A Girl Like Tilly: Growing up with Autism

A Girl Like Tilly: Growing up with Autism, by Helen Bates and illustrated by Ellen Li

Synopsis: Tilly is a bit of a puzzle. She’s struggling at school, she really doesn’t like surprises, she isn’t sure if she’s a girl or a boy, and she just doesn’t want to make new friends. Why is it such hard work to try and understand people, or for them to understand her?

This poignant story maps the entire childhood of a bright young girl with autism. Growing up undiagnosed, she finds life increasingly difficult and confusing. Unable to communicate her thoughts and feelings, she retreats further into her own world while her family grows evermore perplexed and concerned. When a psychologist finally explains what makes her special, they can stop focusing on the problems and start to navigate a new way forward for Tilly.

With vividly expressive illustrations and minimal words, this story is a valuable and accessible tool for helping children aged 7-13 and their families understand female autism, and will also be immensely helpful to readers interested in understanding better how autism manifests in girls. Honest, positive, and ultimately hopeful, it is inspired by the real childhood of Helen Bates’s daughter Rachel, who also writes about her experiences on her blog www.agirlliketilly.com.

Published: November 2016 | ISBN: 978-1785921636 | Ages: 7-13 years

Book’s Homepage: http://agirlliketilly.com

Mini-bio: Helen Bates is a retired social worker and family therapist. She now works as a CAMH Learning and Development Consultant, providing mental health training to staff in schools and colleges. Her daughter Rachel was diagnosed with autism as an adult. – from Book’s Homepage

Ellen’s Homepage: https://www.ellenliart.com

‘Helen Bates’ beautifully illustrated book will teach us a lot about girls on the autism spectrum, who have traditionally been overlooked by both researchers and clinicians, likely furthering their sense of isolation and feeling of being misunderstood and unaccepted. A gem of a book that will make girls on the spectrum feel less alone and enable their parents to better understand and accept their difference.’
– Simon Baron-Cohen, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University

‘I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully illustrated and visually gives such a sense of Tilly’s world. We see so many small details of her life and learn why she is who she is. An informative, realistic yet positive read for all autistic girls and their families.’
– Sarah Hendrickx, autistic adult and author of Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Always Be Dancing Book Review
School Library Journal Book Review

Amazon Associates (SBAD gets a % of sales from books sold via these links, to help us do more work for science books)

Hardcover Edition: A Girl Like Tilly: Growing up with Autism
Kindle Edition: A Girl Like Tilly: Growing up with Autism


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