El Deafo

9781419710209_custom-27fa9edbf6ebfdeb7eafce38453e6fe6b85d8775-s400-c85At 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.


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at wendybooydegraaff.com or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
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5 Responses to El Deafo

  1. Adam says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like an amazing book and is now officially on my to-read list. Basic concept kind of reminds me of Flora and Ulysses, in that it uses superhero-ideas to tell a much more endearing story about childhood.

  2. LuAnn says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this book. Never heard of it before. My daughter got hearing aides last year (at age 11). I’m sure this book’ll be one she (and I) will be interested in!

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