El Deafo

by Cece Bell

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

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.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said “Very well done! I appreciated the humor as well as the emotional times. The art is charming – very cartoony and cute. I love how they all have bunny ears! This is a great story for both kids and adults. Highly Recommended.”

Vivian rated it ★★★ and said “What I would like to find out is, are children picking this up to read without being led to it by adults, and if so, what about it keeps them reading it? Aside from it’s obvious exposure to what it feels like to be different and that being different can be triggered by circumstances beyond one’s control, which is the “swallow this pill” purpose of the book, why has this book caught on? Here’s my quick answer. It’s really about friendships — different kinds of friendships and social situations — and every body has experience with this. Have you had the “you’re my project” kind of friend (or big me, little you)? Just saying, she nails the “friends” things on so many levels. And then there’s the whole “dealing with reality by creating an alternate reality” thing going, which she also nails. There are lots of springboard opportunities in her story to talk about assumptions we make and communication and taking social cues, which is why I think it’s good that the book is going the rounds in adult circles. It gives us a way to start some important conversations.”

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