El Deafo (Paperback)
— Judy Bulow is our Lead Children's Book Buyer & a TC Kids' expert since the 1980s.
Cece Bell has written a funny, touching and powerful memoir of growing up hearing-impaired. (She lost her hearing at age 4 when she contracted meningitis). She is transitioning from a classroom where all the kids were deaf to a school where she is the only deaf person. To counteract her deafness, she must wear a big unwieldy box called a Phonic Ear which, she discovers, helps her hear the teacher, Mrs. Lufton, in class, but also everywhere else Mrs. Lufton goes in the building (who knew what teachers did or said outside of class!). This makes Cece very popular. She imagines herself as "El Deafo," a fiesty super girl with superpowers. But she is smart enough to realize that being a superhero is just another way of feeling different, and feeling alone. Many details of a hearing-impaired life are presented beautifully and we can see them in our own lives, even as hearing persons, and we see the challenges of being a child (or feeling like one). What a great book! Kids who loved Wonder will also love this book. ~Judy B.
About the Author
— New York Times Book Review
— Shelf Awareness
"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."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"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."
— School Library Journal, starred review
"This memoir is thus exceptionally informative and entertaining in relation to some aspects of deaf communication, but, most centrally and powerfully, it is exceptional for its perceptive, indomitable protagonist and complex story of friendship, growth, and classroom and family dynamics."
— The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
"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 . . . all combine to make this a standout autobiography."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review