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El Deafo

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  76,625 ratings  ·  7,380 reviews
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
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Jesse Richards
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Sarah K. Yes this book is also considered a Biography because it is about the author as a child.

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Rick Riordan
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Middle grade/young adult graphic novel. In comic book form, Cece Bell tells the story of a young girl (rabbit?) growing up with a severe hearing impairment. She does a great job tackling the subject with humor and pathos, letting us see the world through the narrator's eyes (and hear through her super Phonic Ear). Along the way, we meet pushy friends, clueless peers, helpful teachers, not-so-helpful siblings, and a whole cast of other characters that any kid can relate to. A great novel for rais ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
My heart is so happy. This was absolutely adorable. And so informative!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I wanted to read this book.

I’m not going to show any other picture from the book because I’d end up highlighting everything and you’d kill me in the process.

So I will post nothing. Read the book yourself.

This is not the first book about deaf people I’ve read but I always got the impression authors have deafness kind of “idealized”. The picture someone has when thinking about deaf people is the person who hears nothing and says nothing and communicates v
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

This is the autobiographical story of Cece Bell and her experiences of going to school as the only deaf kid in the class. From her own insecurities to people treating her different, Cece found a coping mechanism in the form of “El Deafo” a superhero with nerves of steel who Cece imagined saying and doing everything she only wished she was brave enough to . . . .

This is a great book for youngsters. Aside from pointing out the obviou
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Our differences are our superpowers.”

Starting and ending the day with a good read will never grow tired on me.

El Deafo 6-- bookspoils
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about
Trina (Between Chapters)
Amazing! Highly recommend to anyone. Great ownvoices deafness representation. Loved how childhood friendships were portrayed. I think any kid would get a lot out of this story (and adults too!), be it identifying with Cece's story, or relating to feelings of being different, or understanding their peers. ...more
At age four, author Cece Bell suddenly fell ill with a disease that left her profoundly deaf. El Deafo is a graphic-novel memoir telling of her life as a deaf child--from having to wear the "phonic ear" (a kind of bulky hearing aid) to navigating friendships with hearing children to struggling to accept being different. At 233 pages, El Deafo covers Bell’s school years from pre-school to fifth grade and depicts the varied obstacles she encountered over these years with a lot of feeling. Because ...more
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of Raina Telgemeir's graphic novels based on her childhood. When she blurbed El Deafo, I knew I would enjoy it.

Cece loses her hearing at the age of four as a result of sudden illness. All at once, she has to relearn how to communicate with those around her, including family and friends. School turns out to be a bit tricky, since she can't read her teacher's lips at all times. Not to worry. Phonic Ear to the rescue!
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Cece's Phonic Ear hearing aid gives her superpowers, but it also makes
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3 I liked it stars

***Reading level 8-12 years but all ages can enjoy***

After a sudden illness strikes Cece when she is four, she finds herself hearing impaired after recovering. Her doctors have given her a device to wear which helps her hear, but it’s very noticeable being strapped to her chest and having cords in her ears. Over the years Cece faces many trials brought on by her impairment, from being made fun of, to friends wanting to be friends so they can have a “deaf friend”, to people sh
Dave Schaafsma
7/21/17 Reread for my summer YA Graphic novels class, the memoir of a girl who has lost much of her hearing, gets bullied for it, but transforms her sense of herself by thinking of herself as a superhero, El Deafo! Great for any kids who are being bullied for being different. From the time I first read this three years ago and now, this has become a staple in American elementary and middle schools, yay!

9/13/14 Bell's memoir about her hearing impairment, brought on by meningitis when she was 4 ye
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a gift Cece Bell has given us in this fantastic graphic novel. It is a very realistic portrayal of her own elementary school experiences: her illness and hearing impairment, moving, adjusting to a new school, a giant hearing aid, trying to make friends, and the many different reactions to her deafness. I found both her and her alter ego El Deafo to be honest, smart, and funny. A wonderful story about growing up and learning the strengths in our differences.

**I actually took this out of the
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We appear to exist in a golden age of children’s graphic novel memoirs. Which is to say, there are three of them out this year (El Deafo, Sisters, and The Dumbest Idea Ever). How to account for the sudden tiny boom? If I were to harbor a guess I’d say it has something to do with publishers realizing that the genre can prove a profitable one (hat tip then to Smile). We’re beginning to enter into an era where the bulk of the gatekeepers out there, be they parents or teachers or librarians, are vie ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
El Deafo is a semi-autobiographical graphic novel by author Cece Bell. Cece becomes deaf at the age of four after contracting meningitis. She must use a hearing aid, but sometimes the words she hears are garbled and she must rely on visual clues and lip reading to clearly understand. Cece eventually moves, leaving behind her best friend, and starts a new school. She gets a new hearing aid that is much stronger called "The Phonic Ear." The teacher wears a microphone around her neck so that Cece c ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Cece Bell uses the graphic novel format to tell her own story of hearing loss and the imagination of a child going through it. I thought it was fantastic, presenting real issues like how friendships change, the balancing of the best technology with the most comfortable technology, resistance to learning ASL, etc. Some of my favorite moments were just in the artistic representations, particularly a few pages on the trampoline. And who wouldn't love the character of El Deafo, the superhero who fea ...more
A small bunny gets meningitis and loses her hearing. This graphic novel is about how she learns to deal with other people and their reactions to 'the deaf girl.'

Wow, sounds pretty lame and after-school-special, right? WRONG. This book is so cute and funny. And Cece is sassy, you'll be cheering for her all the way.

It's so hard and frustrating when people treat her like she's different - or even worse, 'special.' She just wants to yell at them and tell them to treat her normal! But she's pretty sw
Apr 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3+] I would have loved reading this graphic memoir with my children when they were young - so my rating reflects my current tastes, not the quality of the book. I steer away from middle grade and YA literature. A big chunk of the book is about elementary school friendship angst - which isn't for me.

I did love the early part of the book when the author focuses on how her life changed at age 4 after losing her hearing from meningitis. She described her emotions and the reactions of others beauti
Deborah Markus
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I hate to say that this book taught me a lot about what people with hearing impairments have to deal with – not because it isn't true, but because it might make the book sound preachy. And it isn't. It's straightforward and direct and a fun, fascinating read.

The premise is simple: Cece sustains illness-induced hearing loss at a very young age, and both she and the reader must puzzle their way through a newly tricky world.

I liked two things especially about this story. First, Cece's struggles to
Reading_ Tamishly
Feb 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
It's so rare for someone who hearts children's books especially with illustrations and real stories to really dislike such books but this one is an exception. I didn't see this coming though! I can understand what the main character has been through ever since she was diagnosed with her condition, all the discrimination and likewise that the book tries to convey but I have never come across a child character this judgemental and discriminating towards others taking 'advantage' of her condition i ...more

When she is four years old, Cece loses most of her hearing following a bout of meningitis. She is quickly fitted with hearing aids which, combined with lipreading, help her understand what people are saying -- so long as she can see their mouths, or they're not cartoons on TV, making nonsense shapes instead of words.

Thanks to the Phonic Ear, which has a microphone that allows teachers' words to travel directly to Cece's ears, she's mainstreamed in school. She does well, but suffers insecurity d
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I've never really been a fan of graphic novels. I appreciate the effort that goes in them, but for the most part, they don't do anything for me. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three books of this genre that I've found noteworthy: Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, My Friend Dahmer, and The Complete Maus. The common thread among these three: each have an autobiographical component, and while fanciful, are all grounded in reality.

I was attracted to Cece Bell's El De
Julie G
My 7-year-old daughter and I laughed and cried through every chapter. As soon as I shut the back cover, she burst into tears and blubbered, "Read it again, Mommy."

Completely unique. A must read for all kids in the lower grades and any adults who grew up in the weird and spectacular 1970s.
Merphy Napier
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This memoir about a young girl who lost her hearing as a child and learning to navigate her new life, was heart-warming and educational. I recommend this for all ages. You'll learn so much about how to interact with someone with hearing difficulties and see a little in their eyes. ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
CeCe Bell's graphic novel memoir is a standout, both as an exemplar for the form and for its message. While I knew that CeCe has hearing loss, I enjoyed getting to know CeCe better through this story. I think many children will relate to her struggles to form meaningful, healthy friendships and her journey toward self-acceptance.

Great book. Such a fun memoir to read. This is an honest telling of what it is to be raised hearing impaired. Fun little stories and fun art and the telling is simple and honest. El Deafo jumps off the page. I get why this was considered for the Newberry and got an Honor. I think anyone can enjoy this book and enrich your life. So glad I gave this book a go.
I am not always a huge fan of graphic novels (and indeed when late last night I quickly skimmed though Cece Bell's illustrations for her Newbery Honour winning 2014 semi-autobiographical El Deafo, I have to admit that her pictorial renderings were most definitely not what I would personally consider aesthetically pleasant by any stretch of my imagination). For while I do like David Lasky’s sense and use of colour, sorry, but Cece Bell's rabbit/human combinations, at best they have not really vis ...more
Mariah Roze
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a Deaf and Hard of Hearing teacher. I started off reading this book with one of my students and it was fantastic. He was able to make a lot of connections to the main character. We absolutely loved our 20 minutes a week where we read a chapter of this book and did an activity.

However, that all had to come to an end, because we are now quarantined. I finished the book on my own today and now I'm trying to figure out how to get him a copy and how to continue on with our lessons.

But besides al
Stacey (prettybooks)
El Deafo is one of the best graphic novels I've read, about Cece Bell growing up with a severe hearing impairment in the 80s after becoming ill. El Deafo is beautifully illustrated and the story is fantastic. Cece shows us what it's like to not only be unable to hear what's being said but understand what's being said. From the difficulties of making friends – especially best friends – to discovering the amazing Phonic Ear, this is a remarkable story about growing up. Cece now has superpowers: El ...more
Tyler J Gray
I had some issues with this, like the kids using her in the end and being taken advantage of is her superpower that's she's glad for? I can understand that through a kids pov, which was she was at the time, but now it just doesn't come across right to me and sends a bad message IMO. And the way she treats others, including kids, when they don't know how to best interact with her. Instead of telling them, even when it's obvious they mean well, she just says screw them.

That afterward, for the mos
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a very colorful and cute book. But the story told through this cuteness is not so cute actually! It’s an autobiography of the writer who accidentally loses her hearing ability at the age of four. So everything around her becomes silent! Her life becomes more difficult when she starts school. New place, new people, all are staring at her because of the cords of her hearing aid! I can’t feel her pain of course because I didn’t have to go through all these things!

But she was brave. She turns
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Until she was four, Cece had "normal" hearing. And then a bout of meningitis left her deaf, needing a hearing aid to understand the world around her. In her comic book memoir, Cece writes mainly about the obstacles she faced in making friends in a hearing world.

Cece's writing is perfect for what she's accomplishing. She's definitely writing to an elementary audience, and she's writing on their level without obviously talking down to them. I like that she's very, very clear about what her deafne
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I'm an author and an illustrator, and sadly not a jazz pianist. I live in an old church in the hills of Virginia with my husband, author Tom Angleberger. I work right next door in a new-ish barn. I've written and illustrated a bunch of books for kids and was lucky enough to get a Geisel Honor for one of 'em. If you want to know more about my hearing loss or my childhood (or both), check out my fir ...more

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If you're still looking for books to inspire your young reader, middle grade graphic novels just might do the trick. Perfect for...
57 likes · 22 comments
“And being different? That turned out to be the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.” 41 likes
“Oh, why do I even care what other people think?” 18 likes
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