I remember enjoying reading when I was a kid. I especially loved funny books (like Amelia Bedelia!), any books about animals and pets, and books that made me think and problem solve.
Like the Encyclopedia Brown series. Anybody remember reading those? Encyclopedia Brown’s dad, the town’s police chief, would come home with a mystery that needed solving. And within the course of dinner, Encyclopedia, real name Leroy, would solve it, just using his incredible brain. So smart!! I wanted to be that smart, and I loved it when I figured out the answer before turning the page to the solution!
Reading is pretty much the cornerstone of any child’s education. And reading good books for fun promotes better reading comprehension, better literacy, and better educational outcomes. In other words, reading helps one be a better learner.
And if ever there is a time for reading all the good books you can get your hands on, it’s childhood and teenhood, am I right? All that free time that kids spend in front of a screen when they could be reading amazing books!
While there are lots of books that are recommended for kids for whatever reason, most books do not have characters that reflect ADHD kids. And I feel like the ones that do aren’t very well known. So, I decided to compile a list of fiction books written with ADHD/ADD kids in mind.
Updated 9/28/18 – Now there are more than 60 books in this list! Thank you so much to the readers who have suggested so many great books!!
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HyperKid v Bullborg -The Adventures of HyperKid, Volume 1 – Written by nine year old Emerson Daub and his father, kids and adults will truly enjoy this tale of Morgan Wallace, a smart fourth grade comic book kid whose hyperactivity makes it difficult for him to stay focused in school and sometimes makes him feel self-conscious about being different.
Then one night during the summer before fourth grade, something happens that would cause him to find out what it is like to really be different: the rays of a meteor shower transform him into a cyborg with superpowers. When the family doctor is unable to help turn him back into a normal nine year old kid, Morgan convinces his parents to let him use his new powers as a super hero named HyperKid.
During the first day of school, his primary mission immediately becomes clear: to defend the kids of West Plains Elementary from Brian Bullini, the new kid in school who also has cyborg superpowers and would become HyperKid’s arch rival, BullBorg. The two quickly commence battling each other on the playground during recess and after school, but they would soon realize that they have more in common than being cyborgs, and their rivalry eventually becomes a powerful friendship.
With a cast of humorous characters and hilarious scenes, HyperKid v BullBorg is ultimately an inspiring story about rising above personal obstacles and the loneliness that often accompanies the feeling of being different. It is also a story about friendship and understanding that stems from the recognition that two individuals who come from seemingly different worlds have more in common than not. 4th Grade & up, 150 pages. Available in print and Kindle editions.
The Cyborg at the End of the Universe – The Adventures of HyperKid, Volume 2 – On planet Alania, Alien-Bot wants to make his home world great again by destroying the universe.
In the Tiran Galaxy, planet Kidok has vanished after its star went supernova and there have been no signs of survivors because the oppressive Kidokian government employed hackers and spread fake news to fool the public into thinking that the star was healthy and there was no need to evacuate even though it was obvious to most that something was wrong.
On Earth, West Plains Mayor Maria Martinez has ignored the pleas of citizens who have fallen on hard times in order to focus her full attention on securing campaign contributions from wealthy donors in order to win her next election.
Welcome to the dark new age that Morgan Wallace (a.k.a. “HyperKid”) and Brian Bullini (a.k.a. “BullBorg”) suddenly find themselves living in. In this sequel to the highly acclaimed HyperKid v BullBorg, the super heroes, now in fifth grade, are transported through a wormhole that takes them to the Estarna Galaxy, the oldest part of the universe where intelligent life began.
Alien-Bot is there waiting for them, but with the help of some tech upgrades from a thousand-year-old Viking and some unexpected allies, the heroes are able to prove their valor against a tyrant who shows no regard for anyone outside his very limited view of the universe.
Niagara Falls, Or Does it? – Hank Zipzer, Book 1 – Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, whose undiagnosed dyslexia made him a classic childhood underachiever, the Hank Zipzer series is about the high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy with learning differences.
It’s science project time in Ms. Adolf’s class. This is good news and bad news for Hank-he loves science, but he hates the report part. So Hank turns to TV to take his mind off things. But when the program directory scrolls by too quickly for Hank to know what’s on, he decides to take apart the cable box to try to slow down the crawl. Great! Now Hank has found the perfect science project! But what he wasn’t counting on was his sister’s pet iguana laying eighteen eggs in the disassembled cable box. How is Hank going to get out of this one?
The Hank Zipzer Series is a 17 book set about a boy with ADHD and dyslexia.
Find the full list of Hank Zipzer books HERE!
The Adventures of Phoebe Flower: Stories of a Girl with ADHD – Stories about the ups and downs of a young girl with ADHD.
Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, and a diary to record it all. His teachers scold him, his parents don’t know what to do with him, and his sister is convinced he was raised by triple-tailed monkeys. In short, Marvin’s life is feeling out of control until a secret formula changes everything.
In the same humorous spirit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks! (And I Win, Big Time). Using the “monstercam” and “ST4” techniques developed by Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Arizona, Marvin’s Monster Diary teaches kids how to be mindful, observe their surroundings, and take time to think about their actions. Marvin’s hilarious doodles and diary entries chronicle his delightful adventures, misadventures, and eventual triumph in a funny, relatable way. It’s the one book on ADHD that kids will actually want to read!
Marvin’s Monster Diary also includes a resource section to help parents and teachers implement Dr. Melmed’s methods, plus ST4 reminders that kids can remove, color, and place around the house.
For kids with ADHD, reading Journal of an ADHD Kid is a chance to get to know themselves (and their diagnosis) much better! Toby, the narrator, relates his experiences coping with life as an ADHD kid in an authentic kid’s voice that is sometimes funny, sometimes exasperated, sometimes proud, illustrating the range of emotions that kids with ADHD/ADD feel.
The book provides information in a frank, upbeat, conversational manner and offers thought-provoking questions designed to help readers recognize how ADHD/ADD affects them and then come up with better ideas for handling difficult situations in their own lives.
From facts about an ADHD diagnosis to whether to tell friends and teachers, and from understanding both the good and bad aspects of ADHD to what can help with the disorder, there’s plenty of solid information, emotional support, and tips for kids and teens.
Cory Stories: A Kid’s Book About Living With ADHD – In short statements and vignettes, Cory describes what it’s like to have ADHD: how it affects his relationships with friends and family, his school performance, and his overall functioning. He also describes many ways of coping with ADHD: medication, therapy/counseling, and practical tips for school, home, and friendships.
What Were You Thinking? Learning To Control Your Impulses (Executive Function) – Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses? Find out in this hilarious story by Bryan Smith.
David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can’t tell that he’s making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets.
This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create.
Clementine – Clementine is having not so good of a week.
- On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
- Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her.
- Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal again.
- Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
- Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
- And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.(While this book doesn’t mention ADHD directly, the main character does exhibit attention issues.)
Playing Tyler – YA Fiction, age 13+ – When is a game not a game?
Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.
Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, thats probably not going to get him into college.
Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.
That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
The Lightning Thief – Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 – Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old that has ADHD and Dyslexia and finds out he is a demigod in this modern-day twist to Greek mythology.
This is an amazing 5 book series for ages 10+!
Special thanks to reader Jerrica who suggested the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park (which led me to 2 other series as well):
Junie B. Jones is not identified specifically as having ADHD, but she is very impulsive. Some parents might not approve of some of the words she uses (like “stupid”), but it looks like a very entertaining chapter book series for Grades 1-4, ages 6-9. There are 28 books in the series, and they are sold individually and in sets.
I also was reminded of a series I and my kids have read and loved – the Ramona series, by Beverly Cleary:
Another character that doesn’t have the ADHD label, but exhibits many ADHD traits. Ramona is impulsive, emotionally volatile, has attention issues, and is easily distracted. Beverly Clearly, the author, had a hard time as a child in school and was identified as a “struggling learner.” With the help of a librarian, she eventually found books she liked and became a voracious reader. She became a librarian, and, after being encouraged to write – and also struggling to come up with already written books that kids could identify with – she became a children’s author. Ramona is only one of her beloved character’s, but I feel she needs to be added to this list.
I just discovered the Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos, and haven’t had the chance to read them. They appear to be geared toward middle school and up. The main character, Joey Pigza, has ADHD (and is on medication).
Special thanks to one of my readers, Robin, who brought this next series to my attention:
Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery of Museum Mile – Eddie is not ADHD, but his best friend Jonah is. Jonah’s ADHD gives him a special skill set that helps in solving cases. These books are about a sixth grader that works undercover for the NYPD. It looks like a fun, fast-paces detective series for grades 4-7!
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed compiling and writing it! If you know of any other books for kids with ADHD characters, tell me in the comments below, and I will add it to the list!
What was your favorite book growing up?