The best ADHD books

5 authors have picked their favorite books about ADHD and why they recommend each book.

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Buzz

By Katherine Ellison,

Book cover of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter. When she and her pre-teen son were both diagnosed with ADHD in the same year it became her personal and professional mission to find out as much as she could about this increasingly common diagnosis. Anyone who knows and loves someone who’s been diagnosed with ADHD would do well to read this book as a guide through the often bewildering landscape of ADHD treatments. As serious and personal as Buzz is, Ellison is a great writer and her memoir is equal parts science, expert interviews and analysis, parenting angst, and humor.

Buzz

By Katherine Ellison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buzz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An absorbing, sharply observed memoir." -- Kirkus Reviews A hilarious and heartrending account of one mother's journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son-a true story sure to beguile parents grappling with a child's bewildering behavior. Popular literature is filled with the stories of self-sacrificing mothers bravely tending to their challenging children. Katherine Ellison offers a different kind of tale. Shortly after Ellison, an award-winning investigative reporter, and her twelve-year-old son, Buzz, were both diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, she found herself making such a hash of parenting that the two of them faced three alternatives: he'd go…

Who am I?

In college, I majored in Human Development and Family Studies and found my calling – to work with kids and create SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) content for them. While still an undergrad, my first book was published (People Are Like Lollipops - a picture book celebrating diversity.) Throughout my career, I’ve continued writing books and creating multimedia content for kids and teens while helping parents support their kids’ character development in the digital age. I read a lot of parenting books, but I don’t always learn something new that opens my heart and mind. Each book I’ve recommended here did that for me. I hope the books on my list will help you on your parenting journey.


I wrote...

Teaching Kids to Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century

By Annie Fox,

Book cover of Teaching Kids to Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century

What is my book about?

We live in a world suffering from empathy deficit disorder where a viral culture of cruelty shapes opinions and behavior. Now and in the future, we desperately need more good people. But where will the next generation of good people come from? From parents who know their job includes teaching kids resilience and compassion. When we help kids develop a moral compass and the social courage to do the right thing, we help make the world a safer, saner, more accepting place for all of us. 

In Teaching Kids to Be Good People, Annie Fox has written a very personal, step-by-step guide to teaching our children to make healthy choices (online and off). Because being good is not enough. We have to do good.

Book cover of Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!: Practical Activities to Help Your Child Manage Emotions, Navigate Social Situations & Reduce Anxiety

So often, executive functioning challenges like impulse control, difficulties with attention, and trouble with organization are thought of as isolated skills to be taught as an “add on” lesson. However, there are easy ways to teach executive functioning skills as an “add IN” to what parents and educators are already doing throughout the day. I recommend this book because it helps teach executive functioning in everyday routines, like cooking, going to the store, and on the playground. I really love the colorful and ready-to-use pages in this book! The author also sells a really cool card deck you can get to take with you “on the go” to boost not only executive functioning but also emotional regulation and social communication.

Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!

By Elizabeth Sautter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Is there a Japanese or Dutch word for "One who loves to geek out on organizational strategies, productivity (and post-its) SO MUCH they focus their career on it?" If there is, um......that's me. I'm Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, and I've been a school psychologist and collector of practical strategies to support students with executive functioning challenges for over 20 years. As the author of The Everything Parents Guide to Executive Functioning and creator of the “How to Teach Children and Teens Executive Functioning Skills” masterclass, my passion is to help kids figure out how they learn, what's getting in the way of their potential, and what to do about it!


I wrote...

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

By Rebecca Branstetter,

Book cover of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

What is my book about?

Being organized. Staying focused. Controlling impulses and emotions. These are some of the basic executive functioning (EF) skills children need to function and succeed as they grow. But what can you do if your child is struggling with one or all of these skills?

As a school psychologist, I’ve worked with hundreds of children and teens with ADHD and executive functioning disorders on improving vital EF skills at school. One piece that was always missing was supporting parents, who want practical tools to support EF at home. That’s why I wrote this book! In this hands-on guide, you'll learn what EF difficulties look like and how you can help your child overcome these challenges.

Book cover of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

I love a book you can pick up and use right away with students with ADHD and executive functioning, which is why I love this book. Filled with practical and easy photocopying, there’s great reproducible forms and handouts. Great for educators and mental health professionals!

Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents

By Peg Dawson, Richard Guare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 100,000 school practitioners and teachers (K-12) have benefited from the step-by-step guidelines and practical tools in this influential go-to resource, now revised and expanded with six new chapters. The third edition presents effective ways to assess students' strengths and weaknesses, create supportive instructional environments, and promote specific skills, such as organization, time management, sustained attention, and emotional control. Strategies for individualized and classwide intervention are illustrated with vivid examples and sample scripts. In a large-size format for easy photocopying, the book includes 38 reproducible forms and handouts. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download…


Who am I?

Is there a Japanese or Dutch word for "One who loves to geek out on organizational strategies, productivity (and post-its) SO MUCH they focus their career on it?" If there is, um......that's me. I'm Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, and I've been a school psychologist and collector of practical strategies to support students with executive functioning challenges for over 20 years. As the author of The Everything Parents Guide to Executive Functioning and creator of the “How to Teach Children and Teens Executive Functioning Skills” masterclass, my passion is to help kids figure out how they learn, what's getting in the way of their potential, and what to do about it!


I wrote...

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

By Rebecca Branstetter,

Book cover of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

What is my book about?

Being organized. Staying focused. Controlling impulses and emotions. These are some of the basic executive functioning (EF) skills children need to function and succeed as they grow. But what can you do if your child is struggling with one or all of these skills?

As a school psychologist, I’ve worked with hundreds of children and teens with ADHD and executive functioning disorders on improving vital EF skills at school. One piece that was always missing was supporting parents, who want practical tools to support EF at home. That’s why I wrote this book! In this hands-on guide, you'll learn what EF difficulties look like and how you can help your child overcome these challenges.

The Classroom Mystery

By Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ana Sanfelippo (illustrator),

Book cover of The Classroom Mystery: A Book about ADHD

This picture book for elementary-aged students is a great one because it helps shift the focus of ADHD as a “deficit” to a potential strength. I’m a big believer in educating children with ADHD and executive functioning about how their brain works differently, which can sometimes be a good thing! This book can be read to students with or without ADHD and includes a page of discussion questions to build awareness and empathy for students with ADHD.

The Classroom Mystery

By Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ana Sanfelippo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Classroom Mystery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Someone has been stealing food from Snowball, the classroom pet bunny! Can Izzy use her SEN Superpowers to track down the culprit and save the day? SEN Superpowers: The Classroom Mystery explores the topic of ADHD with an empowering story and adorable illustrations.

The SEN Superpowers series celebrates the positive traits associated with a range of common SEN (Special Education Needs) conditions, boosting the confidence and strength-awareness of children with those conditions, while also allowing for better understanding and positivity among their peers. Each book includes a page of discussion points about the story, a page of tips for how…

Who am I?

Is there a Japanese or Dutch word for "One who loves to geek out on organizational strategies, productivity (and post-its) SO MUCH they focus their career on it?" If there is, um......that's me. I'm Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, and I've been a school psychologist and collector of practical strategies to support students with executive functioning challenges for over 20 years. As the author of The Everything Parents Guide to Executive Functioning and creator of the “How to Teach Children and Teens Executive Functioning Skills” masterclass, my passion is to help kids figure out how they learn, what's getting in the way of their potential, and what to do about it!


I wrote...

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

By Rebecca Branstetter,

Book cover of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

What is my book about?

Being organized. Staying focused. Controlling impulses and emotions. These are some of the basic executive functioning (EF) skills children need to function and succeed as they grow. But what can you do if your child is struggling with one or all of these skills?

As a school psychologist, I’ve worked with hundreds of children and teens with ADHD and executive functioning disorders on improving vital EF skills at school. One piece that was always missing was supporting parents, who want practical tools to support EF at home. That’s why I wrote this book! In this hands-on guide, you'll learn what EF difficulties look like and how you can help your child overcome these challenges.

Book cover of Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers

Young Gwendolyn Rogers struggles in middle school and with friends. She’s impulsive and makes poor decisions – and longs for a clear diagnosis of ADHD. Author Caela Carter, who has ADHD herself, lets us slip inside her character in such a fascinating way. We see how much Gwendolyn longs to get things right, how much she cares about her family and friends, even though she makes mistakes and does things to annoy them.

Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers

By Caela Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I grew up undiagnosed autistic. I got excellent grades and never caused much trouble, so no one could tell what was going on inside. But sensory overload and confusion over social dynamics kept me in a bewildering muddle. Books and stories are what helped me through! But there were no stories featuring neurodivergent kids like me, so, as an adult, I resolved to write some. I want to bust stigmas and write honest, fun, heartfelt stories for kids who might be going through their own ‘bewildering muddles.’ Now, I'm an award-winning author of several children's novels and a picture book. I'm also co-founder/editor of A Novel Mind, a web resource on mental health and neurodiversity in children's literature.


I wrote...

The Someday Birds

By Sally J. Pla, Julie McLaughlin (illustrator),

Book cover of The Someday Birds

What is my book about?

Twelve-year-old Charlie is a bird-loving autistic boy on a cross-country trip with his siblings – and under the care of a strange young woman named Ludmila, who is taking them to reunite with Charlie’s war-injured dad. Charlie tries to spot the birds that he and his dad had once hoped to find together someday — their “Someday” birds list. He hopes it can be like a gift he can give his dad, to help him feel better. But in the amazing, unexpected adventures along the way, Charlie discovers that “sometimes the birds you look for… are not the birds you find.”

Hailed as “a triumphant debut with the resonance and depth of an instant classic” and translated into many languages, this award-winner is beloved by readers young and old.

Book cover of Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

I was introduced to this book by a client of mine who, due to her severe ADHD, was struggling to manage her life while pursuing her dream of a graduate degree. I got my own copy and have since recommended it to nearly all my personal clients! This book is written with plenty of bullet points, clear pictures, and open space on the pages to help ADHD brains focus and get the information they need. Although the author addresses readers with ADHD specifically, I think the title of this book should be “Organizing Solutions for Everybody!!!” It’s one of the few organizing books I keep on my own bookshelf. 

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD

By Susan Pinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're one of the 10 million American adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), every day is a struggle to keep your home, your office, your electronics, and your calendar organized. Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Edition presents a simple but effective, long-term solution to get you back in control of your life. Written by professional organizer Susan Pinsky, this book outlines a practical, ADHD-friendly organizing approach that emphasizes easy maintenance techniques and methods for maximum efficiency, catering to the specific needs of the ADHD population. Color photos, useful tips, and bulleted lists make this a quick…

Who am I?

In 2012 I started a minimalist journey, inspired by my 1,500 square foot house that could no longer comfortably contain the possessions belonging to me, my partner, and our then 2-year-old triplets. I was a full-time working mom with little time to declutter, yet I knew that if I didn’t change our home, the stress of our stuff would rob us of valuable space and time to enjoy our young family. Over a period of eight months, I let go of about 70% of our possessions, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve since taught hundreds of thousands of busy parents how to do the same through my blog, book, TEDx, keynotes, classes, and coaching.  


I wrote...

Less: Minimalism for Real

By Rose Lounsbury,

Book cover of Less: Minimalism for Real

What is my book about?

In Less, Rose Lounsbury--simplicity coach, keynote speaker, and still-sane mother of triplets--takes a practical, hands-on approach to decluttering your home and simplifying your life. Based on her own life-changing experiment of “going minimalist,” Rose provides a realistic guide to reducing your excess stuff and reclaiming your hard-earned free time.

Less offers attainable steps that you can take to achieve the clutter-free, functional home you crave. Through candid stories from her life as a minimalist blogger-turned-businesswoman, Rose will inspire you to stop spending your time dealing with your stuff and start living a better life with less.

Book cover of The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys)

I love Emma Scott stories not only because they are amazeballs, but also because she’s a pretty incredible human being with her own incredible story. But be warned, her words don’t hold back any punches. I often want to scream and tear my hair out as I’m reading, but in the end, I have the largest smile on my face. Emma Scott knows how to find the perfect ending to her stunning stories.

The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys)

By Emma Scott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing romance for most of my life, and I found the stories I was truly drawn to were the ones where I got to know the characters deeply and personally before they got their hard-earned happily ever after. I want to feel like not only the main characters are my new best friends, but also their friends and families. I want to live beside them as they go through this wild ride called life. So, those are the books I set out to write...stories telling about life’s ups and downs, dreams cast aside and remade, and families found along the way. Achingly heartfelt romance with resilient characters readers will adore.


I wrote...

Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

By L.J. Evans,

Book cover of Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

What is my book about?

He’s a country-rock legend aching for a real connection. She’s a single mom stuck in the loss of her past. A letter brings them together and flips their worlds forever.

A heartfelt slow-burn about the lyrical, healing power of love with vibrant characters who might leave a permanent mark on your soul.

Book cover of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

This middle grade novel doesn’t have anything to do with ants, but it has everything to do with human behavior. And part of what we do when we observe ants and other living creatures is try to understand our own behavior. Harvard, the character in my book, and Joey both have a problem that makes them act out in ways they can’t always control. In an alternate universe, I’d love to see Harvard and Joey care for the ants in Harvard’s ant farm together.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

By Jack Gantos,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joey is a good kid, maybe even a great kid, but his teachers never know what he's going to do next. He sharpens his finger in the pencil-sharpener and swallows his house key. He can't sit still for more than a minute - Joey is buzzing!

Told from Joey's own unique viewpoint by acclaimed American author Jack Gantos, this is an exceptionally funny and touching story about a boy with severe attention deficit disorder (ADD).


Who am I?

Hi! I’m a writer of middle grade and young adult novels. My middle grade novels both have science and nature entwined in the plot. Down to Earth, my debut middle grade novel with Crown Books for Young Readers, has space, meteorites, well drilling, and water dowsing in it. In The Natural Genius of Ants, my second middle grade book, there is a kettle hole pond, a shady hemlock grove, a stand of sugar maples, and an ant farm. While writing the book, I kept many ant farms and cared for a carpenter ant queen and her offspring.


I wrote...

The Natural Genius of Ants

By Betty Culley,

Book cover of The Natural Genius of Ants

What is my book about?

Harvard is used to his father coming home from the hospital and telling him about all the babies he helped. But since he made the mistake at work, Dad has been quieter than usual. And now he is taking Harvard and his little brother, Roger, to Kettle Hole, Maine, for the summer.

In the small town where he grew up, Dad seems more himself. Especially once the family decides to start an ant farm–just like Dad had as a kid! But when the mail-order ants are D.O.A., Harvard doesn’t want Dad to experience any more sadness. Luckily, his new friend Neveah has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around the kitchen instead. But these insects don’t come with directions!

Focused

By Alyson Gerber,

Book cover of Focused

Focused is a beautiful exploration of one girl’s experience coming to terms with an ADHD diagnosis. The writing is rich and filled with emotion, and I very much felt like I was living inside Clea’s head, which gave me incredible insights into her strengths and struggles. That she’s a gifted chess player perfectly illustrates for young readers that neurodiversity isn’t about being broken in any way, it’s not a reflection of intelligence or ability, but simply it’s another way of being in the world, one that requires finding the right tools. 

Focused

By Alyson Gerber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Focused as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I love games; board games, card games, head games*; any kind of situation in which employing strategy is the only way forward. And yet, I’m not a big game player—aside from word games. I’m also endlessly fascinated by the mechanisms of power and how societies arrange themselves. The marriage between writing and understanding politics (in the traditional, not the partisan sense) is my true north. Writing a book in which a chess-like game provides the foundation felt inevitable for me, for what game better explores the dynamics of power and strategy? *I don’t play head games, but I do find manipulation fascinating fodder for writing.


I wrote...

The Verdigris Pawn

By Alysa Wishingrad,

Book cover of The Verdigris Pawn

What is my book about?

The heir to the Land should be strong. Fierce. Ruthless. Yet Beau is the exact opposite. With little control over his future, Beau is kept locked away, spending his days studying his family’s glorious history, and learning to master an outlawed chess-like game. Until the day he meets a girl who shows him the secrets his father has kept hidden. 

For the first time, Beau questions everything he’s been told. After teaming up with a fiery runaway boy, they set off in search of a rebel who might hold the key to setting things right. But it just might be Beau who wields the power he seeks... if he can go from pawn to player before the Land tears itself apart.

Normal Sucks

By Jonathan Mooney,

Book cover of Normal Sucks

This book is for every twentysomething out there with a learning difference. After years of struggling in school, maybe by now you’re feeling a bit beat up and worn down. This book will help you shake it off with a good laugh and a good cry and remind you that adult life and work don't have to be like the classroom. I laughed out loud with every page, except for the ones that broke my heart.

Normal Sucks

By Jonathan Mooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Normal Sucks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Mooney blends anecdote, expertise, and memoir to present a new mode of thinking about how we live and learn - individually, uniquely, and with advantages and upshots to every type of brain and body. As a neuro-diverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn't learn to read until he was twelve, the realisation that that he wasn't the problem - the system and the concept of normal were - saved Mooney's life and fundamentally changed his outlook. Here he explores the toll that being not normal takes on kids and adults when they're trapped in environments that label…

Who am I?

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia, who specializes in adult development and in twentysomethings in particular. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” is among the most watched of all time.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

What is my book about?

The Defining Decade has changed the way millions of twentysomethings think about their twenties--and themselves. Revised and updated for a new generation, let it change how you think about you and yours. Drawing from more than two decades of work with thousands of clients and students, Dr. Jay weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to take the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood—if we use the time well.

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