Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism

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Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism
Ian's Walk cover.jpg
The cover of Ian's Walk
Author Laurie Lears
Illustrator Karen Ritz
Language English
Subject Autism
Publisher Albert Whitman & Company
Publication date
January 1, 1998
Pages 32
ISBN 0807534811

Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism is a book about autism by Laurie Lears,[1] who also wrote Waiting for Mr. Goose, a book about Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.[2] The story tells of a child with autism, and a walk with his sisters (who are frustrated with his stereotypical behaviour), and how they begin to understand him after he wanders off on them. Ian's Walk is regarded as a useful tool to help family members of children with autism understand associated behaviours.


Ian's Walk tells the story of a child with autism named Ian. Ian displays behaviour which is stereotypical for children with autism, to the dismay of his sister Julie. Julie and Tara (the oldest sibling) decide to go for a walk to the park, but their mother says that Ian must go with them. During the walk Julie describes Ian's behaviour to the reader, and describes her frustration and embarrassment with it, and Ian. Along the walk Ian goes missing, causing Julie to panic. She decides to "think like Ian" and finds him at his favourite spot. She takes him home, and begins to appreciate and accept how different he is.[3]

Reception and as a resource[edit]

Ian's Walk is described as being "straightforward and honest. It evokes compassion without pity", with the depictions of Ian being "accurate and authentic".[3] Ian's Walk is recommended to help adults and children (particularly siblings of children with autism) understand how children with autism are different.[1][4] One critic commented, "it does not give enough specific information to be truly useful". The medium used (a picture-book with watercolour illustrations by Karen Ritz) might not be enough to be useful for an older audience, but is appealing to younger readers as in introduction to autism and the associated behaviours.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Melinda, Vest (24 April 2012). "From The Beacon: Books offer help understanding autism". Hilton Head Island Packet. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Children's book tells York family's story". Reading Eagle (AP). 12 October 1999. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Ward, Marilyn (2002). Voices from the Margins: An Annotated Bibliography of Fiction on Disabilities and Differences for Young People. Greenwood Press. pp. 66–65. ISBN 0-313-31798-4. 
  4. ^ Freedman, Lauren. "Children's literature: What's on the horizons". Western Michigan University. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Howell, Margaret C. (1998). "Gr 1-3". School Library Journal. 44 (9): 175. 
  6. ^ Bousquin, Marilyn; Sutton, Roger (May–June 1998). Horn Book Magazine. 74 (3): 334.  Missing or empty |title= (help)