This post may contain affiliate links. When you click through to sign up or make a purchase, then we receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

The Reason I Jump is a unique memoir that helps readers understand how a young boy on the spectrum thinks, feels, and perceives the world. The book is written by the Japanese poet, novelist, and essayist Naoki Higashida, born in 1992 and diagnosed with severe autism when he was five.

The original book was published in Japan in 2007, while the English translation came out in 2013 (translated by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell). Since then, it’s been translated into more than thirty languages.

 

About the author: Naoki Higashida

Naoki is a non-verbal autistic who learned how to communicate using a hand-made alphabet grid. When he was 13, he wrote The Reason I Jump and shed light on the vast darkness of misconceptions surrounding autism. Since then, he has published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays.

 

Read more >> The Girl who Spoke with Pictures: Autism through Art book review

 

Book Review: The Reason I Jump

Let’s face it, people on the spectrum and their actions are still something many neurotypicals can’t understand, and in some unfortunate instances, can’t accept. Some may find it “weird” when an autistic child starts shouting, screaming, unexpectedly moving parts of their body, or jumping “for no reason”.

The Reason I Jump gives us just that, the reason why people on the spectrum behave the way they do. It offers readers an insight into what it’s like to be in their shoes and what it’s like to think with their minds – something we all need to understand.

 

Book The Reason I Jump

 

The book is organized like an FAQ of questions everybody, especially loved ones of those on the spectrum, has asked an autistic person. Naoki tries to answer all of these questions with disarming honesty:

 

“Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?”

“Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?”

“Why do you repeat what others are saying?”

 

It’s easy to read, and if you didn’t know that a kid on the spectrum wrote it in his early teens, you wouldn’t be able to guess. The heart-warming metaphors and intense self-reflection presented in this book will make you rethink everything you think you know about people, and especially kids with ASC (autism spectrum conditions).

It keeps you interested, and every page turned will give you new insights into the mind of this intelligent 13-year-old boy who wants to be understood.

After reading the book, you’ll be left with this feeling of never being able to look at the world with the same eyes again. You’ll gain a whole new perspective and understanding of what it looks like through the eyes of those with autism.

 

Read more >> ‘Dude, I’m an Aspie!’ Asperger’s book reviews

 

What others have to say

What’s astounding about this book is how enlightening it is to both non-autistic and autistic people alike.  These short inserts from a few GoodReads reviews on the book say it the best:

“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.”

by Storm, a person on the spectrum

 

“I wish I could give my parents this book so that they could know why I do some things out of my control, but then again, they try so hard every day. And I’m grateful for that.”

– by Mai, a person on the spectrum

 

And here’s what David Mitchell, one of the translators and the one who originally came across this book from Japan, said about how it helped him and his wife (K.A. Yoshida) better understand their 3-year-old son with ASC:

 

“The book 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 less tough.”

– by David Mitchell

The movie: The Reason I Jump

After gaining global recognition and audience, the book was made into a 2021 movie by the same name, “The Reason I Jump”. It’s a cinematic adaptation of Naoki’s revolutionary insights, combined with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people who are also nonspeaking autistics. It is a must-watch movie, even if you’re someone who either reads the book or watches the film but never does both.

The movie explores neurodiversity by bringing a whole new sensory universe to its viewers.

Naoki’s new book: Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

If you decide to read the book, The Reason I Jump, you’ll probably be left curious for more words from this talented writer, so here’s the good news! In his 2017 book, “Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism”, Naoki continues his story by sharing his thoughts and experiences as a young man with severe autism. This work of the older, more mature and experienced Naoki is a perfect sequel to his first book – for everyone willing to learn more about people on the spectrum and for those on the spectrum to learn more about themselves.

 

The Reason I Jump

Like neurotypical people, not all autistic people think the same, reason the same, and do things the same – this is just one individual’s voice. That’s something we must keep in mind.

But that voice stands before many people on the spectrum who don’t have an outlet to express themselves or can’t express themselves because they, too, don’t understand why they jump.

What Naoki Higashida gave us with his answers to the questions in The Reason I Jump is the hope of an answer, a reason. That hope is something that both those living with autism and those living with them have been seeking.

 

And why does Naoki Higashida jump?

“When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”

For inspiring art & helpful resources, check out my Autism Inked Etsy Store.