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A Different Sort of Normal

Written by Abigail Balfe

Illustrated by Abigail Balfe

Key Stage 2 Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on A Different Sort of Normal

A factual book full of useful hints and tips for all in navigating this world and all its different types of people

Abigail Balfe is autistic and has written this honest, amusing and very useful book about some of the things she was aware of as she was growing up.  


Balfe knew she was different all the way through her childhood and youth – and this book is full of observations on how she navigated her younger years.  It was not until she was an adult that her diagnosis of autism was delivered – which suddenly explained a great deal of confusing issues from her youth. 


The book is full of all the milestones of a young life from changing schools to puberty to friendships to children’s birthday parties – and how someone who feels different coped with all those stages. Written with an honesty and openness that is refreshing – and full of quirky illustrations by the author - this is an information book one can sit and read like a novel, as well as using it to dip into for information on all sorts of topics to do with neurodiversity.  It is packed full of useful descriptions and definitions, has a thorough glossary which doubles as an index in a very practical way whilst also signposting websites and information sources for further investigation. 


A book for everyone to read (adults too), not just for people with neurodiversity issues – this book is a great explainer, full of empathy for different situations, which explodes many misconceptions about autistic people along the way! I wish I had had this available many years ago when teaching an autistic child on a one-to-one basis.  

Tricia Adams

A Different Sort of Normal Synopsis

I'm not like the other children in my class . . . and that's an actual scientific FACT.

Hi! My name is Abigail, and I'm autistic. But I didn't know I was autistic until I was an adult-sort-of-person.

This is my true story of growing up in the confusing 'normal' world, all the while missing some Very Important Information about myself. There'll be scary moments involving toilets and crowded trains, heart-warming tales of cats and pianos, and funny memories including my dad and a mysterious tub of ice cream. Along the way you'll also find some Very Crucial Information about autism. If you've ever felt different, out of place, like you don't fit in . . . this book is for you.

I've never really felt like an actual-adult-person, as you'll soon discover in this book... 

Told through the author's remarkable words, and just as remarkable illustrations, this is the book for those who've never felt quite right in the 'normal' world. Very important, very funny and very informative. This is the book the world needs right now.

A Different Sort of Normal Press Reviews

This book is what I needed as a kid! Empathetic, joyful and beautifully authentic. I loved it! - Elle McNicoll, author of A Kind of Spark

Funny, poignant and wise, with a rich seam of understanding and empathy . . . one of the best children's non-fiction books I've read in a long time - The Bookseller

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241508794
Publication date: 22nd July 2021
Author: Abigail Balfe
Illustrator: Abigail Balfe
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 240 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2
Topics: Disability / Special Needs, Personal Social Health Economic

About Abigail Balfe

Abigail is a London-based writer, illustrator and creative producer. Original storytelling has always been at the heart of Abigail's career and she has spent a decade leading social media campaigns for some of the biggest TV & entertainment clients in the world. Abigail also used to perform stand-up comedy and won several tiny trophies for her onstage humour; which involved life-size illustrations, ridiculous songs and rambling stories about her family.

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