ADHD-Hyperactive Type

These books speak to kids with ADHD characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity. Kids with this type of ADHD often find themselves doing things they immediately regret, but they often feel that they can’t prevent themselves from doing so, no matter how hard they try. They often get in trouble a lot and have challenges with friends. Because of this, they’re at risk of developing self-esteem challenges and of feeling unsuccessful at school. The books I chose for this section highlight the strengths of kids with ADHD (e.g., creativity, enthusiasm), remind kids that ADHD isn’t their fault, and empower them to brainstorm strategies to make it easier to manage their symptoms (i.e., through accommodations, medication).

It is worth noting that all the books currently in this section feature male characters. It is, of course, not at all true that only boys have ADHD, but they’re often more likely to be diagnosed and therefore to get the support and treatment they need to be successful. I’ll be on the lookout for good books on ADHD with more diverse representation.
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is an excellent read for kids with hyperactivity and/or impulse control challenges (including kids with an ADHD diagnosis) who need a reminder that they’re “wonderful.” It prompts caregivers to remember to point out a child’s strengths and positive behaviors, which is both necessary for kids’ self-esteem and a very effective strategy for supporting positive behavior change.
Age range: Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: This book is best for a child who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. It is a surprisingly charming, car-themed overview of ADHD and its treatment. It reviews common symptoms of ADHD (including hyperactivity and inattention), the process of getting evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD (in this book the diagnosis is a motor that runs too fast), and treatment with a psychologist and a psychiatrist–“special mechanics” who are part of young Otto Mobile’s “pit crew.” It describes behavioral and medication interventions and provides hope that a child’s own pit crew will help them run to the best of their ability.
Age range: 1st grade through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This book destigmatizes the “wiggle fidgets” (recognizable as ADHD, but no diagnostic labels are used in the story), celebrates kids’ creativity, and empowers kids to brainstorm accommodations that might help them to better manage their symptoms. It’s a great read prior to a conversation with a child about school accommodations such as movement breaks and using a fidget toy.

Sensory Seeking Sloth

Written and illustrated by Jennifer Jones
Age range: Preschool through 3rd grade.
Recommended for: This book is a relatively fun way to introduce the idea of increasing a child’s sensory input throughout the day to meet their sensory needs. This can be a helpful intervention for some children with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and body-focused repetitive behaviors (e.g., skin-picking and hair-pulling). It introduces the concept of sensory seeking and provides many concrete examples a child can try out (e.g., jumping on a trampoline, eating something crunchy, playing with a fidget toy). School psychologists and counselors, as well as OTs, may particularly find this book useful when discussing interventions for kids to try out.