Title: El Deafo
Author: Cece Bell
Published: September 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Graphic Novel Memoir
How I got the book: I borrowed it from my cousin
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?
I’ve discovered graphic novels again so when my cousin mentioned she had to read this for summer reading, I asked to borrow it.
The book begins with our protagonist, a bunny, Cece, at four-years-old. She becomes ill and as a result, she loses her hearing.
We follow her all the way through fifth grade as she switches hearing aids, trying to come to terms with them, attempting to read lips, learn sign language, and overall, making friends.
This is a memoir based on the author coming to terms with her loss of hearing. It’s a touching story.
Cece, the protagonist, is a wonderful character to follow. She’s sweet, but self-conscious about her hearing aids and feels awkward that she has to give her teacher a microphone in front of the whole class. She doesn’t view her being deaf as something unique or special, she doesn’t know why it happened to her, even though she tries to embrace it by calling it her “superpower.”
She’s focused on trying to make friends who accept her for who she is and she has a tough time with that, especially because she’s still trying to accept herself.
Cece’s various friends were well rounded and certainly different from each other. They all seemed to accept her loss of hearing, but they showed it in different ways. One friend was pushy and bossy while another spoke loudly and slowly all the time.
Her parents and siblings were wonderful as well. Her mother tried her best to understand, but she was very supportive and did everything for her daughter she possibly could.
It’s a graphic novel, so of course, the pictures made the story. All the characters were bunnies and Cece was the narrator. There was a good share of dialogue, but there was a lot of Cece narrating as well as dream sequences of her using her hearing aids as a superpower.
It’s a really cool way to portray the story as a young child sees it and goes through it.
I enjoyed this story a lot. It’s not often you get a protagonist who’s deaf. It was interesting and fun and cute as well. This story is about making friends and accepting who you are. I would recommend this to anyone and read more of Cece Bell’s books.
El Deafo by Cece Bell gets…
5 out of 5 stars
“And being different? That turned out to be the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.” –Cece Bell, El Deafo
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