Changing the Climate of Autistic Representation One Children’s Book At A Time

MOOJAG and the Auticode Secret is a children’s book, but to me it felt like a children’s book that adults were meant to read. The refreshing setting of a post-apocalyptic world without immediate danger allowed for the representation of autism and neurodivergence in a way I had never seen before. It encourages neurodivergent children to embrace their identity, without ever being patronising. MOOJAG’s setting and context as “climate fiction,” while childlike and fun, is crucial to the plot’s work of framing the message that neurodiversity should be more than simply accommodated – it should be celebrated. 

The book’s narrative of what it’s like to live as a neurodivergent child is accessible, but deeply profound. Much of this is because the story is so plot-driven. Instead of trying to educate the reader, it gives unparalleled insight into neurodivergent joy and struggle. This is a book for autistic children and adults alike to see themselves in and feel powerful. MOOJAG discusses sensitive topics such as the ableism and discrimination that neurodivergent people face, but this is never underplayed or overly hardhitting. I was really happy to see that neurotypes other than autism, such as ADHD, were considered, since they are often side-lined in media. 

The characters have real agency that is never in spite of their neurodivergence, rather it is undoubtedly shaped by it, and is integral to the characters’ way of being. Every character recognises this and empowers their peers through it, even if those peers might struggle more. They are united in their quest to navigate an ableist world that wants them to feel broken. While autism and neurodivergence were absolutely the centre of the book, the characters were developed far beyond mainstream stereotypes of autism. Mainstream autistic fiction is oversaturated with older male savants, but in MOOJAG, the portrayal of a young autistic female main character is perfect. I don’t think representation this good could ever be seen outside of an own-voice perspective like Nema’s, and I’m confident that MOOJAG will pave the way for the neurodivergent representation we need and deserve. 

Pre-order MOOJAG and the Auticode Secret at Waterstones and Amazon.

Words: Beatrix Livesey-Stephens

—— Like what you see? Consider supporting us! ———
You can support our independent feminist arts journalism for as little as $1 per month on Patreon: www.patreon.com/artificialwomb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

MultiPlay

The Network for Multidisciplinary Research on Digital Play and Games

GLOBAL STREET ART

SUPPORTING ARTISTS GLOBALLY, BASED IN LONDON

Longbarrow Press

Poetry from the Edgelands

The Taylor Trash

Misadventures in Arts Journalism by Amy Taylor

KOIQOUISE

Beauty & Fashion

Ana Hine, Artist's CV

Last Updated 2020

NUJ Training Scotland

Journalism training for the media in Scotland

Get In Her Ears

Promoting and Supporting Women in Music

HERA

Harris Education & Recreation Association

Sez Thomasin

words, words, words.

The Feminist Fringe

The Fringe through feminist-tinted glasses

Genevieve B

Uploading my work for the world to see.

Kathryn Briggs

maker of arty comics

Charlotte Farhan Art - Creating Change

Visual Artist, Published Illustrator, Writer, owner / editor of ASLI Magazine, activist to end rape culture and campaigner to end stigma against mental illness. #artsaveslives

Tales of the Maverick Goddess

My Thoughts, My Words, My Sincerity...

Dundee Urban Orchard

Growing in a greenspace near you

LIAM DUNN

ART STORAGE

%d bloggers like this: