Naoki Higashida 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 when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world – other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.
David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki’s book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.”