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With The Light
Raising An Autistic Child - Book I

by Keiko Tobe

      Yen Press is the new imprint from Little, Brown Book Group, and publishes manga of all kinds. This first book will come as a surprise to anybody who associates manga with fantasy, but shows just how broad manga can be, with something for everybody. New mother Sachiko Azuma gazes fondly at her first child, and names him Hikaru, meaning "to be bright". But there seems to be something wrong with him - can he be deaf, as he does not respond when people address him? Why does his behavior give such cause for concern? A specialist examines Hikaru, and diagnoses autism.

Although this is a novel, I was impressed at how much I learned about autism from reading it and without being aware of it. Initially, Sachiko and her husband have problems over their "difficult" son; people donít understand and are unsympathetic. But Sachiko is determined that Hikaru will have a chance and thus follows her efforts at getting him into day care, a kindergarten, etc., and all the ups and downs of daily life. If you are not used to graphic novels - or not this type of story being told graphically - you are in good hands, as the standard of the illustrations is high and so much can be conveyed with this combination of words and pictures. It is easy to see why quality manga is so popular worldwide, and gives a whole new spin on enjoying a story that is perhaps midway between reading a book and watching TV. At the back of the book are some readable case studies of autistic individuals, more books to read, and a helpful glossary for those not familiar with Japan. This is only book one, but satisfyingly complete in all the ways that count. An auspicious beginning for Yen Press.

The Book

Yen Press (Little, Brown)
17 October 2007
0759523568 / 9780759523562
General Fiction / Manga / Japan
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007