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El Deafo
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El Deafo
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Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny,...
Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny,...
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  • Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn't—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become "El Deafo, Listener for All." And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she's longed for.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Cece Bell has written and illustrated several books for children, including the Geisel Honor book Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover. She lives in Virginia with her husband, author Tom Angleberger.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 7, 2014
    A bout of childhood meningitis left Bell (Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover) deaf at age four, and she was prescribed a Phonic Ear, with a receiver draped across her chest and a remote microphone her teachers wore. Her graphic memoir records both the indignities of being a deaf child in a hearing community (“IS. THAT. AAAY. HEAR-ING. AAAID?”) and its joys, as when she discovers that the microphone picks up every word her teacher says anywhere in the school. Bell’s earnest rabbit/human characters, her ability to capture her own sonic universe (“eh sounz lah yur unnah wawah!”), and her invention of an alter ego—the cape-wearing El Deafo, who gets her through stressful encounters (“How can El Deafo free herself from the shackles of this weekly humiliation?” she asks as her mother drags her to another excruciating sign language class)—all combine to make this a standout autobiography. Cece’s predilection for bursting into tears at the wrong time belies a gift for resilience that makes her someone readers will enjoy getting to know. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 1, 2014
    A humorous and touching graphic memoir about finding friendship and growing up deaf. When Cece is 4 years old, she becomes "severely to profoundly" deaf after contracting meningitis. Though she is fitted with a hearing aid and learns to read lips, it's a challenging adjustment for her. After her family moves to a new town, Cece begins first grade at a school that doesn't have separate classes for the deaf. Her nifty new hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, allows her to hear her teacher clearly, even when her teacher is in another part of the school. Cece's new ability makes her feel like a superhero-just call her "El Deafo"-but the Phonic Ear is still hard to hide and uncomfortable to wear. Cece thinks, "Superheroes might be awesome, but they are also different. And being different feels a lot like being alone." Bell (Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, 2012) shares her childhood experiences of being hearing impaired with warmth and sensitivity, exploiting the graphic format to amplify such details as misheard speech. Her whimsical color illustrations (all the human characters have rabbit ears and faces), clear explanations and Cece's often funny adventures help make the memoir accessible and entertaining. Readers will empathize with Cece as she tries to find friends who aren't bossy or inconsiderate, and they'll rejoice with her when she finally does. Worthy of a superhero. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2014

    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

    Copyright 2014 SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books LionAwesomeness - El Deafo is a wonderfully written and illustrated story that demonstrates what life used to be like if you were hard of hearing….Cece Bell tells the hardships of having to wear a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest through a superhero she calls El Deafo. El Deafo wears a red flowing cape and shows off the hearing aid proudly. Cece on the other hand hides the hearing aid, hoping no one will notice that she is deaf. Cece struggles to make friends in school because she is deaf, and she moves away from her close friends in the neighborhood. Cece goes through several friends, trying to find one not too bossy, snobby, or annoying. Cece Bell portrays her characters as little bunny like creatures, perhaps because she says her favorite stuffed animal is a bunny named Miss Bunn. Find out her troubles, her worries, and her accomplishments in this graphic novel about growing up deaf!

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