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The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism [Hardcover]

Naoki Higashida , KA Yoshida , David Mitchell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 27 2013
A story never before told and a memoir to help change our understanding of the world around us, 13-year-old Naoki Higashida's astonishing, empathetic book takes us into the mind of a boy with severe autism. With an introduction by David Mitchell, author of the global phenomenon, Cloud Atlas, and translated by his wife, KA Yoshida.

Naoki Higashida was only a middle-schooler when he began to write The Reason I Jump. Autistic and with very low verbal fluency, Naoki used an alphabet grid to painstakingly spell out his answers to the questions he imagines others most often wonder about him: why do you talk so loud? Is it true you hate being touched? Would you like to be normal? The result is an inspiring, attitude-transforming book that will be embraced by anyone interested in understanding their fellow human beings, and by parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends of autistic children. Naoki examines issues as diverse and complex as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication, and in doing so, discredits the popular belief that autistic people are anti-social loners who lack empathy. 

This book is mesmerizing proof that inside an autistic body is a mind as subtle, curious, and caring as anyone else's.

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“[The Reason I Jump] brings the fascinating quirks of the autistic mind to life.... Naoki brings us into a sometimes nightmarish world of being trapped inside a mind and body that won’t respond as it should.... The definitive account of living with autism.”
Daily Express
“The Reason I Jump...offers sometimes tormented, sometimes joyous, insights into autism’s locked-in universe.... 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. In its quirky humour and courage, it resembles Albert Espinosa’s Spanish bestseller, The Yellow World, which captured the inner world of childhood cancer. This book gives us autism from the inside, as we have never seen it.... Its explanation, advice and, most poignantly, its guilt...offers readers eloquent access into an almost entirely unknown world.... Descriptions of panic, distress and the isolation that autistic children feel as a result of the greater world’s ignorance of their condition are counterbalanced by the most astonishing glimpses of autism’s exhilaration. These are the most vivid and mesmerising moments of the book.”
The Independent 
The Reason I Jump pushes beyond the notion of autism as a disability, and reveals it as simply a different way of being, and of seeing. Naoki Higashida shines a light on the autistic landscape from the inside.”
“A 13-year-old Japanese author illuminates his autism from within, making a connection with those who find the condition frustrating, mysterious or impenetrable. For the renowned novelist David Mitchell, who provides the introduction and collaborated on the translation, this book is ‘a revelatory godsend.’... [Higashida] shows remarkable empathy and imagination.... Anyone struggling to understand autism will be grateful for the book and translation.”
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Naoki Higashida was born in 1992 and was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. He graduated from high school in 2011 and lives in Kimitsu, Japan. He is an advocate, motivational speaker and the author of several books of fiction and non-fiction.

KA Yoshida was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, majored in English Poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University, and now lives in Ireland with her husband, David Mitchell, and their two children.

David Mitchell's works include the international bestseller The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Black Swan Green; and Cloud Atlas, which was a Man Booker Prize finalist and made into a major movie released in 2012.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reason my Daughter Jumps Sept. 26 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love this book! My 11-year old daughter who was born in Japan has autism and like Naoki, she used to wave goodbye with her palms facing herself. She also writes letters in the air, speaks in a peculiar way, cups her ears, wanders, jumps, etc. Naoki has "explained" and helped me understand some of my daughter's puzzling behaviours. Thank you, Naoki, for this awesome book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing Oct. 3 2013
By Janani
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Felt like my son had written it and was telling me how he felt. I think I was coming to an understanding like this about him anyway but really helped reading this. I felt validated in some of my assumptions. I think too often people jump to the worst possible conclusion about autistic people especially if they cannot express themselves. Hope more people will read this and take from it the things I have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift Dec 29 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The transaction was perfect. I purchased this as a Christmas gift for a mother of a child who has autism, hoping it will give her another tool in her constant quest for information to help her make his journey the best it can possibly be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER
Pros: Q&A format, includes some of his fiction

Cons: will possibly make you cry in public

This is a non-fiction book written by a 13 year old Japanese autistic boy, in which he answers questions he's been asked numerous times about why he does the things he does. It's an amazing look inside autism.

This is a book that may well make you cry, so beware of reading it in public. In David Mitchell's introduction, when talking about some of Higashida's included fiction and the accusation that autistic people have no empathy, he writes:

“Like all storytelling mammals, Naoki is anticipating his audience's emotions and manipulating them. That is empathy. 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.”

Similarly in his answer to the question "Would you like to be 'normal'?" Higashida says that when he was younger he wanted to be normal but now,

“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.”

While it's a short read, it's both inspiring and educational. Understanding is the first step towards becoming better people with regards to how we interact with those who are autistic in our midst.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting Oct. 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was fascinating to read how the world looks to a person with autism. Would recommend this book to anyone with a family member so afflicted or just curiosity sake.,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book Oct. 9 2013
By far the best book I have read on autism and I have read many.
I have a child with autism and it has taken me many years to gain some understanding of what he has to deal with every day. I wish I had had this book when he was first diagnosed, it would have helped so much with helping him cope with life and thereby helping me cope with his condition.
This book will break your heart and give you hope at the same time. Anyone that has to deal with autism, living or working with it, should read this book. It will help everyone understand more about what an autistic person has to deal with and help give them the coping skills to grow and develop as a human being.
Thank you Naoki for sharing your answers and helping the world take a step closer to understanding autism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Insight Oct. 8 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book brought much needed light and understanding to the condition of autism. Simple yet profound it is a must read for anyone who is dealing with autism in any way.
Thank you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars humbling and unforgettable March 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I appreciated the honesty and clarity in describing living with autism. My favourite section was about the crows. Thank you
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I struggled with it
I know the history behind this book but I don't have Autism in my family to contend with personally.
Still, I thought the book was important and needed a voice.. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robin J. Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
The book seems to help one enter the world a bit of the autistic to better understand and have respect and compassion. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roslyn Wilford
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Insight for Autism Parents
This book is highly recommended to parents, siblings, grandparents, and caregivers for people with autism. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jessica Szucki
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I highly recommend this book....very easy read and gives such a unique insight to the world of Autism. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Frank DiPalma
4.0 out of 5 stars Autistic revelations
Mind boggling first-time insights into the hidden life of an autistic boy will have political and historical impact on caregivers.
Published 3 months ago by Alice Warnes
5.0 out of 5 stars An autistic, thirteen-year-old boy answers 58 questions about...

"My big hope is that I can help a bit by explaining, in my own way, what's going on in the minds of people with autism... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stephen Pletko
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like it exists
This Q&A style book is unlike any I've ever read. I've worked with students on and off the spectrum, with Down syndrome, etc. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I heard about the book from Jon Stewart, and I bought it because I have never known anyone who has autism. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LIANLIAN MA
4.0 out of 5 stars Jon Stewart did well to recommend this!
I really expected more,,,and since the book was written has there been thought to a follow up...David Mitchell could put forward new questions that are relevant to the aging of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps you understand...
Thank you Naoki for giving us the gift of being able to see inside of you and for helping us understand the way you look at the world.
Published 4 months ago by Cape Bretoner
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