The Reason I Jump

The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

Publisher: Vintage Canada
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.


“[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.” BBC 
“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

From the Hardcover edition.