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The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  49,405 ratings  ·  5,528 reviews
'Composed by a writer still with one foot in childhood, and whose autism was at least as challenging and life-defining as our son's, THE REASON I JUMP was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head.'

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book explains
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published July 12th 2013 by Sceptre (first published 2005)
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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)
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Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to be written by someone of any age and the fact that it is written by a 13 year old is amazing. The book reads like a FAQ of questions that anybody especially a parent of children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome have asked/shouted at their children about why they keep doing certain things. I bought this book after a particularly heated argument with my 8 year old. this book did help at the very least it told me that many of the things I questions e.g. "Why do you keep doin ...more
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
Oct 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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

This is a good review...

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
Dec 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My son Sammy is 17 (now updating a bit as he is now 25). He has autism, the severe variety. He'll never be completely independent. The way we experienced it, he was verbal and functional in most three -year-old ways, and now we see him as very damaged. Maybe this is wrong, but the sudden loss of language and functionality in other ways is not something we celebrated. He's happy, much of the time, though he also screams, is self-injurious at times, much of the time, too. He has a sweet dispositio ...more
Petra on hiatus in hospital & not the beach,Cancun
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
Sarah Coleman
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 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
Edoardo Albert
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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


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 wr
“But when I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky. Really, my urge to be swallowed up by the sky is enough to make my heart quiver.
. . .
But constrained both by ourselves and by the people around us, all we can do is tweet-tweet, flap our wings and hop around in a cage. Ah, if only I could just flap my wings and soar away, into the big blue yonder, over the hills and far away!”

What a unique memoir! Born in 1992, thirteen-year-old Japanese boy Naoki Higashida was diagnos
Dec 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, Slade House) came upon this book from Japan in his and his wife’s quest to better understand their 3-year-old son with autism. It’s the writing of a 13-year-old boy whose autism is severe but has learned to communicate using an alphabet grid. In Mitchell’s Introduction, he explains that it “administered the kick I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start thinking how much tougher life was for my son, and what I could do to make it le ...more
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
Heidi The Reader
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
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
Emma Sea
Nov 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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, th
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favourites
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
Jul 12, 2013 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
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 g ...more
There's some skepticism and criticism for this book questioning whether this thirteen year old nonverbal boy actually wrote it and/or that it speaks in too big of generalizations. I agree with the generalizations bit but, putting that aside, there is value in this read and I enjoyed it.

The structure of the book is in an easy Question and Answer format addressing some of the most common questions people familiar with a person on the spectrum wonders.

Questions like:
Do I want to or like being alone
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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 boa
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
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
Lindsay Seddon
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
❀ Rose ❀
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“True compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect.”

What a beautiful enlightening read. It both breaks your heart and fills it with the most mushy and beautiful feelings ever. I highly recommend it as it is a very important read. It also gives you an insight into what goes on in the brain of people who have autism.

Highly recommend: it’s also very very short so its definitely a quick read!
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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