At first I was a little shocked at the title. Then I read El Deafo, Cece Bell‘s graphic novel/memoir of her childhood: how she became deaf and how she felt about it growing up. Bell shows us the many friends and a pseudo-friend, but most importantly, Bell tells us straight-up how she felt about her hearing aids, other peoples’ reactions to her deafness and everything in between. At one point, Cece is watching a television show with her siblings where a character is called “Deafo”. Cece processes this, laughs, then goes upstairs and has an interesting conversation with herself where she calls herself “Deafo”, gets a little angry and then changes the term and herself into her very own superhero called El Deafo, a superhero who can act on her feelings when Cece herself is too shy.
El Deafo made the rounds through my family quickly, from my ten-year-old on up to my fifteen-year-old, and it won a Newbery Honor for 2014. There isn’t anything else out there like this book and it’s fabulous.