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My friend Sam

My friend Sam

a story about introducing a child with autism to nursery school

Author: Liz Hannah


Inc VAT £0.00

Format: A4 Paperback
Availability: We regret that orders cannot be accepted during the coronavirus outbreak
My friend Sam - a story about introducing a child with autism to nursery school
Liz Hannah
Published by
The National Autistic Society

Revised edition published in August 2014 at a new lower price.

This accessible and affectionate book uses simple wording and delightful colour pictures to describe some of the difficulties that young children with autism may have, and also some of the things they are very good at. The large print and drawings mean that the book can be used with a whole group in circle time.


Print format
Full colour, illustrated by Steve Lockett
Number of pages
First publication
Last revised
Product number
ISBN / supplier product code
Dispatch partner
Primary distribution partner
Typical delivery
7 working days
Subject Education and training Participation
Edited reviews


This is a lovely picture book designed to explain to young children the difficulties and strengths that a child with autism might have. The book is written in the first person from the point of view of a little boy who has a best friend, Sam, with autism. 

The simple text and the big bold illustrations make this book very accessible to young children. We see the way the two boys interact in the nursery in settings which will be familiar to small children. We see that in some ways Sam is like the other children and enjoys riding his bike or playing cars but in other ways he is different and finds it difficult to share or sit still at story time. 

Although the book does not contain any groundbreaking information, it is an ideal introduction for children in a mainstream setting to begin to understand and empathise with children who may have autism or be different from others. The illustrations alone could provide the basis for some rich circle time discussion:  eg the picture showing Sam using a PECS card to show that he wants to play with the bubbles could be a starting point for a discussion about different ways of communicating. The book is particularly strong at offering suggestions to children about how to interact with children who have autism and the main character explains that he doesn't shout at Sam, he tells an adult if there is a problem.

Although the book is aimed at nursery aged children, it could be used with children up to the end of Key Stage 1. The book is definitely a useful tool for teachers in mainstream settings and shows a positive portrayal of a character with autism as well as being a great starting point for circle time and discussion.

Miriam Smith
Teacher of deaf children and former support assistant working with children with autism


My friend Sam is a book created to introduce a child with autism to nursery or young children in a school setting. The book introduces young children to the differences they may see in an autistic child’s behaviour in the classroom in a sensitive and informative way. It is written from the point of view of Sam’s, the autistic child, best friend which helps young children relate to the characters better than if it were from an adult perspective.

The book addresses early on that everyone who knows Sam “soon learns that he is different”. The story then goes on to explain the reasons for these differences in a childfriendly way with bright, eyecatching pictures to illustrate.

The story looks at different aspects of an autistic child’s needs and behaviours, including things they may need in the classroom like pictures to help them to ask for things and issues that other children may need to be understanding about - like Sam not liking loud noises or finding it hard to understand sharing.

The book has a good balance of celebrating the exceptional things an autistic child like Sam can achieve as well as explaining the difficulties they may have in their day to day school life that the children can help with. The text is effective for use in circle times where the children can then ask free questions about the content of the story.

Overall, the book is a useful tool for class teachers to introduce a child with autism into a nursery or infant setting and to refer back to in circle times to help young children understand the needs, exceptional talents and differences of an autistic child. A useful resource for teachers.

Emma Jarrold, Year 1 teacher at Outwood Primary School, Stockport, Cheshire, in AuKids.

Autism Helpline Number: 0808 800 4104
Last updated: 24/03/2020 16:03:41