SM Books

Here’s some books that you might be interested in – some are about the experience of living with selective mutism and others include advice and tips on treatments.

Children's Books

Katie-Jane Books by Kathryn Harper

A series of Katie-Jane children‘s picture books written by Kathryn Harper were inspired by her own experience with selective mutism. Below she tells us a little about herself and a few of her books: “When I was a child I found it impossible to connect with the words that would explain the way I felt. I grew up feeling confused and misunderstood. My sense of self suffered as I tried to fit in and find acceptance. I don‘t want that for anyone else … and so these books are my way of helping children, parents and teachers who are experiencing similar struggles.”

“Am I a Chameleon?” is a story about being shy, fitting in and finding out who you are. In this book, Katie-Jane meets several creatures all with differing opinions about who they think she is. The adventure finishes with a realisation that no-one else can determine that but herself.

“Have You Seen My Tail?” is a story about embracing change. In this story, a bored Katie-Jane meets a butterfly, a frog and a snake who are all struggling to accept the recent big changes in their lives. Different perspectives help all four characters to accept their own situations, and embrace change in the way life offers it to them.

“The Cat Got My Tongue!” is a story about communication and self-expression. This book is dedicated to all those touched by selective mutism, and follows Katie-Jane as she explores different methods of communication inspired by the animals she observes along her way. With fun rhyming verse and beautiful illustrations, the books are designed to be read as fun stories – but also, when chosen they can be explored more deeply to help understand and unlock emotions and difficulties that are related to the concepts.

These books may be purchased online at

Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet by Tom Neely

Tom E Neely 1 This book is about a little girl who has trouble speaking at school – something that a lot of children with SM can relate to. Tom Neely tells us more: “Based on my experience with my own daughter, it’s about a talkative little girl who struggles with social anxiety and sudden shyness at school. At home she is chatty, but at school she goes on a “Word-Speaking Diet”. Angelina (the real life Mary-Ellen) is now a 14 year old freshman in high school and she is thriving! She is a straight A student and a member of the cheerleading team. Perhaps this will offer some hope to parents who worry if their kids will ever come out of their shells.”

This book can be purchased on Amazon

Charli’s Choices by Marian B. Moldan, LCSW-R

“Charli never says a word outside her house. She only speaks to her mother and father, and if her nana and poppy come over, it takes her a long time to say any words. One day, Charli’s best friend from school comes over to play. Lily, who brings a big sack of toys to share, must rely on Charli’s mother to ask choice questions that encourage Charli to practice talking. As her mother gives her choices, Charli soon begins to open up and talk to Lily. Charli chooses which colored marker she wants to use, what she wants to draw, and whether she wants to borrow one of Lily’s markers. Charli and Lily are having so much fun!

Charli’s Choices is a beneficial, interactive children’s book for educators, children, and parents that offers valuable insight into selective mutism as a little girl’s mother teaches her, through specific questions, how to communicate successfully with others.”

Click here for more details

Can’t Talk? Want to Talk! by Jo Levett

When outgoing Lily meets a little girl who is too afraid to talk in school or other places outside of her home, she befriends the silent girl, their friendship grows, and the silent girl feels comfortable enough to talk to her new friend.

This beautifully illustrated story book is for parents, family members and teachers who are connected to a child with selective mutism. To be read to or by children aged 3 to 8. To be used by parents, preschool settings and early years settings.

For more info visit:

To purchase visit Amazon

Parents and Professionals

Tackling Selective Mutism – A Guide for Professionals and Parents

Edited by Benita Rae Smith and Alice Sluckin

SMIRA book This is edited by Alice Sluckin, the founder of SMIRA, and Benita Rae Smith, a retired Speech & Language Therapist and Senior Lecturer and a long-standing member of SMIRA’s Committee. This book is not a treatment manual, but rather a book to dip into when considering various aspects of Selective Mutism. Topics covered include related and co-morbid conditions, interventions, strategies and supports as well as medication, approaches within school and community settings, effective care pathways, legal issues and much more. This should prove an essential book for parents and professionals wishing to broaden their knowledge of SM and meet the challenges involved in treatment.

Royalties from this book are shared between SMIRA and AFASIC.

Published September 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN 978 1 84905 393 8, Softback, pp.310 rrp £19.99

Click here to purchase on Amazon

Selective Mutism – An Assessment and Intervention Guide for Therapists, Educators & Parents by Aimee Kotrba, PHD

“Selective Mutism: A Guide for Therapists, Educators, and Parents provides an effective, research-based behavioural intervention plan for the successful treatment of selective mutism. Based on years of clinical experience and expertise, author Dr. Aimee Kotrba provides not only assessment and treatment information, but also case examples, easy-to-implement workbook sheets, and informative handouts.

Dr. Kotrba is an advocate of team treatment – parents, schools, and mental health professionals working together to intervene with selective mutism – and this book provides intervention strategies for all team members, as well as a comprehensive treatment plan that can be individualised to any child. The techniques included emphasize a gradual, stepwise approach to increased speech, as well as fun and engaging activities that can be used at each step of treatment. Tips for engaging and motivating children and teens are included to improve treatment outcomes.”

This book can be purchased on Amazon

Suffering in Silence; Breaking Through Selective Mutism by Donna Mac, LCPC

Donna MacDonna Mac1“Mac is a licensed clinical therapist working in a therapeutic day school, treating children diagnosed with many mental health conditions. In addition, she is the mom of identical twin daughters diagnosed with selective mutism. In the last 18 months since her twins’ SM diagnosis, she has put in a lot of hard work,advocacy, and dedication to help them reduce their ineffective symptoms, in addition to shedding many tears- both sad and happy. Mac’s goal is to offer other parents a sense of universality to know they are not alone with this disorder, as well as offer a sense of hope as their children break out of their silence.

Mac is able to write about the topic of selective mutism from three different perspectives: as a clinical therapist, detailing out critical treatment techniques; as a school professional, helping people understand how to help these children decrease anxiety at school to become verbal with staff and peers; and as a mom, sharing crucial information on parenting strategies to help these children succeed both at home and in social situations. When academia meets personal experience, an excellent resource is written.”

Visit her website for details on the upcoming manuscript at

Can’t Talk? Want to Talk! by Jo Levett

Also listed under children’s books above, this book is partly a children’s book and partly advice pages for parents, teachers and friends.

For more info visit:

To purchase visit Amazon

The 504 Plan For Selective Mutism504 Plan

School survival accommodations specifically for the selectively mute student, families, school personnel, and all professionals. Filled with quality information detailing appropriate educational programs and interventions. Includes what a 504 plan is, how to develop one, advantages over Special Education, example of a 504 Plan, how to ensure implementation compliance, how to avoid Special Education “labels”, and much more!

Personal Experiences

Selective Mutism In Our Own Words – Experiences in Childhood and Adulthood by Carl Sutton and Cheryl Forrester

This book is a compilation of people’s experiences with SM. Carl tells us more:
“This book in an unlikely thing indeed: a book brimming full of the thoughts and first-hand experiences of people with Selective Mutism (SM) – people who silently struggle to speak in public and/or certain family situations; people who avoid, at all costs, highlighting themselves because they feel so uncomfortable about public or personal attention and scrutiny; people who tend to seek the safety of silence and invisibility (though it has to be said being silent is a very self-defeating way of achieving invisibility in a world full of yatterers.)

A few years ago I would have broken into a sweat, very much discomfited by writing about my own experience of SM. I would tie myself up in knots trying to figure it all out – tracing palpable walls and psychological structures in my head, and trawling every single one of my childhood memories for a full explanation of my muteness – a situational behaviour I have experienced, rather than chosen to do, all my memorable life. As anyone with SM would tell you, however, SM is very difficult to understand – even if you experience it yourself. Therapists stand even less of a chance to understand it than we do! Even then, when I did finally understand my own experience (to the point where I could commit to one understanding or another of myself and it) when I wrote something down, I would tear it up and throw my writing in the bin. I could not deal with the thought of another person reading what I’d written. For me, a fear of writing publicly and situational fear of speech are precisely the same thing: it’s all SM. In fact, Selective Mutism is a misnomer: one can be mute on paper too. SM can affect absolutely every form of communication – body language, included.

However, here I am – here we all are in fact (amazing people who have experienced SM themselves, their especial parents, and a number of especial teachers and therapists too) – writing candidly about SM and about our (or their child’s or client’s) inability to communicate in ‘public’ situations for, in principle, the whole world to read.”

Persona Medusa: An Embodied Tale of Anxiety by D. J. Sharry

“The chapter structure represents a trip through a jungle while being stalked by a tiger to represent the fight or flight response and is based on an Actors exercise for freeing the voice called the spinal roll.”

Imagine you are walking through a savannah. You hear a low growl. You see a tiger burst out from the long grass. There is no where to run. Our hero hears that low growl in every social situation and is standing in front of that tiger everytime he is expected to speak. This millenia old survival mechanism gone awry is known as selective mutism. Being mute in a social world despite having the ability to speak has led to puzzlement from people, some have attacked, some have befriended. Mostly our hero’s life has run parallel to the intersecting lifes of others but inevitably paths cross. The memories of these crossings have become objects in our hero’s head where his mind is stuck. Our hero is getting married and is expected to give a wedding speech. He must deal with these objects and find his voice. Our hero takes a journey out of his head. He travels down the vertebrae of his spine. Along the way he encounters these objects of obstruction which he looks back on through the imagined reflective pool in his pelvic basin. Each object is illuminated and slayed of their menace. Our hero comes to rest at the base of his spine in the sacral nerve plexi, his animal instinctual center. He puts his arm around the stalking tiger and both predator and prey make peace with each other and unite. Our hero steps up to make his speech.

I Have Something To SaySomething to say by Kathryn Harper

An exploration into the heart and mind of my selective mutism.

This book is a blend of my memories, insights, beliefs and dreams … openly sharing the person I have become not only in spite of, but because of selective mutism.

Whether you are a sufferer yourself or a parent, care-giver, teacher, or professional, I hope that this book will give you some insights, comfort, ideas and encouragement.

More books will be added soon!

If you have read or heard about a book that you would like to recommend please let me know by emailing me:

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