From the author of the bestselling The Reason I Jump, an extraordinary self-portrait of life as a young adult with autism
Naoki Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote The Reason I Jump, a revelatory account of autism from the inside by a nonverbal Japanese child, which became an international success.
Now he shares his thoughts and experiences as a twenty-four-year-old man living each day with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida explores school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it's raining outside. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems.
With an introduction by bestselling novelist David Mitchell, Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 also includes a dreamlike short story Higashida wrote especially for this edition. Both moving and of practical use, this book opens a window into the mind of an inspiring young man who meets every challenge with tenacity and good humor. However often he falls down, he always gets back up.
"Vibrant . . . In Mitchell and Yoshida's deft translation, Higashida conveys this isolating mindset and his yearnings for connection and self-expression, in direct, evocative prose--his compulsive, restless motion, he writes, is 'instinctual, like a wild animal running over a wide plain'--that provides readers with a window into a previously unknowable world."--Publishers Weekly
"The book rightfully challenges the methods and attitudes that prevail in supporting people with autism. It is rich in metaphor.... Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 should be read by many beyond the circle of parents seeking to understand their child. It places Mr. Higashida among the first rank of gifted writers, not just writers with autism."--The Economist
"Now that Naoki Higashida is a young adult, he has developed rich inner thoughts and he strives to learn more about the world around him. Until he was able to communicate with his alphabet grid, his loneliness was agony. He begs teachers and others who work with special-needs individuals to provide opportunities to learn and grow. A sheltered life is not paradise. Naoki maintains that to avoid impairment of personal development, he must have contact with 'some of the hardships other people endure.' This book is essential reading for parents and teachers of those with autism who remain nonverbal."--Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures
"Compelling insight on every single page, gently challenging assumptions you didn't even know you held on how others 'should' process the social and physical environments around us."--Ellen Notbohm, author of Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan, in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children's and picture books, poems, and essays. The subject of an award-winning Japanese television documentary in 2014, he continues to give presentations throughout the country about his experience of autism.
David Mitchell is the author of seven novels, including Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, and, most recently, Slade House. KA Yoshida was born in Yamaguchi, Japan, and specialized in English poetry at Notre Dame Seishin University. KA Yoshida and David Mitchell live in Ireland with their two children.
240 pages. 2017
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