of a lifesaver for me, as I could sit with this new information, learn to drive without the pressure of so many other people on the road, and just not have the pressure of big crowds and noise everywhere.

This also led to me deep diving into finding books written by autistic authors, featuring autistic characters and just about people like me. And further, looking for other books that other neurodivergent people could see themselves in. I get very excited when I find new ones and can’t wait to put them on the shelves and recommend them.

I have included below a shortlist of my recommended further reading for most ages!  Just click on the images to read more about each book. There are so many more that I love, that have what we call “neurodivergent coded” characters, that is, characters that have traits of someone within the community but it is not explicitly stated.  I am always happy to provide further recommendations in store – just come and ask!

Love & Autism by Kay Kerr ISBN:9781761260643

Book Review: Love & Autism (Kay Kerr)

Autistic author and journalist Kay Kerr has compiled a beautiful and tender look at love and life within the pages of Love & Autism.

Filled with accounts from five autistic people, as well as her own, this exploration is just one of a kind, and hopefully a forerunner for more collections like this lead by autistic and other neurodivergent people. It is heartwarming and insightful, looking at love in all its forms, not just romantic love, and what each of their lives have been like so far. As an autistic person myself, I often find it hard to verbalise my thoughts and experiences, and this collection has helped me actually articulate some of these things for myself.

This book is for autistic people, those who know and love us, and those who wish to learn more about us.

for adults

Love & Autism by Kay Kerr ISBN:9781761260643
Late Bloomer: How an Autism Diagnosis Changed My Life by Clem Bastow ISBN:9781743796009
Diagnosis Normal: Living with abuse
Different
I Am Autistic: An interactive and informative guide to autism (by someone diagnosed with it) by Chanelle Moriah ISBN:9781991006066
The New Autism Handbook: The essential guide for parents of children with autism by Benison O'Reilly ISBN:9781925183849
Late Bloomer: How an Autism Diagnosis Changed My Life by Clem Bastow ISBN:9781743796009
NeuroTribes: The legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently by Steve Silberman ISBN:9781760294366
The Autism Faq: Everything You Wanted to Know About Diagnosis & Autistic Life by Joe Biel ISBN:9781648411175
The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism by Naoki Higashida ISBN:9781529375701

for kids & teens

Social Queue by Kay Kerr ISBN:9781922458018
Paws by Kate Foster ISBN:9781760652661
Ellen Outside the Lines by A. J. Sass ISBN:9780759556270
Peta Lyre's Rating Normal by Anna Whateley ISBN:9781760525309
Can You See Me? by Libby Scott ISBN:9781407195674
A Different Sort of Normal by Abigail Balfe ISBN:9780241508794
The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens by Yenn Purkis ISBN:9781787753167
Please Don't Hug Me by Kay Kerr ISBN:9781922268051
The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic by Siena Castellon ISBN:9781787751835
Geek Girl (Geek Girl
For further information we highly recommend Amaze, a wonderful Australian organisation dedicated to creating an autism inclusive Australia.  They have many great resources and are a fantastic point of contact for anyone wanting to explore further.