The Reason I Jump

By Naoki Higashida

Book Cover: The Reason I JumpJon Stewart interviewed the translator for this book, and then continued to rave about this book in subsequent shows, so I figured I’d give it a shot. That the book itself exists is amazing: the thirteen-year-old author with autism answers questions that he frequently hears. It is a fascinating look into a viewpoint that is usually inaccessible, and I imagine it is an immeasurable benefit to those who interact with people with autism. For myself, I found it very interesting—it is a short book, but not a quick read, since I kept putting it down so I could think more about what Higashida was saying—but occasionally a bit repetitive, which makes me sound like the worst person ever, since that is clearly one of the traits of autism. I try to justify my criticism by saying that Higashida is so mature and perceptive that it is easy to forget that he is working with quite a severe handicap.

My only previous insight into autism was the sporadic postings by one of my favorite bloggers, Matthew Baldwin, aka Defective Yeti, on raising his autistic son. He hadn’t posted in several months, so I’d gotten out of the habit of checking, but this book reminded me to check back in, and it turned out he spent all of October posting each day about his son. His love and delight in his son are evident in each post and make the posts such a pleasure to read.

And, finally, while I’m bringing up blogs about interesting parenting situations, I ran across Gender Mom just about a month ago, and have been completely caught up in it ever since. Gender Mom’s five-year-old daughter was born male, but announced she was female at age three, and a year later they decided to raise her female. It is a truly fascinating look at a mother trying her best in fairly new territory.

—Anna

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