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El Deafo

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  25,502 Ratings  ·  3,154 Reviews
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 ver ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Turtleback Books
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Sarah K. Yes this book is also considered a Biography because it is about the author as a child.
Rosella The Phonic ear connects to a microphone to a specific person. It's basically a powerful walkie talkie. The back up is a regular hearing aid which…moreThe Phonic ear connects to a microphone to a specific person. It's basically a powerful walkie talkie. The back up is a regular hearing aid which improves general hearing but doesn't provide the same strength as a personal microphone.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Rick Riordan
Feb 12, 2015 Rick Riordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Raeleen Lemay
Aug 03, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, graphicomanga
This was so great! I didn't realize before reading it that it's semi autobiographical, which was a nice surprise. I really enjoyed getting a personal account of what Cece went through and how she felt growing up deaf.

I highly recommend this book, to people of all ages!
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 obvious f
Jul 01, 2016 Sheziss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deaf people in general and hearing people in particular
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
Aug 13, 2016 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
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
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
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
Feb 24, 2016 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 20, 2014 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah Markus
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
Jan 04, 2015 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
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
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.

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 saidbut 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
Nov 16, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Just as good as everyone raving about it has said.
Bell's memoir focuses on ages 4-14 or so, starting pretty much with the illness which deafened her and ending with her finally feeling accepted by her peers. It is amazing, and you should read it right away. Natasha and I are in complete agreement on this.

And if you haven't already, follow it up by reading Smile by Raina Telgemeier and Stitches by David Small, two more amazing memoirs told through graphic novel format.

Library copy.
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Disclaimer: I only read a 26 page preview provided by the publishers but it was so, so good I can't help myself.

El Deafo is one of the most bittersweet stories I've read recently.

After a sudden onset of Meningitis and days in hospital, four year-old Cece loses her hearing. The story follows her as she discovers and copes with this. Ere long, she gets back into her favorite costume- her swimsuit and goes back to enjoying the pleasures of summer. Although her world is unquestionably silent, Cece
Kris Marley Patrick
My initial reaction is that a memoir about an artist's childhood experience with Phonic Ear wouldn't resonate with kids, however I had a similar reaction last summer to Smile, Raina Telgemeier's memoir on childhood orthodontia, and oh boy was I wrong. Students at my school go nuts for that book even though I'm sure the references to the early 90s are lost on them. I have to remember that Phonic Ear and orthodontia represent the feeling of being different regardless of what that looks or sounds l ...more
Jul 05, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a deaf/HoH woman, I saw myself on every page of this graphic novel memoir. Wonderful and accurate.
The world is doing such a good job of pushing this book. Blurbs from Riordan, Palacio, Telgemeier... the list goes on and on. The cover is reminiscent of Smile, the insides are all colorful. Just fantastic, machine. Way to work it.

And for something so deserving!
I grew up closely adjacent to the deaf community. My mom worked as an interpreter, her best friend was deaf, we went to deaf movie night at the community center. Bell is fairly close in age to close friends of our family who traveled si
David Schaafsma
Bell's memoir about her hearing impairment, brought on by meningitis when she was 4 years old. But she uses the various hearing aid devices she uses as a way to think of herself as special, El Deafo. She is bullied somewhat but tries to see the positive possibilities in her life, always. She at some point needs glasses, too, and as you know, these vision-hearing problems are not so rare, really, and so her speaking to kids through her experience can be very useful. And also (in 4th and 5th grade ...more
Harun Harahap
Alasan kenapa gue banget suka buku ini:

1. Karena gambarnya bagus.
2. Apalagi ceritanya, widih.. bagus..
3. Buku ini memang cocok dibaca anak-anak. Karena punya banyak pesan moral khususnya tentang bagaimana kita menghadapi orang yang memiliki perbedaan dengan kita. Namun, bukankah orang dewasa pun suka lupa untuk menghargai perbedaan? Jadi, buku ini sangat cocok dibaca usia berapapun.

“And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of
Oct 09, 2014 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list, favorites
I have been excited for this middle-grade graphic semi-autobiographical novel for the longest time! I remember when BEA was on earlier this year, lots of publishing articles were writing about how autobiographies and memoirs were a predicted trend coming to youth literature – a few titles that intrigued me were Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist, not to mention David Burton’s How to Be Happy whi ...more
May 11, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When my mom loaned me this book to read, I was reluctant because I assumed it wouldn't show the speaking deaf perspective and would be all about sign language. It's ironic that I made the same mistake that everyone else makes about me (assuming I sign), but in my defense, it's rare that this perspective is shown - and with such poignancy and humor. I kept saying "Yes!" out loud because I could relate to many of Cece's experiences. Unlike Cece, however, I hated the Phonic Ear. I used to always co ...more
May 25, 2016 Jana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was adorable and SO GOOD! It follows a kid who is left deaf after having meningitis and her struggle to fit in after her family moves. It was adorable and such an important read! Plus the art style is super cute.
I read this for book club with Kaylee - it's absolutely fantastic! Highly recommended to anyone who likes graphic memoirs.
Barb Middleton
I'm buried in books. About 30 to be exact. Err... about and exact contradict each other. Oh well. Just wind me up for the holidays and watch me SPIN. El Deafo was on my return-pile-so-other-children-can-read-it-over-the-holiday stack. Then I made the mistake of peeking at the first page. Suddenly I'm at page 20 thinking... uh-oh, I won't be able to put this down. I'm a reading junkie. What can I say? A snatch of reading here and there before finishing off this terrific graphic novel on the tread ...more
Alright, here goes nothing.

This is gonna get personal.

Much like Cece, I was not born with hearing loss. When I was rather young I had a lot of ear infections. Very common in toddlers, but I got them so often and so severely that I ruptured my ear drum three times. That plus other factors and ear disorders led to irreversible hearing loss that continuously gets worse. Fortunately, my hearing was not that bad during my early school years. It led to me zoning out a lot during class, having troubl
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Ehhh 2 9 Jan 05, 2017 06:26PM  
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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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“And being different? That turned out to 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.” 23 likes
“Oh, why do I even care what other people think?” 9 likes
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