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With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, Vol. 1 Paperback – September 24, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Potentially one of the most significant mangas in years, this engrossing book is certainly one of the most unusual: a long, realistically drawn narrative about a young couple coping with the discovery that their infant son is autistic. Masato and Saachiko Azuma need time to realize that their beautiful little boy, Hikaru, is unable to communicate personally. The official diagnosis of autism confuses and devastates the parents. Masato dives headlong into his career to avoid home; Sachiko is angry at Hikaru's behavior, but also tormented by guilt that she's somehow to blame. As they learn and experience more, they become closer to Hikaru and each other. They meet helpful allies, collide with ignorant hostility and savor glimpses through cracks in Hikaru's shell. They become a family. As this volume ends, the three of them are adjusting to a new family member—Hikaru's normal little sister. The story works as a comic. too; fluid layout keeps the action moving through pages of talking-head conversations, and the childish innocence of manga characters has never been more appropriate. Just as Tom Batiuk used breast cancer as a basis for his outstanding Lisa's Story, so With the Light also offers a moving, artistically successful experience. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Keiko Tobe was an acclaimed Japanese manga artist whose masterwork With the Light strove to bring the everyday struggles of raising a child with autism to a wider audience. With the Light earned her the Japan Media Arts Festival's Manga Division Excellence Prize in 2004, and the series was also adapted into a critically-acclaimed drama series in Japan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (September 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0759523568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0759523562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a parent myself of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) I'm naturally curious about any kind of material dealing with autism. I'm also a big fan of Japanese manga and all of the cute characters and wonderful stories that can be found in this genre. As such, I was quite delighted to discover this work by Keiko Tobe in my local bookstore and after a quick read of the jacket and scan of the artwork, I knew that I would not set With the Light back on the shelf and leave without it.

Sachiko Azuma is a new mom whose first baby has just been born at sunrise and gives him the name Hikaru which literally means "light" in Japanese. Sadly, the joy of her new motherhood is rather shortlived at first. Hikaru turns out to be quite different from the other babies in Sachiko's small mother's group. He cries all the time and dislikes being held closely and not knowing about the autism yet, Sachiko starts to take it personally and becomes very distressed. Her workaholic husband Masato isn't very supportive either and is always complaining that what little sleep he gets is disturbed by Hikaru's crying in the night. All of Sachiko's idealistic dreams of motherhood and family come crashing down around her. She even starts to receive derision from her mother's group and her in-laws, Masato's family. Sachiko actually begins to accept their false accusations and blames herself for Hikaru's dreadful behaviors and she becomes very depressed.

This story doesn't end sadly though. Suspecting that Hikaru is deaf, Sachiko takes him to a doctor for examination. The first doctor isn't sure, so she takes him to another who determines quite conclusively that Hikaru is not deaf, but may have autism, a disorder Sachiko has never heard of.
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This beautifully done manga effort provides so much insight into raising a child with autism for those unfamiliar with the disorder that I cannot rate it less than five stars. Japanese manga artist Keiko Tobe was inspired to create this series after meeting a child with autism, a male kindergarten classmate of her younger son, as well as the boy's mother, who wanted him to be a "cheerful working adult". Serialization of this story began in 2000 in a Josei drama manga magazine called "For Mrs." that provides stories aimed at housewives about everyday experiences of women living in Japan. Entries were later collected into volumes, and this volume is the first of an eventual 8-volume English translation. Some readers might be interested in knowing that in 2004 it was also adapted as a Japanese television drama that won several awards, including "Best Drama" at Japan's 41st Television Drama Academy Awards.

This series is about a family whose son Hikaru is autistic, and this first volume follows alongside Hikaru's birth and how his mother Sachiko later works with him through his early elementary years after realizing that her son is different than other children. While the dreams she had for her son were initially shattered, the story elegantly walks the reader through the various stages of acceptance in these early years, both of Sachiko and the individuals surrounding the life of the family, and shows the eventual strength that Sachiko develops as a mother warrior fighting to help her son. Judgmental family members, ignorant physicians, and a misinformed public. It's all there. As the father of a son diagnosed with autism, I see my family and health care providers, as well as the general public, in this story.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first time in seven years of being an Amazon.com member that I liked something so very much I felt compelled to review it.

This book is not only three times as thick as a regular manga, but also moving and enlightening. A must read, both for manga fans and people who have to deal with autism in their everyday lives. I cried more than once while reading it. Looking forward to more volumes.
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~3.5/5

I’ve been interested in this book ever since I first heard about it. And I’m glad I finally picked it up.

Sachiko Azuma is at first perfectly happy. She’s happily married to a business man and just gave birth to her first baby boy. But then her husband starts working more and is never happy when home. And her perfect baby boy cries all the time and doesn’t like it when she holds him. He acts different than the other kids, but Sachiko doesn’t know how to handle it.

When it gets so bad she can’t handle it, she has to accept that her son is autistic, and then she has a fight with her husband.

It’s really tough at times, and seemed really realistic. Harshly realistic, really. Because at this point, few people knew what autism was, and most believed that it was caused by the mother not raising the child correctly. Hikaru, her son, is definitely hard to get to know; he doesn’t talk, he doesn’t understand social conventions, he doesn’t like being touched. But slowly, Sachiko learns how to handle him, how to teach him in a way he’ll understand, and she meets people who understand and help her.

Living with autism is hard, and it takes a while for Sachiko to get used to it, to really understand it. But I like that she grew confident in herself and how she dealt with Hikaru, even in public. I especially liked that she didn’t try to hide it, that she was honest with everyone around her when it became apparent that something was odd with Hikaru. And it was nice that her husband and family backed her up about it.

I wasn’t sure where her marriage was going to go in the beginning, because her husband was just a jerk. But after their fight, when he gets overworked, he has to face reality and decide that being with his family is more important.
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