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.
A 2015 Newbery Honor Book 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.
PRAISE FOR EL DEAFO
"A standout autobiography. Someone readers will enjoy getting to know."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Worthy of a superhero."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This empowering autobiographical story belongs right next to Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (2011) and Liz Prince’s Tomboy."