The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
Hi, I am Sarah. I am fourteen years old and an avid reader; it is one of my favorite things to do. Inspired by authors’ creations of magnificent places and surprising havens built by simple letters, I aspire to be an author and, meanwhile, nurture the love to write.
Society, to some extent, is structured around an idea of sameness, this idea that while we are all unique in our own ways, we do have the same fundamental, “human” makeup. But this book proves that such a homogenous society is not created for everything.
In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida, a thirteen-year-old author with autism, writes about the world from his perspective on behalf of an entire community of misunderstood people. Using only an alphabet grid and a sparkling, honest, and compassionate perspective, he responds to common questions “normal” people have for people with autism from: do you like programs on TV? to what do you think about running races? to what’s the reason you jump? The answers inspire incredible empathy and understanding for the world Higashida lives in: trapped, unable to express himself easily, unable to talk, to remember. But at the same time, he writes of the beauty of the world through his eyes, the incredible, beautiful detail that “normal” people can’t see.
With an introduction by bestselling novelist David Mitchell and a finale of a poignant and moving short story by Higasha himself, this book is beautiful, impactful, and eye-opening. It helps us understand what people with autism feel, see, and think in a world not built for them, and most of all, it is a book that inspires kindness. And really, what more can you ask of literature?