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El Deafo Hardcover – September 2, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–6—Cece loses her hearing from spinal meningitis, and takes readers through the arduous journey of learning to lip read and decipher the noise of her hearing aid, with the goal of finding a true friend. This warmly and humorously illustrated full-color graphic novel set in the suburban '70s has all the gripping characters and inflated melodrama of late childhood: a crush on a neighborhood boy, the bossy friend, the too-sensitive-to-her-Deafness friend, and the perfect friend, scared away. The characters are all rabbits. The antics of her hearing aid connected to a FM unit (an amplifier the teacher wears) are spectacularly funny. When Cece's teacher leaves the FM unit on, Cece hears everything: bathroom visits, even teacher lounge improprieties It is her superpower. She deems herself El Deafo! inspired in part by a bullied Deaf child featured in an Afterschool Special. Cece fearlessly fantasizes retaliations. Nevertheless, she rejects ASL because it makes visible what she is trying to hide. She ventures, "Who cares what everyone thinks!" But she does care. She loathes the designation "special," and wants to pass for hearing. Bell tells it all: the joy of removing her hearing aid in summer, the troubles watching the TV when the actor turns his back, and the agony of slumber party chats in the dark. Included is an honest and revealing afterword, which addresses the author's early decision not to learn ASL, her more mature appreciation for the language, and her adage that, "Our differences are our superpowers."—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
"This warmly and humorously illustrated full-color graphic novel set in the suburban ‘70s has all the gripping characters and inflated melodrama of late childhood: a crush on a neighborhood boy, the bossy friend, the too-sensitive-to-her-Deafness friend, and the perfect friend, scared away."
"This memoir is thus exceptionally informative and entertaining in relation to some aspects of deaf communication, but, most centrally and powerfully, it is exceptional for its perceptive, indomitable protagonist and complex story of friendship, growth, and classroom and family dynamics."
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Top customer reviews
I want my family to read this. I want my friends to read this. I want the whole world to read this!!!!! Cece's descriptions are dead on and this book is so important for those of us trying to live a normal life in a difficult situation. I'm forever grateful for El Deafo. And my friends, please keep the lights on and your face towards me. Thanks!
El Deafo by Cece Bell
This is a graphic novel that tells the story of Cece, a young girl who is deaf. She has to wear a contraption to school that includes a microphone for her teachers to use so she can hear their instruction. Cece feels very obtrusive wearing it and begins to imagine her alter ego--"El Deafo" who has superpowers and the confidence Cece does not have. This book spans several years of her schooling and shows the ups and downs of her interactions with her family, friends, teachers and strangers. I plan on using this book with the students in my Young Adult Literature class in the fall.
El Deafo is a graphic novel about a little girl who loses her hearing at the age of four after a bout with meningitis. On the surface, much of the story is devoted to her self-consciousness about her deafness and the large hearing aids she has to use to compensate. At its core, however, it is a timeless tale about the worthy and sometimes difficult endeavor of finding a true friend. As in real life, the main character has successes and setbacks, and she learns a variety of important lessons along the way. It is charming, uplifting, funny, and very touching.
I would recommend this book for anyone age seven or eight (depending on reading ability) to 100+. The graphic novel format provides context clues and further insight for newer readers; for example, there are daydreaming sequences throughout the story which could normally be confusing, but in El Deafo the separation from the main story is crystal clear. In addition to the increased clarity, I thought the graphic novel format added a lot to the story in terms of emotional depth and humor.
I finished El Deafo yesterday, and took just enough time to order a couple more copies before starting it over again!