6 Best Books for SLPs

If you're an avid reader, you may be creating personal book lists of must-reads in the new year. And as a busy SLP, you want to be sure those titles are worth your time and energy. At AMN Healthcare, we've compiled a list of six compelling titles to round out this list of the best books for SLPs. Whether you want to crack open a new book for an upcoming vacation or want one to recommend to a client or family member, you can find plenty of great selections.


1. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly By Jean-Dominique Bauby, Translated By Jeremy Leggatt (1997)

First published in 1997, this memoir, written by the former editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, recounts his harrowing experience of having a stroke at 45 years old. He lapsed into a coma and awoke 20 days later, afflicted with "locked-in syndrome" — physically aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed aside from being able to move his left eyelid. The entire book was written with the help of a transcriber and by Bauby blinking his left eyelid. The average single word took about 2 minutes to blink.

No matter what setting you work in, this fascinating memoir is a must-read for SLPs who work with adults or children with communication disorders.

2. Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's By John Elder Robison (2007)

John Robison, even as a child, had longed to connect with other people, but he was consistently labeled as a "social deviant" throughout most of his life until he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at 40 years old. This book is equally funny, dark and moving, and it makes our list of best books for SLPs because it's perfect for them and is also a great read for teachers, colleagues, family members and clients. It may make a particularly good recommendation for families who have children on the autism spectrum.

3. Still Alice By Lisa Genova (2007)

Written by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, this fiction story is about 50-year-old Alice Howland, an esteemed professor at Harvard, and her descent into Alzheimer's disease. SLPs who work directly with Alzheimer's patients are sure to relate to the consequences of this heartbreaking diagnosis and one woman's struggle with maintaining her independence throughout her journey. It's also a great recommendation for family members, colleagues and friends. Bonus: for other stories by Genova, check out Left Neglected, Love Anthony and Inside the O'Briens.

4. Paperboy By Vince Vawter (2013)

Named a Newbery Medal Honor book in 2014, this is the story of a boy growing up in 1959 Memphis who can barely say his own name without stuttering. He takes over a friend's paper route for a month in the summer, and he knows he'll have to communicate with many different customers and have to cope with the implicit challenges. While classified as a young adult novel, this book is an excellent read for practicing SLPs, who may be able to relate Victor's challenges to their own patients.

5. Icy Sparks By Gwyn Hyman Rubio (1998)

Named an Oprah's Book Club selection in 2001, this fiction story centers around a 10-year-old girl named Icy suffering from Tourette's Syndrome. Set in Eastern Kentucky during the late '50s and early '60s, this book is Rubio's first novel. Icy is eventually admitted to a mental institution for observation and is viewed as an outcast. SLPs may enjoy this haunting story, especially if they work with patients who are afflicted with Tourette's.

6. The Man Who Lost His Language: A Case Of Aphasia By Sheila Hale (2002)

This non-fiction account of one couple's journey in dealing with aphasia is a great choice for SLPs, especially those who work in rehab or skilled settings with patients who have this disorder. In this UK-based book, Sir John Hale suffers a stroke that leaves him unable to walk, speak or write. His wife, Sheila follows every possible path to try and seek knowledge about his condition in hopes he may one day recover. This may be a great book to recommend to family members of people with aphasia and may provide new insight about the impairment to SLPs new to the field.

Hopefully, these titles give you something to get started with as you formulate your reading list. Many of them can help you relate better to patients, families and your SLP role as a whole.


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