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El Deafo Paperback – 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 text refers to the Library Binding edition.
'A serious subject treated with warmth and humour.' Little London magazine "Full of warmth, humor, and superpowered strength, El Deafo is an absolute treat." Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile "Read El Deafo for the giggles, for the challenges, for the universal life experiences, and for the opportunity to be changed, even just a little. And for those readers who, like Cece, discover ways to turn the things the world calls weakness into the qualities they own as strengths, make sure to have a couple of capes on hand." Matthew C. Winner, The Busy Librarian 'It's an honest and rather sweet tale of a girl coming to terms with her disability, and as such the kind of story that will strike a chord with any child who has felt ostracised or different. El Deafo is heartfelt, eye-opening, funny and beautifully drawn.' The Financial Times 'Inspiring and honest, this is a wonderful graphic novel.' Book of the Week in We Love This Book and The Bookseller
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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!
1) It explores in realistic details the ups and downs of the life of a little girl as she grows up from kindergarten to the end of elementary school. It is not a sugar-coated fairy tale. The girl makes mistakes like we all do, wins and loses friends, has a crush, etc. It is all described in a way that kids should be able to relate to.
2) It deals with her deafness straight on. The book starts out in pretty traumatic fashion showing the confusion and pain the girl goes through when she gets ill, goes to the hospital and eventually falls deaf. It then goes on to explain the hearing aids she uses, how they work, how she lives with them and how they impact her reality. It also explores lip reading and sign language.
3) Adults are shown to be regular people, too. Moms get together and chat and smoke. The gym teacher is a brute who breaks things. During classroom breaks the teacher complains to other teachers about her students.
Over all, a refreshingly different and realistic book that explores in depth the challenges faced by a girl who goes deaf. A great read and great material for a young mind to ponder.