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The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism Paperback – March 22, 2016
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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
“Please don’t assume that The Reason I Jump is just another book for the crowded autism shelf. . . . 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. . . . I had to keep reminding myself that the author was a thirteen-year-old boy when he wrote this . . . because the freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom. 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 (U.K.)
“Extraordinary, moving, and jeweled with epiphanies.”—The Boston Globe
“Small but profound . . . [Naoki Higashida’s] startling, moving insights offer a rare look inside the autistic mind.”—Parade
“Surely one of the most remarkable books yet to be featured in these pages . . . With about one in 88 children identified with an autism spectrum disorder, and family, friends, and educators hungry for information, this inspiring book’s continued success seems inevitable.”—Publishers Weekly
“We have our received ideas, we believe they correspond roughly to the way things are, then a book comes along that simply blows all this so-called knowledge out of the water. This is one of them. . . . An entry into another world.”—Daily Mail (U.K.)
“Every page dismantles another preconception about autism. . . . Once you understand how Higashida managed to write this book, you lose your heart to him.”—New Statesman (U.K.)
“Astonishing. The Reason I Jump builds one of the strongest bridges yet constructed between the world of autism and the neurotypical world. . . . There are many more questions I’d like to ask Naoki, but the first words I’d say to him are ‘thank you.’”—The Sunday Times (U.K.)
“This is a guide to what it feels like to be autistic. . . . In Mitchell and Yoshida’s translation, [Higashida] comes across as a thoughtful writer with a lucid simplicity that is both childlike and lyrical. . . . Higashida is living proof of something we should all remember: in every autistic child, however cut off and distant they may outwardly seem, there resides a warm, beating heart.”—Financial Times (U.K.)
“Higashida’s child’s-eye view of autism is as much a winsome work of the imagination as it is a user’s manual for parents, carers and teachers. . . . This book gives us autism from the inside, as we have never seen it. . . . [Higashida] offers readers eloquent access into an almost entirely unknown world.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“The Reason I Jump is a wise, beautiful, intimate and courageous explanation of autism as it is lived every day by one remarkable boy. Naoki Higashida takes us ‘behind the mirror’—his testimony should be read by parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and anybody who knows and loves an autistic person. I only wish I’d had this book to defend myself when I was Naoki’s age.”—Tim Page, author of Parallel Play and professor of journalism and music at the University of Southern California
“[Higashida] illuminates his autism from within. . . . Anyone struggling to understand autism will be grateful for the book and translation.”—Kirkus Reviews
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. The subject of an award-winning Japanese television documentary in 2014, he continues to give presentations throughout the country about his experience of autism.
David Mitchell is the author of seven novels, including Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, and, most recently, Slade House. KA Yoshida was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, and specialized in English poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University. KA Yoshida and David Mitchell live in Ireland with their two children.
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In fact I wish that my brother had the experience of being trained to use the special keyboard. So many things are locked inside for my brother but Nagoki been has let some of them out via the keyboard.
My brother also jumps. He always does this just before he starts a walk. He also loves to walk in places filled with nature. He wanted to go to a park when I asked him where on our latest visit. I have read quite a few books written by Asperger's but this one by a boy who has autism rings home for me. My brother can speak but usually he does not initiate any conversation, he is limited to a few words of a reply. I can see the struggle that he goes through when he is trying to "grab" something to say.
I was aware of the overload of senses but I didn't realize that the floors could be tilting for him. That must be why he touches the wall here and there trying to get some balance.
I thought that the author really conveyed how regular people can hurt people with autism's feelings. I knew that from being with my brother. I have heard people talk about my brother in front of him and that is mean. I know the author would feel the same way.
This book is very valuable for understanding autism and I wish that caregivers in group homes and others who work with people who have autism would read this book.
When I read this book, I truly wanted more. I am hoping that there will be a place in the future where we can send out questions to you. I have so much more that I want to learn. If you have a family member who has autism please read this book.
I received this book as a win from FirstReads but that in no way influenced my thoughts or feelings in the review.
“I imagine a normal person’s memory is arranged continuously, like a line. My memory, however, is more like a pool of dots. I’m always “picking up” these dots—by asking my questions—so I can arrive back at the memory that the dots represent.”
But, you’re still peering into the mind of a 13yo. There was not a ton of depth. Naoki-san repeats several mantras including “striving to do his best.” The book does challenge you to appreciate differences. “The conclusion is that both emotional poverty and an aversion to company are not symptoms of autism but consequences of autism, its harsh lockdown on self-expression and society’s near-pristine ignorance about what’s happening inside autistic heads.” As Naoki-san confirms, “I can’t believe that anyone born as a human being really wants to be left all on their own, not really.” Most telling for me was his confession that he wouldn’t want to ‘become normal.’ As he wisely states: “To give the short version, I’ve learned that every human being, with or without disabilities, needs to strive to do their best, and by striving for happiness you will arrive at happiness. For us, you see, having autism is normal—so we can’t know for sure what your “normal” is even like. But so long as we can learn to love ourselves, I’m not sure how much it matters whether we’re normal or autistic.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I bought your book originally for a college class and began reading for pleasure after a long day at work. I knew Autism was a disability that most people look down on because I live with a younger brother on the spectrum. I was prepared to read the same information I’d seen in books my parents had purchased in the past to help them raise him to be a person who could survive in modern day society.
I soon found out that I was completely wrong about this. “The Reason I Jump” was nothing compared to those books. Unlike my parent’s books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this through every page turn. Print media written by someone that has Autism, seems more helpful in comparison to something written about Autism by someone who has never lived a day in a person with Autism’s shoes.
In a media course I am currently taking at Corban University in Oregon, I have learned that the society in the United States has a transmission of culture with the media. We tend to pay attention to things that capture our attention at that very moment, instead of focusing on what is right in front of us. Our societies’ greatest concern is not helping people with Autism live to the fullest of their abilities, but to be how great can we make the next smartphone or tablet so we can live in a more lavish lifestyle.
We should be living a lifestyle that is not conformed. Romans 12: 2 tells us, “And not be conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This is a passage that speaks the truth about how we should live, which is that we must learn our priorities and help others in need, instead of helping ourselves, therefore, not being conformists to the media around us.
Your amazing book helped opened my eyes in such a way that it has helped me form a better relationship with my brother. I can now understand why he does certain things throughout the day that naturally make other people confused. He and I can share moments and live lives fuller since I have read your book.
Most recent customer reviews
Thank you Naoki.