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

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  28,377 Ratings  ·  3,807 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 135 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Random House (first published 2005)
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Popular Answered Questions

Christy Turner That is the best way to say it. I feel this book was made to create a better understanding of others and have empathy.
Bee This is not a story. This book consists of faq about autism and author answering them. It is really helpful if you want to know more about people with…moreThis is not a story. This book consists of faq about autism and author answering them. It is really helpful if you want to know more about people with autism. This book finally answered some questions I had about my brother (he can't speak nor write) so I definitely recommend.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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A New (Gay) Hope
Jul 11, 2013 A New (Gay) Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
(Note: I have autism)

I have to admit, I was on the verge of crying at some parts

because this book is everything I've wanted to tell the world but didn't know how

it made me understand myself a bit better, because like the author, I am not always sure why I do the things I do

It is one of those books I want as many as people as possible to read, to try and understand people with autism a bit better, and get rid of misconceptions.
Diane
Oct 02, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing
This is the most illuminating insight into the mind of an autistic child that I've seen. Naoki Higashida was born in 1992 and was diagnosed with autism when he was 5. One of his teachers designed an alphabet grid to help Naoki communicate his thoughts, which were then printed into a book in Japan in 2007.

The writer David Mitchell, who has an autistic son, found it and pushed to get an English translation published. In the introduction, Mitchell wrote that the book was "a revelatory godsend. Rea
...more
Mindy
Oct 04, 2013 Mindy rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooks
I would be skeptical that this book was written by any 13 year-old, with or without autism. I'm putting it on my shelf next to "Three Cups of Tea" and "A Million Little Pieces."

This is the longer review I wrote on Amazon.com.
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1XCQAT7...

This is a good review...

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/...

And here are some quotes...

"It is undoubtedly reassuring for parents of children with autism to discover in Higashida’s account a boy who not only sympathises with their
...more
Petra Eggs
Idiot savant author or has Dad had a hand in this?

What to say about this book? It feels like half of it is the genuine thoughts and explanations for autism by an unusually intelligent child who suffers from severe autism. (view spoiler) The other half fee
...more
pokupine
Dec 14, 2013 pokupine rated it did not like it
Shelves: career-related
I find it hard to believe most of this book.

First, as a speech therapist, I am puzzled as to why Naoki can read aloud but have such severe difficulties speaking to people despite having such well-developed language and great insight into his difficulties. He seems to have it all figured out and yet, being just one step away from making changes to his communication style, he settled into using an alphabet board (not the most efficient way of communication for someone who has obviously a lot to sa
...more
Sarah
Oct 25, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
I'd read some of the pro- and anti- reviews of this book by an autistic 13-year-old Japanese boy before I sat down to read it, so I had some context of the surrounding controversy before I jumped in (so to speak). Basically, some people have criticized novelist David Mitchell for possibly embellishing some of the author's writing (he has said he “provided the stylistic icing on the cake” of the translation), and others have noted that author Higashida claims to speak for all autistic people but ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Jan 01, 2017 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
3.5 stars

This book was intriguing! I'm taking it with a grain of salt, though, because I've been monitoring reviews about it. First I'll talk about my thoughts, though, then address concerns. I thought this book was wonderful. The writing was lovely with a lot of insightful analogies and heartwarming metaphors. I thought the question and answer format with fictional works inserted in between was very to-the-point and interesting. Overall, I learned a lot from this, and it made me consider a pers
...more
Edoardo Albert
Aug 15, 2013 Edoardo Albert rated it it was amazing
My eldest son has Asperger's syndrome and, while not locked into wordlessness in the same way the author was when he was little, he shares some of the behaviours described in this book, most notably the one on the cover: he jumps. He also intersperses that with bouncing up and down on a large gym ball, and running up and down corridors. And, you know what, I'd never asked him why he did these things. He just did them. Naoki Higashida, though, gives reasons for why he jumps, and flaps his hand in ...more
Darwin8u
Oct 05, 2014 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
“We get swallowed up by the illusion that unless we can find a place to belong, we are going to be all alone in the world.”
― Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump

description

An interesting memoir, translated by David Mitchell, and written by a 13-year-old Japanese boy (Naoki Higashida) with autism. If you teach, live with, know someone who has autism or an autistic child this is (or at least was for me) an insightful glimpse into the struggles and perspectives of a child with autism.

I became slightly, and wro
...more
JSou
I knew I would love this book before I even glanced at the first page because of a few reasons. Let's make a list, shall we?

1.) My son was diagnosed with autism almost 6 years ago. I've always wanted to be able to get inside his head and find out what he was actually thinking and seeing.

2.) My son also jumps. A lot.

3.) Written by a 13-year-old boy from Japan, this book was translated by David Mitchell. Anyone who has had any form of contact with me knows they will hear how Mitchell is my all-t
...more
Emma Sea
Nov 18, 2013 Emma Sea rated it did not like it
I rated a book by a 13 year old 1-star. I'm a monster. I feel bad, but I just didn't enjoy it.

I found it remarkably short on insight. There's a lot of "I don't why we do this but we do". If it hadn't been billed as being an insider's view of the experience of autism this would have been less frustrating.

I found the voice irritating rather than charming (there may have been a lot lost in translation).

Sorry :(


ETA: I loaned this to a person who works with special-needs kids, and they loved it so mu
...more
Heidi The Hippie Librarian
The reviews on this one from my Goodreads friends are very mixed and I understand why. The Reason I Jump touches on a very emotional topic. I'm not an expert on autism so I am completely unqualified to determine if Naoki wrote this book with or without help or the over arching truth of his experiences. However, as a reader, I thought that some of Naoki's words were very beautiful.

Perhaps he could have connected with more people if he had chosen to write "I" and "me" instead of "us" and "we". Who
...more
David Schaafsma
Sep 10, 2013 David Schaafsma rated it did not like it
My son Sammy is 17. He has autism, the severe variety. He'll never be completely independent. He's very damaged. He's happy, much of the time, he has a sweet disposition, but we mostly don't know what he is thinking and feeling. He makes noise, but he doesn't speak. He communicates through his IPad's touch screen just okay, and through pointing. He talked at age level expectations until about age 3 and then over the next few years gradually lost all his ability to communicate audibly through wor ...more
Laurie
I've read a lot of first-person accounts of autism. This was not one of my favorites. It was, in fact, a very frustrating book to read. The writer's voice tried to speak for all persons with autism, for example:

"Q39 Why do you like being in the water?"

"We just want to go back. To the distant, distant past. To a primeval era, in fact, before human beings even existed. All people with autism feel the same about this one, I reckon. Aquatic life-forms came into being and evolved, but why did they t
...more
Harriet
Jul 12, 2013 Harriet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a parent with a child on the spectrum, this was an extremely useful book. Of course it can't provide all answers because it is written from the point of view of one particular child. I sort of wish that my son would write his own version for me to read, but this book was a definite reminder to hold onto my patience and understand that obeying instructions is not such a simple matter of listening and following but involves a complex journey in the mind of an autistic child. The book was fascin ...more
Mara
The Reason I Jump is the memoir of a Japanese boy, Naoki Higashida who, at the time of its writing, was thirteen. Naoki, who is autistic and writes with the aid of a visual alphabet card, offers his answers to a series of questions (including, of course, "What's the reason you jump?"). I knew nothing about this book prior to coming across it as a daily deal on Audible, where it aroused 99 cents worth of my curiosity. I certainly wasn't disappointed as I had no real expectations going in (s ...more
Deb
Mar 08, 2014 Deb rated it did not like it
I worked with autistic children of all ages and abilities at one time. I am too big a skeptic to believe that these are the words or thoughts of any 13 year old.

I question it so much that I went back to find some examples. Remember, these are supposedly his words:
~ "there is another way to say what you want without using the vocal nervous system"
~ true compassion is not about bruising the other person's self respect"
~ "the thought that our lives are the source of other people's unhappiness, tha
...more
Mai
This book in my opinion must be everybody's cup of tea, it's quite important if I do say so myself.

Having autism, raising an autistic person or knowing one, all comes with pain attached, but living with autism is a thing and raising/pitying one is another. It's ten fold painful to live with autism your whole life, whichever level you might have! It's painful, frustrating, agonizing, and depressing, and with all the former stated feelings it's still massively ignored or belittled, I don't quite g
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Sep 03, 2013 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it did not like it
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I’d feel bad about giving a 1 Star rating to a book written by a 13 year old if I believed at all that a 13 year old actually wrote this book. Since I do not I have zero guilt.



I see The Reason I Jump as yet another outlet that has adults manipulating a child in order to advance their own personal agenda (*cough* Heaven is for Real *cough*). I believe Naoki’s mother, as well as David Mitchell and his wife, used Naoki’s alphabet board
...more
Kyle
Oct 06, 2013 Kyle rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"When I was small, I didn't even know that I was a kid with special needs. How did I find out? By other people telling me I was different from everyone else, and that this was a problem."

Initially, this book was structured very differently than I expected. I approached it thinking it would a memoir-style account that subtly gave insight into the autistic mind and experience; when the book didn't fit my pre-determined category I had already constructed for it, I became annoyed. Yet, why should it
...more
Elizabeth Hopkinson
I read this book because I hoped to gain a better understanding of an autistic neighbour who lives near me. But what I actually discovered was that I have a lot more in common with autistic people than I realised. Some of the ways in which I see and experience the world are the same as some of the ways Naoki describes in the book. And his little short stories are so beautiful. So, as well as helping me understand my neighbour, this book helped me feel better about myself.
Ellie
I won The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. I will say at the outset that it is a wonderful book, short but powerful. It is written by 13-year-old Naoki Higashida, a Japanese boy who was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. He writes by spelling out words on an alphabet grid although apparently he is able to use a keyboard but finds the more arduous process more comfortable.
I was very interested in the book
...more
Suzanne
Mar 14, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was ok
I don't know how to review this book.

My first impression was that it had a bit of an Upworthy vibe surrounding it. "A thirteen-year-old autistic boy finds a way to speak. What he says will astound you." (My facebook feed is littered with this stuff and I am done with it.)

But, the introduction from David Mitchell gave me hope that there was something more here. He described how helping to translate this work (originally in Japanese) helped him round the corner in dealing with his own autistic son
...more
Lindsay Seddon
Jul 13, 2013 Lindsay Seddon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just brilliant.

I don't know anyone who is autistic, and if I ever meet them, I have to admit, I don't really know what to do. Before I read this book I didn't know enough about autism to know how I should react, and it made me feel awkward and embarrassed. What better way to find out more than reading this, a book about autism written by an autistic child?

This book addresses everything you want it to in terms of the social aspects of children with autism. How a child feels about the
...more
Michelle
Oct 04, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
There is a very good review of this in the New York Times, which echoes my own discomfort with the book. Which are Naoki's words and which are David Mitchell's? I haven't read any of Mitchell's writing, so I don't know his style. And I can't speak another language, so I can't comprehend what changes may be normally made without the translater totally altering the original idea. But some things didnt ring true, and that saddened me, because I'd hoped for some answers that may help me with my auti ...more
Kristy
Aug 27, 2013 Kristy rated it it was amazing
Wow. I don't even know how to do this book justice. Really.
I read it in one sitting and I'm about to pass it on to my fifteen-year-old son who is autistic, and then to his father and stepmother in hopes that it will resonate with my son and help him to feel less alone, and with hopes that his other parents will finally understand him better.

I've read lots of books with autistic characters, finding that sometimes fiction is more helpful in revealing the unique characteristics exhibited by those
...more
Inaniel
Jan 03, 2014 Inaniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-readings
How to write an honest review on this? I'll try anyway.
This book was moving. Although hard to believe that it was written by a thirteen year old. But I found his descriptions of his thoughts and perceptions very very interesting. He reminded me that things we take for granted maybe for other people are very strange and vice versa.
They reminded me of the books of Daniel Tammet (if you don't know his books, check them out. They are incredible beautiful and illuminative!).
Jim
Mar 18, 2015 Jim rated it liked it
A survey of autism, as written by a 13-year-old autistic boy. This book gave me a number of insights into how the mind of an autistic person functions and how heavily impactful upon such a person's emotions the syndrome is. This is a brief, simple, yet compelling book, worth reading for anyone who wants better to understand autism from the "inside."
techani
Oct 15, 2013 techani rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: كل من يريد معرفة شيء جديد
المختصر:
أفضل طريق لمعرفة مشاعر أحد هي عندما يتحدثون إليك، وهذا ما حدث في هذا الكتاب لأول مرة.
من أكثر الكتب التي شدتني إنسانياً وعاطفياً وفضولياً

التفاصيل:
لقد اكتشفنا شعب! معزول عنّا لكنهم يتابعونا ويعرفون أخبارنا. أحد أفراد هذا الشعب استطاع كسر الحصار المفروض عليهم وأخبرنا بروايتهم. من منا لايريد أن يعرف قصة هذا الشعب المعزول!!ا

هذا الشعب ليس من نسل واحد ولا من أرض واحدة، لكن اجتمعت فيهم صفة واحدة وهي أنهم حبيسوا أجسادهم، فقررنا أن نعطيهم صفة موحّدة وأسميناهم مرضى التوحّد

اسم الكتاب حرفياً "سبب قف
...more
Rebecca Foster
I’m fascinated by autism and enjoy reading fiction and nonfiction that explores it. This book is unique in that it gives the insider view of an autistic thirteen-year-old who cannot communicate verbally; he writes by pointing to Japanese characters on an alphabet grid. The only other book I can think of that gives such an intimate look at the autistic life is Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures. Naoki comes across as an ordinary boy who longs for human connection yet struggles to control his e ...more
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Naoki Higashida (東田 直樹 Higashida Naoki) is the Japanese author of The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism. He was born in 1992 and diagnosed with autism when he was five. He was 13 years old when he wrote the book which was published in English in 2013. Reviews have been mixed, both celebrating the accomplishment of a mentally and emotionally challenged young author and expre ...more
More about Naoki Higashida...

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“Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something.” 46 likes
“When you see an object, it seems that you see it as an entire thing first, and only afterwards do its details follow on. But for people with autism, the details jump straight out at us first of all, and then only gradually, detail by detail, does the whole image float up into focus.” 32 likes
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