“The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-Year-Old Boy with Autism” will be the featured book this year in Livermore Public Library’s annual community reading program.
Naoki Higashida was 13 when the memoir was first published in Japan in 2007. The book became a New York Times bestseller after an English translation was published in 2013.
“The Reason I Jump” was adapted into a feature-length documentary and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.
Much of the memoir consists of Higashida’s answers to 58 questions people with autism are often asked, including “Why do people with autism speak so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and your blocks? and “Why don’t you make eye contact when you talk?”
Another question, “What is the reason you jump”, led to the title of the book. Higashida’s response was “When I jump, it’s like my feelings are rising to the sky.”
Higashida, who is non-verbal, is said to have written the book using an alphabet grid to spell the words and construct the sentences he is unable to say aloud. The book ends with a short story, “I’m Right Here”.
The Livermore Reads Together program, sponsored by the Friends of Livermore Public Library, encourages community members to read a featured book and then participate in related programs and activities.
This year, those activities include free online screenings of the PG-rated documentary from March 4-7. To register and receive the link to view the film online, call 925-373-5505.
Other activities include:
“Drumming for Inclusion,” an in-person outdoor drumming circle program scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 4 at the Rincon Library; 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 at the Civic Center Library and 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 at the Springtown Library.
“Turtle Dance Music,” an interactive, autism-friendly online music program for children at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 5. To access the Zoom-based program, visit bit.ly/3EMbTSn.
“DIY Stims,” a craft program for students in grades 6-12, will be offered outdoors at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at the Rincon Library and at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 11 at the civic center.
“Fairy Tale Engineering,” a class that encourages kids to use their creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills to problem solve fairy tale characters, will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17, on the terrace of the civic center library. The Wednesday session is open to all children, while the Thursday session is designed to meet the needs of children with developmental and physical disabilities and their families. No registration is required.
The library will also host several online discussions about autism in conjunction with the Livermore Reads Together program.
Eric Garcia, author of “We Are Not Broken: Changing the Conversation on Autism,” will speak at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 7. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/87657222283.
Anlor Davin, author of “Being Seen: Memoir of an Autistic Mother, Immigrant, And Zen Student,” will speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/85991440426.
Steve Silberman, New York Times bestselling author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity,” will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/82049686905. Questions for Silberman can be emailed in advance to [email protected], using “Question for Steve Silberman” in the subject line.
Cynthia Patton, Livermore Poet Laureate and founder of the nonprofit organization Autism A to Z, will host an “autistic moms” poetry reading with authors Anne K. Ross, Jennifer Bush, and Leigh Merryday, at 7 p.m. on Monday, 2 p.m. March. To access the program, go to us02web.zoom.us/j/83747071240.
Dr. Laurie Leventhal-Belfer, author of “College on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to Students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing,” will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16. Registration is required by calling 925-373-5505.
Michael Bernick and Louis A. Vismara, authors of “The Autism Full Employment Act: The Next Stage of Jobs for Adults with Autism, ADHD, and Other Learning and Mental Health Differences,” will speak at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 19. Registration is required by calling 925-373-5505.
Dr. Temple Grandin, author, autism advocate, and professor of animal science at Colorado State University, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/82620390503. Questions for Grandin can be emailed in advance to [email protected], using “Question for Temple Grandin” in the subject line.
Dr. Yue Yu and Dr. Taffeta Wood, from the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute at the University of California, Davis, will discuss the latest research and clinical therapy for autism spectrum disorder at 7 p.m. on Wednesday 23 March. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/86979819290.
Teen poet, author, artist and autism advocate Matteo Musso and his mother, Annette Musso, who founded the nonprofit team Creative Autism Solutions, will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30. To access the presentation, visit us02web.zoom.us/j/86735033061.
The library is also planning a month-long exhibit at the civic center library featuring poetry and artwork from autistic youth.
All Livermore Reads Together events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit livermorelibrary.net.