by Naoki Higashida, K.A. Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)
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 expressing discomfort with the involvement of Higashida’s communications facilitator (his mother) and English language translators (Keiko Yoshida and her husband David Mitchell).
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.