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The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism [Kindle Edition]

Naoki Higashida , David Mitchell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (716 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world - other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki's book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.

The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki's words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.

Product Description


A book that acts like a door to another logic, explaining why an autistic child might flap his hands in front of his face, disappear suddenly from home - or jump. (Neil Tweedie Sunday Telegraph)

A book that makes me want to say, "This is truly important, and anyone interested in autism should read it," is a rare find. The Reason I Jump achieves that status . . . [it] 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". (Charlotte Moore The Sunday Times)

Every page dismantles another preconception about autism. Higashida's language is precise and has a poetic quality that elevates it far beyond a self-help book for the parents of autistic children. His fictional stories, also included in this book, vary in length from a few lines to dozens of pages and are united by their beautiful simplicity. They all share a strong single theme, namely, that even if living is different and difficult, you can still find companionship and happiness. Once you understand how Higashida managed to write this book, you lose your heart to him. (Caroline Crampton New Statesman)

This is a wonderful book. I defy anyone not to be captivated, charmed and uplifted by it. But above all, you will never feel the same about autism again. (John Preston Evening Standard)

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 . . . This book is an entry into another world. It was discovered by K.A. Yoshida, wife of the novelist David Mitchell, who gave us some memorable other worlds in Cloud Atlas . . . Naoki says he wants to be a writer when he grows up. David Mitchell points out that he already is one. This spectacular little book may or may not be the beginning of a prolific career, but it's a wholly realised work of art in itself, and its dignity and stoicism are sometimes almost unbearably moving. And no, he doesn't wish he was 'normal'. He says he is happy as he is, and I think I believe him. (Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail)

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 . . . This book gives us autism from the inside, as we have never seen it. (Independent)

The freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom . . . it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human. (Andrew Solomon The Times)

The Reason I Jump reads effortlessly, each page challenging preconceptions that autistic people lack empathy, humour or imagination. Higashida's insights confirm some of my suspicions (perhaps the phrases that my sister repeats feel pleasurable, 'like a game of catch with a ball'), whilst challenging others . . . And raising new possibilities. (Independent on Sunday)

The most remarkable book of the year was The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. The book throws a pontoon bridge over the chasm dividing autistic and neuro-typical experience. (Charlotte Moore Spectator Books of the Year 2013)

Written by an autistic Japanese boy when he was just 13, this remarkable book, which became a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller earlier this year, offers an unparalleled view inside the closed world of childhood autism. Higashida's eye-opening answers to 58 questions - such as: "Why do you ask the same questions over and over?" or: "Why can you never stay still?" - are accompanied by a series of short tales, and an introduction from the novelist David Mitchell (who has an autistic son himself) that makes clear just how exceptional and rare this book is. (Andrew Holgate Sunday Times)

An extraordinary account of how autism feels from the inside (Observer)

A remarkable memoir. A touching and fascinating guide to the tangled byways of his mind. Every page dismantles another of our preconceptions about autism. (Mail on Sunday)

[The Reason I Jump] has been impossible to forget. (Ian Thomson Evening Standard Books of the Year 2013)

Book Description

The No. 1 Sunday Times and internationally bestselling account of life as an autistic child. 'Brilliant . . . both moving and strangely optimistic' (Daily Telegraph).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first real insight into autistic young people 26 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is just brilliant. I have two teenage children both with very complex autism, a daughter and a son. Over the years I have attempted to read some books - whether by 'experts' or other parents - on autism. The 'experts' books I have found not helpful as autism affects each person so uniquely and what the 'experts' say is often cold and difficult to personalise. I have found other parents books often quite depressing and have not managed to get passed the first few chapters. My experience with my children is my own journey - but my children are just the most amazing, courageous, beautiful people, and I kind of get tired seeing/reading negative things. These young people cope with so much, and this book by this young man is the first real honest insight into the thoughts and processes of autistic young people.

Sometimes there aren't any answers to the questions that are posed, but that in itself is an insight. I feel I know my children so well, but there are things written which my children wouldn't be able to explain to me, but are totally applicable to them. I read some of the questions/answers to my son; he kept jumping up and down saying 'That's how it is. That's how I feel.' At one point he was moved to tears and just said 'Oh wow'. My son would never have been able to tell me those things himself but to hear it voiced by another young man, who has a similar life journey to my son, helped him tremendously. So I would say this book is not only invaluable to parents and carers, teachers and support staff. But mostly, I would say it is for other young autistic people themselves, it gives them an opportunity to explain to you what's applicable, what's the same, and opens up discussion on how things are for them.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into my sons mind 11 Jan. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book after searching for realistic books to try and understand my son's mind who has aspergers. While some of the chapters didn't relate to my son some did and did help me to really understand him but to give me a reason why he does and say what he does. Some days are so hard and you think he is deliberately doing what he does but this book shined a light on some of his most frustrating habits. No two children with aspergers are alike. My son at times cannot put words together to say what he means but have given him the book to read (he is 11).

He was able to tell me at parts of the books that "mum that's how I feel when I do that and couldn't explain in words to you why"

That comment alone was worth a huge amount to me as he is so frustrated at times trying to explain himself. I understand the book is a translation from another language but in its own way it has helped me translate to me my sons feelings in a way I can understand and that to me is worth 5 stars any day
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Live Up to Expectations 9 Sept. 2014
I have read several books on autism and autism spectrum disorders, from the bare clinical facts to the deeply moving family biographies. This book was reviewed as being different from all of those as it was written by an autistic Japanese lad. This was, apparently, the first book written by someone with autism who explains what it is like and why people with autism behave as they do. I would dispute this latter fact as I am a big fan of Luke Jackson's book "Freaks, Geeks & Asperger's Syndrome" which provides an insiders viewpoint on living with high fuctioning autism.
Unfortunately this book did not live up to the hype. It is written in the form of questions and answers - such as "Why do Autistic people not like certain foods", "Why do you flap your hands when agitated?". Unfortunately, the wording of both the questions and answers irritated me. On the one hand there is the introduction written by David Mitchell complaining how people on the autistic spectrum are bundled together and have different behaviour patterns. On the other hand, the author is replying that we autistic people flap our hands because....... How do you know exactly what other people on the autistic spectrum feel any more than we do? Maybe this was a problem in the interpretation (originally written in Japanese) but it got my back up in the first few pages!
There were two main problems with the replies from this young lad. One was that they were often difficult to understand and rather woolly. I know that this is because the person writing them is struggling to express himself in the words of the "normal" world but I still found them rather difficult. The other was that much of what he said was very similar to other literature on the autism spectrum.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 29 July 2013
By Nawal
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a revelation. i have a autistic son, and work with autistic kids. This book confirms what I'd always believed-and hoped-to be true, that there is so much going on in the heads and hearts of autistic people. They are, as David Mitchell says, superheroes. Every single day.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing boy Naoki Higashida is. 28 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Considering that this lad has few verbal skills, he communicates through the written word in a powerful way. We need people like him to remind us that EVERYONE deserves to be respected and listened to, no matter how limited their communications skills are. How amazing to write this whole book with an alphabet board - and a big thank you to his transcribers and translators.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Shed a few tears reading this.Very insightful.
Published 17 hours ago by alexsmum
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight.
I have boys with ASD and was recommended this book a while back. Very quick easy reading, well written and a great background into all the triggers of Asd that the boy can... Read more
Published 3 days ago by cakes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great product
Published 3 days ago by Katarzyna Rosinska
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend
Excellent book read in 1 day couldnt put it down! Explained so much, highly recommend.
Published 4 days ago by Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I`ve just started reading it out of curiosity and am fascinated.
The book is all in the format of question and answer, and it opens our mind so much. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Z
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book!
Interesting book!
Published 7 days ago by Mrs. T. Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everyone should read this to really understand the complex lives of those on the ASD
Published 12 days ago by Honest but true
5.0 out of 5 stars What a excellent book worth a read with anybody you know suffers ...
What a excellent book worth a read with anybody you know suffers from this condition .
book new delivery about 4 days but with the wait
Published 12 days ago by vivienne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Inspiration and v easy to read
Published 15 days ago by Dee Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Very good book, very interesting and helps you understand autism more.
Published 17 days ago by Mrs Wendy Gorman
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