About the book

“Helen Bates’s beautifully illustrated book will teach us a lot about girls on the autism spectrum, who have traditionally been overlooked by both researchers and clinicians, likely furthering their sense of isolation and feeling of being misunderstood and unaccepted. A gem of a book that will make girls on the spectrum feel less alone and enable their parents to better understand and accept their difference.”

Simon Baron-Cohen
Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University

“This tender story, told with delicate drawings and honest prose, adds a new, much-needed voice to the world of girls and autism. It’s a lovely book that teaches, enlightens and encourages. Read it and share it, again and again.”

Liane Holliday Willey
Author of Pretending to be Normal and Safety Skills for Asperger Women

“I am happy to endorse A Girl Like Tilly. Girls with ASD are looking for books based on personal experiences so that they can share and contrast their feelings with others. The age range for this group is particularly needed.”

Professor Gillian Baird OBE, Vice President of the National Autistic Society, Vice President of Afasic and consultant in children’s neurodisability

“A charming tale about a little girl, which also features the narratives of Mum, Grandma, Teacher and Psychologist. Although autism is different in everyone, Tilly strongly resonated with me. I also like how timely the story is, as it mentions how the world is ‘learning more now about what autism looks like in girls’. A sweet, charming story that has been enhanced with hand-drawn illustrations.”
Alis Rowe
Entrepreneur and Founder of The Curly Hair Project
“A Girl Like Tilly is a lovely story highlighting a girl’s journey with autism from birth through her school years. Tilly is like many girls I see in my practice – bright and gifted but socially confused and anxious, who is trying to find her place in a neurotypical world.”
Danuta Bulhak-Paterson, Clinical Psychologist and author of I am an Aspie Girl: A book for young girls with autism spectrum conditions
“I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully illustrated and visually gives such a sense of Tilly’s world. We see so many small details of her life and learn why she is who she is. An informative, realistic yet positive read for all autistic girls and their families.”
Sarah Hendrickx
Autistic adult and author of Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder
“Anyone working with girls on the spectrum will treasure this book! It is easy to read and therefore suitable for children too. It provides very descriptive and well-presented information about how it is to be a girl on a spectrum. Ellen Li’s illustrations are excellent and accompany the text in a great manner.”
Despina Giza
Med In Special Education Needs, Autism
“As someone who was once a girl very much like Tilly, I found the main character’s journey relatable and her reactions spot on. For girls who are just discovering that they are on the spectrum, Tilly’s story is both an icebreaker and a comforting reassurance that there are other girls just like them.”
Cynthia Kim
Author of Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
I found 'A Girl Like Tilly' enchanting & so insightful.  I've recommended it to social workers here, & also to parents of autistic children (whatever their ages).  It is such a beautifully written & illustrated book.  You have every reason to feel extremely proud.
Hilary Fifer



By Helen Bates & Illustrated by Ellen Li
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

The world is a very confusing place for Tilly. She tries her best but she just can't seem to understand the rules like everyone else does. As she gets older things get even harder, but perhaps, now she knows about autism, being different won't be so difficult anymore.

This poignant story maps the entire childhood of a bright young girl with autism. Growing up undiagnosed, she finds life increasingly difficult and confusing. Unable to communicate her thoughts and feelings, she retreats further into her own world while her family grows evermore perplexed and concerned. When a psychologist finally explains what makes her special, they can stop focusing on the problems and start to navigate a new way forward for Tilly.

With vividly expressive illustrations and minimal words, this story is a valuable and accessible tool for helping children aged 7-13 and their families understand female autism, and will also be immensely helpful to readers interested in understanding better how autism manifests in girls. Honest, positive, and ultimately hopeful, it is inspired by the real childhood of Helen Bates's daughter Rachel, whose own writing describes her experiences as a girl like Tilly.


Hardback  •  210mm x 148mm  •  72pp
ISBN: 9781785921636