Tuesday, September 1, 2015

El Deafo by CeCe Bell

This book works for the Newbery Challenge and for the Book Blogger Recommendations Challenge. This was a Newbery Honor this year. I will say I like that the awards went to more unconventional style books, two verse novels and a comic book. I think this will make the award more attractive to young readers while holding on to the literary merit that each book has. 
El Deafo
Amulet Books

This is another autobiographical book chosen for the Newbery this year and this one is in comic book format. CeCe's characters are bunnies, but the story is taken from her childhood. She had meningitis which caused her deafness. At first she attends a school where her classmates are all deaf, but when her family moves CeCe is in a class where she is the only one who is deaf. Her teachers must use a microphone that is connected to a device called the Phonic Ear, because of this device CeCe imagines herself as a superhero named El Deafo. Some of CeCe's friends take advantage of her deafness and she uses her device to spy on the teachers. Eventually she finds a true friend and she tells her about imagining to be El Deafo.

The illustrations and story line are well done and draw the reader into the story. By using rabbits instead of people, she appeals to animal lovers, comic readers, and to those who have a disability or want to understand someone who has a disability. The story does not necessarily make CeCe's deafness something that holds her back, even though Bell shows how people took advantage of her at times. CeCe embraces her differences and becomes her own superhero. A very sweet story with great graphics and likable characters. I think this was deserving of the Newbery Honor and is one I would booktalk with 4th grade. 4 cups of cocoa.

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