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A Girl Like Tilly

On sale

21st November 2016

Price: £11.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781785921636

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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


Simon Baron-Cohen, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
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.
Sarah Hendrickx, autistic adult and author of Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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.
Danuta Bulhak-Paterson, Clinical Psychologist and Author of I am an Aspie Girl: A book for young girls with autism spectrum conditions
A Girl Like Tilly is a lovely story highlighting a girl's journey with autism from birth through her school years. Tilly is like many girls I see in my practice - bright and gifted but socially confused and anxious, who is trying to find her place in a neurotypical world.
Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal and Safety Skills for Asperger Women
This tender story, told with delicate drawings and honest prose, adds a new, much needed voice to the world of girls and autism. It's a lovely book that teaches, enlightens and encourages. Read it and share it, again and again.
Cynthia Kim, author of Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
As someone who was once a girl very much like Tilly, I found the main character's journey relatable and her reactions spot on. For girls who are just discovering that they are on the spectrum, Tilly's story is both an icebreaker and a comforting reassurance that there are other girls just like them.
Alis Rowe, entrepreneur and founder of The Curly Hair Project
A charming tale about a little girl which also features the narratives of Mum, Grandma, Teacher and Psychologist. Although autism is different in everyone, Tilly strongly resonated with me. I also like how timely the story is, as it mentions how the world is 'learning more now about what autism looks like in girls.' A sweet, charming story that has been enhanced with hand drawn illustrations.
Kathryn Justus, Renbrook School, West Hartford, CT, School Library Journal
Bates follows a young girl with autism through her childhood. The adults in Tilly's life notice that something is different about her but brush these observations off and attribute them to things such as daydreaming and shyness. Meanwhile, Tilly grows increasingly frustrated and confused, often overwhelmed by new situations and social settings. Things get harder as she ages. Tilly struggles with boundaries, communication, and her gender identity until a psychologist connects the dots and realizes that Tilly has autism. Small details throughout, including discussions of Tilly's interests and strengths, humanize her and make her a highly empathetic character. Li's soft but detailed illustrations effectively convey Tilly's sense of the world. Blush tones are contrasted with a bright blue line that represents Tilly's journey. The book is a powerful tool for those with autism to see that they are not alone and for families to gain empathy or a new perspective. The ending imparts the valuable message that not all girls with autism are the same and that differences can lead to new possibilities. A helpful list of resources relating to autism is provided in the back matter. VERDICT Effectively portraying the challenges that girls with autism often experience, this is a worthwhile addition to collections catering to children with disabilities.
Healthy Books,
This is a very good [book]. It takes Tilly from babyhood almost to adulthood, and on the way we see all the different problems she has... In some ways a painful read as Tilly grows up with so many problems, but it is also positive and hopeful. The remarkable illustrations in pinky-beige colours... are brilliant... Excellent for parents, teachers and children alike.