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  • Published: 20 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241508794
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.99

A Different Sort of Normal

The beautiful, and beautifully illustrated, true story of one girl's journey growing up autistic, and the challenges of navigating the 'normal' world around her

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.

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.

  • Published: 20 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241508794
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.99

Praise for A Different Sort of Normal

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

A funny, fascinating illustrated memoir that conveys - via joyous tangential leaps, vivid doodles and informative notes - how it felt to grow up autistic and undiagnosed . . . a rewarding and highly entertaining read


Insightful, accessible and easy to navigate, this is an essential book for autistic and allistic (non-autistic) readers of all ages


A hugely engaging, funny and informative account of being neurodivergent



The I Paper

An amazing, life-changing hug of a book I wish I had when I was growing up. It's funny, eye-opening and supremely reassuring and an important, myth-busting look into autism and how that experience can vary so much. For anyone and EVERYONE who has ever felt different. Time to reclaim it and celebrate it

Rashmi Sirdeshpande

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

Love Reading 4 Schools

What a difference Abigail Balfe's new book is going to make for so many people! A Different Sort of Normal is a wonderful blend of humour, information & reassuring comfort

Emma Perry

I REALLY love it. It's the book I wish I'd had when I was a kid (I'd have known I was autistic immediately, right down to the cats). Buy it for your kids, your parents, your grandparents. Mostly buy it for yourself

Holly Smale

Highly illustrated, beautiful and an essential book for young autistic people

Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Discover more

Puffinalia Magazine 2022, Issue 1

Puffinalia for Educators.

How to be an ally for autistic people

Download the poster by Abigail Balfe.

Abigail Balfe Q&A

Meet the author-illustrator and autism advocate behind A Different Sort of Normal.