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Reason I JumpComposed by a writer still with one foot in childhood, and whose autism was at least as challenging and life-defining as our son’s, THE REASON I JUMP was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head.’ Written by Naoki Higishida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel – such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, 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. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective. The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki’s words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.

The introduction by David Mitchell is an amazing piece of writing and you see into his soul as he shares with you his sense of relief after reading his book which has enabled him to go someway towards understanding his son.
Published like short stories there are some wonderful stories such as the tale on page 58 of the hare running faster than the tortoise is super and The reason I Jump explanation is wonderful.
For me the story extends beyond the autism; it could apply to anyone with a handicap or emotional issues. You feel real warmth and emotion from Naoki and his writing is amazing considering how he had to do it. It is an amazing and inspiring book and you felt warmth and a bond for the author which he writing gives us.
To view the world from his eyes is a privilege and by sharing his experiences you really gain a deep insight into his world and by writing the book and gaining an insight into his world through his eyes you don’t feel too bad for him, somehow he removes the idea that pity feeling that often occurs when one first meets and encounters a disability. By showing the world from Naoki’s side you gain the insight but it’s not a recipe for dealing with him. No one should read it thinking that the book will give you tips and advice of how to deal with autism

Sheila O’Reilly
Hodder & Stoughton/£8.99/9781444776775

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