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With the Light... Vol. 4: Raising an Autistic Child [Paperback]

Keiko Tobe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 16.99
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Book Description

March 24 2009 With the Light... (Book 4)
When staffing changes at Masato's company get him transferred to a dead-end job in the middle of nowhere, more suffering and despair seem imminent for the Azuma family. However, Masato approaches the situation with aplomb and comes up with new ways to pave the way for Hikaru and those like him to become "cheerful working adults"...with surprising results. Hikaru himself seems to be getting closer, bit by bit, to achieving this goal as the Azumas decide to foster their son's independence in a variety of ways, including getting to and from school on his own. But when Hikaru encounters an old acquaintance on the way home and leads Sachiko to a horrific discovery, will the Azumas be able to return a favor and help out a friend in need?


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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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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inner Light Keeps Shining! Oct. 8 2009
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This stellar masterpiece of a book makes me think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "The Inner Light." It might make you cry. This book will infuse those fortunate enough to read it with the Light of Hope.

Since this book was written in the Japanese manga style, readers are also treated to Japanese literary culture. The book's story sequence is from right to left, which is the opposite of most Western languages. A glossary of Japanese words and a list of Japanese holidays and description of services for people with autism are provided as well. Readers are engaging in a form of cultural sharing with this book.

Sachiko and Masato Azuma's first child, Hikaru is named for the sunrise - he is a ray of new light into their lives. He is like the 1969 George Harrison classic, "Here Comes the Sun," as his birth was just like a sunrise - new and full of promise. Hikaru is a linking of cultures as well. Masato's mother is Western and his late father was plainly Japanese. Sachiko is Western. Hikaru is more Asian in appearance. There are other non-Asian and even Eurasian characters in this book as well, which provides a "diverse" look at Japan and Japanese culture.

Hikaru Azuma, now 10 is in the 5th grade. His sister Kanon, 3 is a student at the same preschool Hikaru attended and is very outgoing. She continues to give Hikaru crash courses in socialization as she is an in-your-face personality.

Their father, Masato is facing a whole set of isssues as well. He is transferred from his office to a tedious job with no promise for advancement in a remote city. Despite these professional setbacks, Masato finds inspiration in a very unlikely place. Sachiko, meanwhile is allowing Hikaru more freedom and encourages him to walk to and from school.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inner Light Keeps Shining! Aug. 7 2009
By BeatleBangs1964 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This stellar masterpiece of a book makes me think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "The Inner Light." It might make you cry. This book will infuse those fortunate enough to read it with the Light of Hope.

Since this book was written in the Japanese manga style, readers are also treated to Japanese literary culture. The book's story sequence is from right to left, which is the opposite of most Western languages. A glossary of Japanese words and a list of Japanese holidays and description of services for people with autism are provided as well. Readers are engaging in a form of cultural sharing with this book.

Sachiko and Masato Azuma's first child, Hikaru is named for the sunrise - he is a ray of new light into their lives. He is like the 1969 George Harrison classic, "Here Comes the Sun," as his birth was just like a sunrise - new and full of promise. Hikaru is a linking of cultures as well. Masato's mother is Western and his late father was plainly Japanese. Sachiko is Western. Hikaru is more Asian in appearance. There are other non-Asian and even Eurasian characters in this book as well, which provides a "diverse" look at Japan and Japanese culture.

Hikaru Azuma, now 10 is in the 5th grade. His sister Kanon, 3 is a student at the same preschool Hikaru attended and is very outgoing. She continues to give Hikaru crash courses in socialization as she is an in-your-face personality.

Their father, Masato is facing a whole set of isssues as well. He is transferred from his office to a tedious job with no promise for advancement in a remote city. Despite these professional setbacks, Masato finds inspiration in a very unlikely place. Sachiko, meanwhile is allowing Hikaru more freedom and encourages him to walk to and from school. Sachiko is also spreading her own wings and taking on more job assignments.

During one such walk home from school, Hikaru's old schoolmate, Oki visits the old neighborhood. A semi-orphan in foster care, Oki decides to take a walk by the old school. He sees Hikaru and decides to follow him home as he did in the previous installment when Hikaru wandered onto a bus and a train and ended up over 100 miles from home.

Sachiko and Kanon are waiting for Hikaru and greet Oki. He nearly gets hit by a car and Sachiko insists on taking him to her family doctor. The doctor examines the boy and finds evidence of physical abuse, which Oki denies. He slips out of the doctor's office so as to get back to the orphanage before he is missed.

It is there that a litany of horrors are uncovered. Readers learn more about Oki. His alcoholic father has since died and the boy's mother's whereabouts remain unknown. Oki is targeted by bullies and forced to steal. His ribs are fractured in one such attack.

Luck changes for Oki. Masato visits him at the orphanage to thank him for saving Hikaru the previous year. He tells Oki that if he can help him, he will. After much inner debate, Oki gathers up his courage to describe the abuse at the orphanage. The place is run by a singularly cruel man who actually beats the boys. A dorm worker risks her job by going behind other staff's back to try and protect the boys. The Azumas' doctor, a truly delightful man also has a hand in helping Oki.

Meanwhile, Hikaru is making some progress with a teacher who is ill suited and not trained in teaching students with special needs. His younger classmate Miyu, 7, is severely autistic and barely verbal. She often gets lost between the bathroom and the classroom and this has resulted in several accidents. She uses picture cards to communicate. Hikaru's old friends/mentors who have known him from preschool step up to the plate for him again in this installment. Moe and Nobuaki volunteer to work 1x1 with Hikaru and Miyu. Moe and Nobuaki understand Hikaru and Miyu's need for schedules; they speak to them in soft tones and encourage them to do their work. A bright, popular boy named Tanaka, from the old preschool crowd is by now a pre-teen idol. He, too steps up to the plate for Hikaru and is delightfully unaffected by his new pop status.

This is a wonderful book about acceptance and the characters with autism are refreshingly realistic and sympathetic. The illustrations are first rate and readers learn a lot about services in Japan for people with autism. Hikaru and Miyu as well as their neurotypical peers continue in their lessons in tolerance.

Keiko Tobe has unified people from all over the world with this stellar book. She wisely included explanations and descriptions of Japanese culture and mores as well as some humor. While Tobe does not go into great detail about autism, her story and the magnificent drawings clearly depict severely autistic behavior and how it impacts others.

This is a delightful book that will remain a bright light in the hearts of all who read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This manga just keeps getting better and better! Dec 5 2010
By Rachael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing manga about a woman whose son, Hikaru, has autism and mental disabilities. She and her family encounter many difficulties with the world around them, and the story does an excellent job of demonstrating how it is society's perception of people with disabilities that needs to be fixed, not the people themselves.

In this volume, Sachiko Azuma and Honda-san continue to struggle with Gunji-sensei's ignorance about children with autism, and how her teaching methods interfere with Hikaru and Miyu's development. Meanwhile, Masato, her husband, is sent to an isolated branch of his company, and Hikaru prepares to take a developmental assessment. Hikaru is reunited with an old acquaintance, who is being bullied by his classmates. When Kanata Tanaka moves away, his classmates--including Hikaru--are affected in different ways.

I cannot stop reading this series. Each of the characters are developing wonderfully, especially Hikaru. Instead of trying to "cure" him of his autism, his family and friends learn to work with him, and with others, to make life manageable. I found this mentality refreshing. Autism is not curable, and a cure is not always desired. I think more people who do not understand autism should read this manga, because it is easy to understand and, along with the fiction, supplies real information about autism and about people who have autism.

This volume introduces a few new characters, and we get the chance to see someone from a previous volume, whose situation has not improved since we last saw him. Other issues, such as child abuse and bullying, are also explored with graveness and sensitivity.
5.0 out of 5 stars With the Light, Vol. 4 Shipping. April 9 2014
By Lydia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is my favorite book series, and moreover, it had one of my favorite chapters in it. So I was ecstatic when it came in the mail! And to make things better, it was perfectly clean, like it was brand new, even though I bought it from the Used Section!
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