A New Super Hero!


El Deafoel deafo

Written & illustrated by CeCe Bell

Published by Amulet Books, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1020-9

Format: Graphic novel; Print book; 23 cm

248 Pages ~ Ages 8-12

Brief Summary

At age 4, CeCe is diagnosed with meningitis and subsequently loses her hearing; but it takes her a while to realize it. She goes about her normal life thinking the people around her are ignoring her. A few weeks later, her mom becomes aware CeCe has lost her hearing and takes her to the doctor. Receiving a hearing aid, CeCe seems to be happy she can hear again. Only, everyone notices her hearing aid and that she is deaf, which causes kids her age to treat her different. El Deafo tells the story of how difficult it is to start a new school and make new friends, especially when everyone thinks you’re “different.” How can CeCe make and keep friends, tell others how she really feels about the way they treat her, and have super powers? With the help of her Phonic Ear and the super powers it grants her, CeCe becomes El Deafo.

Review

I ❤️ this book! It was both funny and heart warming. CeCe’s story is one that tugs at my heart strings. Being an advocate of inclusion, I felt a little sad that a child goes through so many emotions and feels so left out because of what others perceive make them different. The last few chapters were totally unexpected, but definitely made me smile. I haven’t been much of a graphic novel reader but I enjoyed the illustrations and how they complement the text. One of the things I like most is how Bell uses the word balloons. I found it quite interesting to see how a person who is deaf or hearing-impaired experiences those (and the noise – or lack of) around them. Children who are deaf/hearing-impaired can relate to the book and those who aren’t get a glimpse into the others’ lives. El Deafo shows how friendships change and some issues children face. Hands down, everyone should read this book! It’s always good to step outside of your comfort zone and learn about and from others.I give El Deafo 👂👂👂👂👂.

Strengths

  • panels are easy to follow
  • good balance between dialogue and illustration
  • theme and subject matter are age appropriate
  • includes author’s note about being deaf/hearing-impaired
  • teaches important social/life lessons

Weaknesses

  • may be a little lengthy for 8 year olds

Uses

El Deafo is a great book to use with a middle grade book club. For a teacher librarian looking to incorporate important societal themes and issues with book club members, this book would create great conversation about the importance of fostering inclusion in school and social settings and how bullying affects peers. El Deafo‘s appeal to both boys and girls might also make it a successful reader’s theatre option.

Awards

  • Newbery Honor (2015)
  • Kirkus Prize Nominee for Young Readers’ Literature (2014)
  • Charlotte Huck Honor Book (2015)

Listen to author CeCe Bell discuss El Deafo.

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