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The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism

Naoki Higashida

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction, Perception, The self, ego, identity, personality, Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome, Child care & upbringing, Teenagers: advice for parents

The No. 1 Sunday Times and internationally bestselling account of life as a child with autism, now a documentary film Winner of Best Documentary and Best Sound in the British Independent Film Awards 2021.

'It will stretch your vision of what it is to be human' Andrew Solomon, The Times

What is it like to have autism? How can we know what a person - especially a child - with autism is thinking and feeling?

This groundbreaking book, written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, provides some answers. Severely autistic and non-verbal, Naoki learnt to communicate by using a 'cardboard keyboard' - and what he has to say gives a rare insight into an autistically-wired mind. He explains behaviour he's aware can be baffling such as why he likes to jump and why some people with autism dislike being touched; he describes how he perceives and navigates the world, sharing his thoughts and feelings about time, life, beauty and nature; and he offers an unforgettable short story. Proving that people with autism do not lack imagination, humour or empathy, THE REASON I JUMP made a major impact on its publication in English. Widely praised, it was an immediate No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller as well as a New York Times bestseller and has since been published in over thirty languages.

In 2020, a documentary film based on the book received its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Jerry Rothwell, produced by Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee and Al Morrow, and funded by Vulcan Productions and the British Film Institute, it won the festival's Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary, then further awards at the Vancouver, Denver and Valladolid International Film Festivals before its global release in 2021.

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

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Praise for The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism

  • An extraordinary account of how autism feels from the inside. - Observer

  • The most remarkable book of the year. The book throws a pontoon bridge over the chasm dividing autistic and neuro-typical experience. - Spectator

  • The Reason I Jump reads effortlessly, each page challenging preconceptions that autistic people lack empathy, humour or imagination. - Independent on Sunday

  • 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. - Evening Standard

  • The freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom . . . it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human. - The Times

  • [The Reason I Jump] has been impossible to forget. - Evening Standard

  • 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. - 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". - Sunday Times

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Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. He was diagnosed with severe autism in 1998 and subsequently attended a school for students with special needs, then (by correspondence) Atmark Cosmopolitan High School, graduating in 2011. Having learnt to use a method of communication based on an alphabet grid, Naoki wrote The Reason I Jump when he was thirteen and it was published in Japan in 2007. He has published several books since, from autobiographical accounts about living with autism to fairy tales, poems and illustrated books, and writes a regular blog. Despite his communication challenges, he also gives presentations about life on the autistic spectrum throughout Japan and works to raise awareness about autism. In 2011 he appeared in director Gerry Wurzburg's documentary on the subject, Wretches & Jabberers.

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