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El Deafo

Book Synopsis

El Deafo is a funny, deeply honest graphic novel memoir for middle graders. It chronicles the author’s hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with a powerful and very awkward hearing aid called the Phonic Ear. It gives her 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, Phonic Ear and all. Finally, she is 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.

Our Review Panel says...

We adore this moving graphic novel memoir about deafness by Cece Bell.

Cece Bell retells her memories of being a young child, when she experienced hearing loss after being ill with meningitis. In this graphic novel retelling of her life, characters are redrawn as charming anthropomorphic bunnies – although, after a few pages, you forget that they are not just people. Despite the challenges of her condition, Cece approaches life with positivity and bounce.  A throwaway comment by another child called her ‘El Deafo’ sparks the creation of a fun alter-ego, empowering her to think like a superhero would about her hearing aid (which she sees as cool gadgets that give her extra powers). Other themes covered in the story include friendship, moving class and celebrating differences.

Readers will whizz through this thought-provoking and unique graphic novel.  There’s also an author note that gives a little more background about Cece Bell’s life.

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El Deafo: Discussion Notes

A resource pack provided by the publisher to accompany the book El Deafo.

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