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The Reason I Jump

Cover of The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump

The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
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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.
  • "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.
  • Available formats-
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    • Available:
      3
    • Library copies:
      5
    Levels-
    • ATOS:
      5.8
    • Lexile:
    • Interest Level:
      MG+
    • Reading Level:
      4

    Recommended for you


     
    Awards-
    Excerpts-
    • Introduction

      David Mitchell

      The thirteen-year-old author of this book invites you, his reader, to imagine a daily life in which your faculty of speech is taken away. Explaining that you're hungry, or tired, or in pain, is now as beyond your powers as a chat with a friend. I'd like to push the thought-experiment a little further. Now imagine that after you lose your ability to communicate, the editor-in-residence who orders your thoughts walks out without notice. The chances are that you never knew this mind-editor existed, but now that he or she has gone, you realize too late how the editor allowed your mind to function for all these years. A dam-burst of ideas, memories, impulses and thoughts is cascading over you, unstoppably. Your editor controlled this flow, diverting the vast majority away, and recommending just a tiny number for your conscious consideration. But now you're on your own.

      Now your mind is a room where twenty radios, all tuned to different stations, are blaring out voices and music. The radios have no off-switches or volume controls, the room you're in has no door or window, and relief will come only when you're too exhausted to stay awake. To make matters worse, another hitherto unrecognized editor has just quit without notice--your editor of the senses. Suddenly sensory input from your environment is flooding in too, unfiltered in quality and overwhelming in quantity. Colors and patterns swim and clamor for your attention. The fabric softener in your sweater smells as strong as air freshener fired up your nostrils. Your comfy jeans are now as scratchy as steel wool. Your vestibular and proprioceptive senses are also out of kilter, so the floor keeps tilting like a ferry in heavy seas, and you're no longer sure where your hands and feet are in relation to the rest of you. You can feel the plates of your skull, plus your facial muscles and your jaw; your head feels trapped inside a motorcycle helmet three sizes too small which may or may not explain why the air conditioner is as deafening as an electric drill, but your father--who's right here in front of you--sounds as if he's speaking to you from a cellphone, on a train going through lots of short tunnels, in fluent Cantonese. You are no longer able to comprehend your mother tongue, or any tongue: from now on, all languages will be foreign languages. Even your sense of time has gone, rendering you unable to distinguish between a minute and an hour, as if you've been entombed in an Emily Dickinson poem about eternity, or locked into a time-bending SF film. Poems and films, however, come to an end, whereas this is your new ongoing reality. Autism is a lifelong condition.

      Thanks for sticking to the end, though the real end, for most of us, would involve sedation and being forcibly hospitalized, and what happens next it's better not to speculate. Yet for those people born onto the autistic spectrum, this unedited, unfiltered and scary-as-all-hell reality is home. The functions that genetics bestows on the rest of us--the "editors"--as a birthright, people with autism must spend their lives learning how to simulate. It is an intellectual and emotional task of Herculean, Sisyphean and Titanic proportions, and if the autistic people who undertake it aren't heroes, then I don't know what heroism is, never mind that the heroes have no choice. Sentience itself is not so much a fact to be taken for granted, but a brickby-brick, self-built construct requiring constant maintenance. As if this wasn't a tall enough order, people with autism must survive in an outside world where "special needs" is playground slang for "retarded," where melt-downs and panic attacks are viewed as tantrums, where disability...

    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 nonfiction.

      KA Yoshida was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, majored in English poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University.

      David Mitchell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten.

      KA Yoshida and David Mitchell live in Ireland with their two children.

    Title Information+
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      Random House Publishing Group
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