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Now I See the Moon: A Mother, a Son, a Miracle Hardcover – June 29, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this especially timely, painstakingly positive work, a children's film coach recounts her adoption of a troubled Russian toddler and her long, tortuous, ultimately enlightening journey to treat his nonverbal autism. A former actress, Hall worked as a successful "baby wrangler" for Hollywood feature films; 40-something, married nine years, active in her Jewish faith, and devastated by successive miscarriages, she along with her then husband traveled to an orphanage in Yekaterinburg, Russia, to adopt a quiet two-year-old. Neal, as she named him, couldn't speak or make eye contact, and despite Hall's belief in his innate intelligence, the boy was eventually diagnosed with "severe sensory dysfunction." She beautifully chronicles Neal's development to the age of his bar mitzvah vis-aÌÇ-vis his responses--positive and negative--to the slew of experts and coaches Hall found to create therapies tailored to his very individual needs. Though Hall's marriage dissolved under the pressure of Neal's care, and there were moments Hall truly believed she and her son were "slouching toward normal," she had to accept that Neal would never be "cured" of autism. She created her life's work in the Miracle Project, a theater arts program for autistic kids (eventually made into the Emmy Award–winning documentary Autism: The Musical).
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“Enlightening…timely, painstakingly positive...[Hall] beautifully chronicles Neal’s development. She created her life’s work in the Miracle Project, a theater arts program for autistic kids” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Now I See the Moon provides insightful ways to teach and work with individuals with autism and severe disabilities. It will give parents great hope.” (Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures)

“Elaine Hall’s Miracle Project is a “miracle”—a miracle of ingenuity, human intimacy, and creativity. This magnificent work vividly demonstrates the joy and hope of discovering the creative and emotional capacities which exist in all children, but especially in those children with autism and other special needs.” (Dr. Stanley Greenspan, author of The Child with Special Needs and Engaging Autism)

“A moving, unvarnished look at living with autism and a helpful guide to action.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Now I See the Moon is a beautiful story about a Mother’s love, a boy’s depth, and the transformative power of hope. Her son Neal is an inspiration and a miracle. I encourage every parent to read this wonderful book; It will change the way you think about autism.” (Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University and author of The Bedside Torah)

“Now I See the Moon is must reading for anyone connected with a child who has special needs. A beautiful example of love and determination. It is also an inspiration to all women going through life transitions and learning to connect with and trust their inner guidance.” (Dr. Margaret Paul, author of Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You)

“Now I See the Moon isa riveting and miraculous ride. Elaine Hall weaves her incredible story in a gutsy, inspirational, painful, hilarious, but always honest manner...overflowing with moments that realistically convey the agony of autism, as well as the gifts autism brings.” (Barry M. Prizant, Director of Childhood Communication Services, and Adjunct Professor in the Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University)

“In her courageously candid memoir, Elaine describes the challenges and rewards of parenting a child with autism. She usefully explains how she’s expanded her son’s world through theatre and play. Most of all, Elaine describes the human heart. And how rising to meet the challenges of love will grow it.” (Janet Grillo, executive producer of Autism: The Musical)

“Elaine Hall is a miracle worker with kids who face special challenges. She has an intuitive, creative connection with them, which together they put into theater and film with profound results for the kids and their families. Our family experienced this first hand. Her story is powerful and inspiring.” (David O. Russell, director of Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, and The Fighter)

“A brilliant, spiritual journey filled with out-of-the-box creativity, love and passion. Elaine Hall’s voice lingers long after turning the last page, inspiring powerful living despite any and all challenges. Best read with milk and warm gluten-free cookies.” (Keri Bowers, director of Normal People Scare Me)

“This serene and spiritual account of bringing up a shrewd, loveable and intelligent autistic boy also sparkles with the exuberant tale of how Elaine founded The Miracle Project, a terrific theatre group for autistic and ‘typical’ kids alike. The book goes far beyond ‘brave,’ and well into ‘spectacular.’” (Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life)

“Many books about autism are either instructive but clinical, inspiring but not informative. Now I See The Moon is that rare combination: it reads like an inspirational tale, yet it educates and advances important issues. Elaine is at once a guide, a counselor, an educator, and a truly inspiring mom.” (Erik Linthorst, Director of the film Austistic-Like: Graham's Story)

“Elaine Hall has a written a book of shimmering honesty. The generosity of her telling made me grateful, inspired, proud, and at times, awe-struck. Anyone interested in the human journey should read this book. I look forward to offering it, like a torch, to my favorite people.” (Ilana Trachtman, director of Praying with Lior)

“Elaine Hall yanks the reader out of preconceived notions of what having a child with autism means. This book is for anyone wishing to learn about the potential autism has to bring out the best in people—and for developing a deeper appreciation of what true humanity is all about.” (Stephen Shore, professor of special education and author of Beyond the Wall)

“Elaine Hall must have been granted a magical visa into the world of children. She understands their wants, their fears, their dreams. Now I See the Moon is the story of a mother’s awesome love for her son. And how art and music can be coaxed from silence.” (Doug Atchison, writer and director of Akeelah and the Bee)

“An amazing story written by an indomitable woman and an important book for anyone wanting to nurture and appreciate the special gifts of autistic children.” (BookPage)

“Above all else, Elaine has written a book about the power of faith—faith in God, in the universe, in Neal and ultimately herself. It is because of her faith that Elaine stays positive, but it is because of Neal that she realizes that the miracle is in the journey.” (Linda Walder Fiddle, Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation)

“In Now I See the Moon Elaine Hall leads us on a journey to blessings, uplift and hope. In a voice filled with wisdom, she quickly becomes our coach—that unique person who teaches us the power of persistence, resiliency, faith, and love. This book is a revelation, a miracle.” (Naomi Levy, author of To Begin Again and Talking to God)

“Underlying all her work and life is Elaine’s deep spirituality, her love for kids, and her respect for all. That is Elaine’s great lesson and her gift to all who read her: accept children where ever they are. Meet them there. Then, take a journey of growth and community together.” (Alice Dewey Goldstone, producer of Hercules, Walt Disney Studios)

“Inspirational and realistic, Now I See the Moon shows how real progress can be made in the life of a child. So many of Elaine’s experiences reminded me of my own family’s struggle, as we search to find answers that will bring us closer to solving the mysteries of autism.” (Suzanne Wright, cofounder of Autism Speaks)

“How many nonverbal children with autism can understand every word we are saying? Elaine Hall tells us one such story in her heart-rending and beautifully written book, Now I See the Moon. Anyone who reads her book will find their own life illuminated by the experience.” (Portia Iverson, founder of Cure Autism Now and author of Strange Son)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061743801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061743801
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My son (who is four and lives with autism) and I frequently make trips to the library. After checking out and reading "now i see the moon" I knew that this was a book that I needed my own copy of. It resonated with me on so many levels. I had to buy it right away!

For the past two years in which I've known that my son has autism I've faced autism head on. We do numerous therapies (like Elaine, I'm also a Floortime advocate), dietary and bio-medical interventions. It is seriously 24/7 care. However, I have not yet taken the step to join an autism support group. My excuse is that I don't have time because I'm so involved with my son's care, and so I turn to books for support. And I've read lots of autism books.

If books come into our lives, the way people do - for specific purpose, then I'm convinced that I was supposed to read "now i see the moon" because I admit that up until this point I've been focused on reading autism 'recovery' stories. I was so drawn to Elaine's journey with Neal. I read the book so quickly and it left me wanting to hug both of them and thank them profusely.

I've always known how amazing my son is, but know that I need to find peace with autism because autism is not going away. Elaine's honesty, her faith, her passion, and her energy have me starting to take that first step towards autism acceptance. That step of letting go of 'normal'. I love how Elaine worded ..."the normal I so desperately craved has been trumped by miraculous."

Yes it has, Elaine. And in our case, yes, it can be!

Thanks again to Elaine and Neal for putting their journey in print, and the support and guidance you've brought to me and my son.
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Format: Hardcover
...when my son was first diagnosed with PDD-NOS.

The last 3 years have been hard. Joyful, but still many times I found myself in despair over my son. When would he talk? When would he be potty trained? When would he stop hurting his parents and sister? When would he start wanting to play with other kids? When would we have a real conversation with him?

I think that if I'd had this book 3 years ago, our lives wouldn't have been so different. But my attitude might have been, and that would've made all the difference.

One of the things that's stayed with me from Now I See the Moon is how Elaine Hall talks about disciplining Neal and his autism, not punishing them. And I realized that the many ways I try to "discipline" my child really is about punishing him and his autism.

Another thing that's stayed with me is how Elaine talks about her love for autism. I have spent the last 3 years fearing it and hating it. And even now, if a pill or procedure were invented that could disappear it from my child, I'd take it or try it, just for the sake of having the challenges parents have with their "neurotypical" children.

I don't love autism yet. But I am no longer as fearful and no longer as hateful. I don't know that I'll get to where she is, but I want to try, because of her words.
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Format: Hardcover
It was so exciting. I went home to read the book and couldn't put it down. Even though I know many of the stories... I don't know.. It is so beautifully written. I think all parents should have this book. I think all professionals should have this too because it is such a rich look into your life, your joys and struggles as well as the influence that you have had on others, and they have had on you.

Congratulations on another great success! And congratulations to Neal for allowing all of us to learn from him. He is doing what he is meant to do... bringing enlightenment, understanding and love to those he touches.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is truly one of the best books I have ever read. This book has changed my perspective on autism. I am no longer obsessing about finding a cure for my two children. I am just looking for the things that improve quality of life. This book is a must read for anybody that has someone close to the with autism.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw the movie "Autism, The Musical," and now I have a history to connect it with. Elaine Hall has written a stunning memoir of her life-- her struggle to maintain a pregnancy, her adoption, her slow acceptance of her son's autism, her unending hard work on his behalf. Weaving in and out of this story are several subplots that flesh out her character-- the middle and the end of her first marriage, the start of what will become her second marriage, her deep connections with family and friends, her organic spirituality. Most of all, her love and fierce devotion to her son Neal, are front and center. Though I am an ABA therapist and do not support Floortime or SonRise (and found it ironic that many methods she described are also ABA methods), I share her joy over her son's progress, and in the new community of specially abled people and their parents that she discovered while founding and running The Miracle Project. This is a delightful, uplifting book by a very talented writer.
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Format: Paperback
How do you describe a book that reaches deep within your inner being and has you close it with a feeling of, "I want the WORLD to experience this?!!" I did not expect this response. My gentle giant as I call my son, Ben, attended a conference where he met the gifted and amazing Elaine Hall. The next weekend, we watched her documentary, "Autism, The Musical," and I felt so many tears sliding down my face, and yet felt such an amazing peace, as I knew at this moment there was a champion of a woman that would change the world of Autism as many had known it. Ben would call on breaks at work, and we'd discuss "snippets" of her book, "Now I See the Moon," and soon his precious signed copy was in my hands. It is all he said and more. This is NOT just a book for parents like myself, of an autistic child, although it is indeed a book that gives great hope, purpose, and has one sitting on a mountain top with a whole new perspective after reading it. And it is indeed a "support system" in itself to parents with any challenges in child rearing (there's that WHOLE world needs it again...smile.) But it was a reminder to me because of Elaine's gift to write and convey through her very personal daily struggles and triumphs, to remember, with unconditional love and perseverance, the MIRACLES of Autism, will be made known. I thank you Elaine. Because of this book, I was able to "hold hands" on the journey, one that you embrace with such grace and gratitude! May I end my personal comments with asking all who read this book to Pay it Forward by sending copies to family and friends.
This is a book that everyone will find amazing, because everyone needs the miracle of love, of hope, and encouragement on their special journey :-)
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