Justin Canha, Keiko Tobe and “Raising an Autistic Child” [Manga, recommended]

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This Sunday, the New York Times profiled Justin Canha (Link), a young, autistic artist from Montclair, New Jersey who, at 22, is trying hard to find a good work environment and make his first close personal friends.

Link to the New York Times article (Link).

The piece was written by Amy Harmon (Link) and featured on BoingBoing (Link), one of my favourite blogs, and it reminded me of one of the nicest graphic novel surprises of 2011 – Keiko Tobe’s educational manga about autism and child-rearing, “With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child” (Link, Wikipedia).

At BoingBoing, I wrote a small recommendation, and I’ll cross-post it here:

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“engaging NYT article: great tone, and some much-needed context.

I especially enjoyed seeing Justin’s trippy / irreverent animation video: http://video1.nytimes.com/vide…

[in fact, it reminded me a lot of artist Anthony Ausgang, Link]

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I’m commenting to give a book recommendation, though: Keike Tobé’s “With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child” is an 8-volume self-help/’josei’ manga (that is: target audience are women, post-puberty, Link) that shows a nervous and insecure mom dealing with the autism of Hikaru, her first-born son.

“With the Light” is slow and a little didactic, and you might need to read two Volumes to get in the right mood / rhythm. But as a resource, I found it incredibly helpful. And as a story, it may start a little wooden… but it grows on you, and gets more and more complex. You learn TONS of stuff about the Japanese school and social security system, and over time, there emerges a big goal for Hikaru’s future life, post-high school: to become a “cheerful, working adult”.

Will he make it? I’m not sure: I’m only in Volume 6 of 8 (Link, released this week), and tragically, the creator of the Manga died in 2009, before she was able to finish her work.

Still: I cannot recommend this enough. Have a look: The US translation is solid, and there are lots of annotations plus some additional essays / resources in the back of each volume.

Goodreads Link to reviews and ratings for Volume 1:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/…

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