Friday, March 27, 2015
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUPERPOWER
Cece was a regular kid, living a carefree life with her parents and siblings until she is diagnosed with meningitis when she is four. After spending a long time at the hospital, Cece finally gets to go home, but things are not the same. Two weeks after going home, Cece finds out that she hadn't been able to hear anything since she got sick. Her parents take her to a doctor, and she gets a hearing aid, but her hearing is far from being normal. When she starts kindergarten, Cece goes to a school with other kids like her. She loves her teacher Dorn, who teaches her how to understand what people are saying by reading their lips. But when Cece starts first grade, she has to go to school with other kids. She also gets a brand-new hearing aid, the new and powerful Phonic Ear, which helps her hear better but is really big and she has to wear it like a backpack, which makes Cece self-conscious and afraid that everyone will think she is not cool because she has a hearing aid. But Cece does make some friends - some better than others - and on one occasion has everyone in the class thinking that the Phonic Ear is really cool! The Phonic Ear gives Cece a superpower - she can hear everything her teachers are doing when they are not in the room, so Cece imagines herself as the powerful superhero El Deafo, which helps her deal with the challenges of fitting in despite her challenges.
El Deafo is the story of writer Cece Bell's childhood, written in a graphic novel format. It is a story of a girl trying to have a normal life despite the bulky hearing aid that she is forced to carry with her at school. With cute, quirky drawings, Cece shows us what her childhood was like - going to school, trying to make friends who didn't treat her differently, and her first crush. This book makes it really easy for readers to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has different abilities. Like Cece's friends, some of us may not know what it is like to not be able to hear without aid. If we had to speak to someone who is deaf, we might not automatically know that we should not turn away or cover our mouths when we speak so that the person can read our lips.
Finally, what makes this book great is that it is not a sad story made to make us feel bad or sorry for the main character. Although what happened to Cece was bad and unfair, she was able to lead a good childhood and grow up to be a writer who could tell everyone about her experience. El Deafo is a great choice for readers grades 4 and up.