Review

Imagine being trapped in your own body. You can look at the world knowing the impact you have on it, and the people you interact with. Yet, you can’t always control your actions, or even give rational explanation for why you behave the way you do. You know you are a burden to those around you, but you can’t stop. Every moment that you see the look of pain on the face of a loved one because of something you do kills you. You wonder how you can stop it, but the answer is: You can’t. In Naoki Higashida’s spellbinding book, THE REASON I JUMP: THE INNER VOICE OF A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY WITH AUTISM, Higashida gives a glimpse into a world not usually shown, the world from the perspective of a child with Autism.

“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.”

We can be the difference, and a good way to start, is by reading this incredible book

.I am a teacher. It is what I am passionate about and what I love. In my four years of teaching, I have had many different children to work with, some with learning disabilities and others that are soaring through school. Because of these different children, and because I live it Utah where Autism is more prevalent than in any other state, I wanted to gain a unique perspective of the life in Naoki’s shoes. What I was not expecting was the power written in every word of his text. I found myself crying at his remorse over his actions which are completely out of his control. He says many times in the book that he just hates himself when he acts like that. He is so disappointed that he can’t make others happy, and that is the biggest challenge in his life.

It doesn’t matter if you do not have children of your own, or if you will not have experience working with children in the direct way that I do. Every single person on this earth will benefit from hearing the words of Naoki. It will positively change your life and you will find yourself looking at the world through a new lense — a way you might not have thought to look at before.

The repeated message throughout the book I believe is the most important, “keep helping us, through to the end.” Don’t give up on these children. They are just as wonderful and perfect as every other child in our world. We need them to bless our lives just as much as they need us. Through this book I hope we can learn to help these children ”just flap my wings and soar away, into the big blue yonder, over the hills and far away!” We can be the difference, and a good way to start, is by reading this incredible book.

Please support the author by buying his book:

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About the Reviewer

Tierney Linton
Tierney is a teacher, student, nanny, babysitter, writer, and avid reader. She is attending University of Utah pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education that she can use to enhance her teaching at Dancing Moose Montessori School where she works currently. She also nanny's three amazing children, and reads and writes in her spare time. You can find her at tierneyannie.tumblr.com