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, which was 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.
"[Naoki Higashida's] success as a writer now transcends his diagnosis. . . . His relative isolation--with words as his primary connection to the outside world--has allowed him to fully develop the powers of observation that are necessary for good writing, and he has developed rich, deep perspectives on ideas that many take for granted. . . . The diversity of Higashida's writing, in both subject and style, fits together like a jigsaw puzzle of life put in place with humor and thoughtfulness."--The Japan Times "Profound insights about what the struggle of living with autism is really like . . . Once again, the invitation to step inside Higashida's mind is irresistible."--London Evening Standard "Naoki Higashida's lyrical and heartfelt account of his condition is a gift to anyone involved with the same challenges. . . . Higashida shows a delicate regard for the difficulties his condition creates . . . and is adept at explaining his experiences in language that makes sense to neurotypicals."--The Guardian "Wise and witty, [Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8] offers a second insider's insight into the mysteries of non-verbal autism--but this time from the vantage point of a young adult. . . . Moving . . . Higashida's reflections are at times refreshingly hard-nosed [and] his self-awareness is uplifting."--Financial Times "[Naoki Higashida's] thoughtful, syntactically complex writing puts the lie to the already dubious characterization of such individuals as 'low-functioning.'"--Toronto Star "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 "Illuminating . . . Higashida writes with confidence about his many interests, including nature and mathematics, and 'the immutable beauties of autism, ' and he reckons himself lucky to be wired as he is. . . . Autism is a mysterious neurological condition. . . . Higashida gives us a thoughtful view of the art of living well in its shadow."--Kirkus Reviews "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 "Higashida's accounts of thinking in images, feeling compelled to make repetitive movements and the difficulties and pleasures of communicating make this book totally captivating. . . . Readers will find this older Higashida not only eloquent and thoughtful, but also wise, measured and, most of all, kind."--BookPage "Readers open to the benefits of differences, including 'neurodiversity, ' will feel grateful that Higashida can use a typewriter-like alphabet grid to communicate and share his inner life in this can-do memoir."--Booklist "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