The Reason I Jump
The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
Naoki Higashida and Others
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“One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg Businessweek • Bookish
FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.
Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.
In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.
Praise for The Reason I Jump
“A rare road map into the world of severe autism . . . [Higashida’s] insights . . . unquestionably give those of us whose children have autism just a little more patience, allowing us to recognize the beauty in ‘odd’ behaviors where perhaps we saw none.”—People (3-1/2 stars)
“Small but profound . . . [Higashida’s] startling, moving insights offer a rare look inside the autistic mind.”—Parade
“This is an intimate book, one that brings readers right into an autistic mind—what it’s like without boundaries of time, why cues and prompts are necessary, and why it’s so impossible to hold someone else’s hand. Of course, there’s a wide range of behavior here; that’s why ‘on the spectrum’ has become such a popular phrase. But by listening to this voice, we can understand its echoes.”—Chicago Tribune (Editor’s Choice)
“Amazing times a million.”—Whoopi Goldberg, People
“The Reason I Jump is a Rosetta stone. . . . This book takes about ninety minutes to read, and it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human.”—Andrew Solomon, The Times (London)
From the Hardcover edition.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
I have read over 60 books about autism since my son was diagnosed five years ago. I learned more about my son from this book than all of the other books combined. Everyone that has anything to do with my son is reading it now. It is a must read for anyone that loves someone with autism and wants to better understand why they behave the way they do.
Extremely Well Written Book on Autism by a 13 Year Old Autistic Child.
I found this book extremely well written and wish I had read this book years ago when my 21 year old son was first diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome on the Autism spectrum. I feel I could have understood him so much better at the time when he was in school especially elementary and junior high.
There were times when I never fully understood what he was going through with Aspergers syndrome (Never going to bed at a reasonable hour when he was a 4 or 5 years old and doing this night after night after night for close to three months wearing myself and my ex-wife down physically and mentally, having an aversion to having steel buttons and zippers on his school and play clothes and freaking out when he had to wear pants with steel snaps when they touched his bare skin, and always wanting to wear sweat pants and t-shirts whether it was a hot 90 or frigid 25 degrees out and becoming upset when he had to wear regular everyday clothes ! ). All of these behaviors were answered in the book by a 13 year old Autistic author along with other questions I could never figure out by myself , with my ex-wife or school officials , or medical professionals who were doing their best to assist my son with his Autism spectrum disability.
Finally, If you have a son or daughter or a child of a relative who has Aspergers syndrome or any other disorder on the Autism spectrum I would highly recommend reading this book. It will give you a fascinating insight into a world of unique individuals who can contribute so much to our world and who want to be understood as human beings not as special needs individuals. I know I have become a better person for reading this book because I feel I truly know what my son is facing now from a lay perspective.
Why I Jump
As the numbers of children diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum continue to rise, it is vital that the general public, as well as educators, learn more about this disorder. This book is a powerful statement supporting the need for understanding and compassion for individuals with special needs. As a teacher who has worked with students with Autism Spectrum disorders, and as the grandmother of a beautiful grandson who has autism, I know how damaging ignorance and disinformation can be to the spirit of special needs individuals. One occupational therapy provider actually told me that there was no such thing as vestibular disassociation. I wish this wonderful book had been available at that time so he could further his obviously limited education. Naoki is to be congratulated for opening a window into a special world so that the rest of us can better understand.
Kudos to the illustrators for capturing the essence of Naoki's story through their beautiful artwork. David Mitchell also deserves praise for bring this inspiring story to a larger audience. his is truly a book worth reading.