Superheroes I love: El Deafo

Bell, Cece. El Deafo. Amulet Books, 2014. 233 pages. Hardcover $18.71, ISBN  978-1-41971-020-9; Tr. $9.36, ISBN 978-1-41971-217-3; PLB $14.41, ISBN 978-1-48984-422-4


TL;DR: Do I recommend this? Yes


Genre: Biography/Memoir (Graphic Nonfiction)


Part of a series? No.


Plot Summary:

This graphic “novel” tells the true story of Cece Bell’s childhood, and her experience with meningitis that took away her hearing. With characters drawn as rabbits in order to emphasize how different Cece’s ears were to those of her family, friends, and classmates, El Deafo explores what it is like to feel so different — and how that difference can set you apart in painful and cool ways.


Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

Bell’s book (writing and illustrations) work together to tell this extremely engaging story. Deaf and hearing readers will have something to learn and enjoy in reading this story, and Bell makes it clear in her afterword that one d/Deaf person’s story is not the same as another’s.


Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

This would be a fantastic book club book. I think that the major thing I would want to focus on is a discussion of what it means to have different abilities; perhaps we could watch a documentary on Deaf culture. We can also make superhero versions of ourselves based on the things that make us different. (Idea from myself)


Grade Level: 3-6


Awards and Starred Reviews:

ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2015

Horn Book Magazine starred 11/1/14

Kirkus Reviews starred 9/1/14

Newbery Honor 2015

Publishers Weekly starred 7/7/14

School Library Journal starred 9/1/14


Reviews referenced:

Berry, M. (n. d.). El Deafo (Review of the book El Deafo). Common Sense Media. Retrieved from

Kirkus Reviews. (2014, July 22). El Deafo (Review of the book El Deafo). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from

Publishers Weekly. (2014, July 7). El Deafo (Review of the book El Deafo). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from

Warnings: Vomit appears three times in the novel and is drawn as the act of vomiting (i.e., it happens “on the page” rather than “offstage”)


Tags: Deaf culture, hard of hearing, graphic novels, vomit, memoir, rabbits, imagination, superheroes


Catch-up Post: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

This blog is going to house my 45 books read this semester for my materials for tweens class, but I also want to use this site to hold my thoughts/reviews/whatevers for any MG or other young read book I’ve read! So, here is the first in a short series of books that I read this summer for another class.

As I wrote on my main blog,

Wonderstruck was gorgeous, although given Selznick’s work, that’s no surprise! I loved the overlapping stories of the boy in the 1970s and the girl in the 1920s. I especially loved how her story was told largely in graphic format. What a great read!

The illustrations, per Selznick’s usual, are stunning. I particularly loved how the girl’s scenes played out exclusively in illustration.Selznick does a great job with the story, and it’s one that I highly recommend!

Themes/Major Plot Points:

  • Being Deaf
  • Family
  • Death of a parent
  • Grief and loss
  • Adventure
  • Runaways
  • Theatre
  • Museums