Children’s Books about Sensory Processing Differences


Many of us struggle with “sensory processing differences” daily (itchy clothes tags? – certain smells turn your stomach?). There is an ever growing understanding among our communities about what Sensory Processing is and what it means for the child/adult who processes sensory information differently. 

As a parent I am thrilled so see that awareness and acceptance reach the classroom where in the past a child trying to navigate through their sensory overwhelm would have been labelled as a “troublesome/disruptive” child. 

Books for Children about Sensory Processing Differences

I have compiled a short list of Children’s Books about Sensory Processing Differences that we have here at home. I have either purchased these books independently, been given some as a present or they were recommended to me by a Therapist. There are so many brilliant books available online, here are just a few I have chosen specifically for children to learn about Sensory Processing Differences. 

Books about SPD

This is Gabriel, making sense of school. Author: Hartley Steiner.

This is Gabriel: is a primary-level book, full of vital information on Sensory Processing Differences and how it impacts his experience at School. There are several sections within the book and they cover the topics of sensory processing differences, how they are experienced by the book’s protagonist, Gabriel.

It provides information on how he can learn best in his classroom (and similarly how children like him, can too!).

It gives several examples of what to use/what to do for different challenges facing a child with sensory differences. Noise cancelling headphones to block out noise, fidgets to play during quiet time.

The book is filled with beautiful illustrations, with lots of text to read.

It is one book that will be staying on our book shelves here at home.  

Books about SPD

Ellie Bean, the Drama Queen. Author Jenny Harding

As you know I have an 8 year old and a 4 year old with sensory processing differences, I have to say we really enjoyed this book that we received as a gift from a friend a few years ago.  

Ellie is mistaken as being a Drama Queen because of the way she acts. It is a picture book that helps children like Conor and Jack understand that they are not on their own, there are other children like them. Like them: Ellie is helped by a special swing, mini-trampoline.

It also provides Adults with some helpful tips on how to manage and to understand better what a child with Sensory Processing Differences is going through instead of just assuming they are “acting out”, to realise instead that they are having a very hard time coping with a disorder that is quite overwhelming.

Books about SPD

Squirmy Wormy, How I learned to help myself. Author: Linda Farrington Wilson

A cute and fun picture book aimed at Primary Level children. It helps children to learn all about Sensory Processing Differences and it helps children who have these differences to understand they can help themselves.

The only negative I have on it is that it refers to the children’s Sensory Processing Differences as “silly” which as a parent of two Autistic children, I find that to be derogatory. However, over all I feel it explains what it is to have sensory differences quite well and it encourages children to be independent and proactive.

It has been endorsed by Dr. Temple Grandin.

Books about SPD

Arnie and his school tools. Author: Jennifer Veenendall

Arnie and his school tools is an illustrated children’s book, that tells the story from Arnie’s point view. The reader learns that he is a fun-loving young boy, who has found it difficult to pay attention in class.

We find out that he learns to pay attention finally when his sensory needs are met. Each page is filled with some excellent strategies and sensory tools on how to help best while at school and at home.   

I really liked this book as a parent as it encourages acceptance and understanding along with the need to accommodate the needs of others, so they too can participate fully in life at school and at home.

Books about SPD

Pickyasurus. Author: Sandra Miller Linhart

Pickysaurus Mac is not your typical dinosaur. He struggles around mealtimes as he is a picky eater. Sometimes the smell of the food or the taste of the food to eat makes him feel unwell and overwhelmed.

Although it is a super fun and brightly coloured book, it deals very well with the topic of food aversions and Sensory processing quite well. It will appeal to the parent who has child struggling with food refusal but also to the child themselves as the story is told in a really fun way that is empathetic to the way they may be feeling and struggling.

Sometimes the food can taste like garbage in his mouth. Mealtimes pose a special problem for our friend. Sometimes foods smell too gross to eat, they taste different than they look and their textures feel like garbage in his mouth.

I hope you enjoyed my short list of books for children about Sensory Processing Differences, I would love to hear your recommendations, 

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