Saturday, 28 March 2020

Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell

At age four Cece Bell suffered a bout of meningitis that led to severe hearing loss. Equipped with the latest in 1970s technology hearing aid, she spent a year at a school where everyone in her class was deaf, before her family moved to a new town, and she found herself being the only kid with a hearing aid in her neighbourhood and at her school. El Deafo is her story of how she eventually found acceptance--and a kind of super power--at a school where she was different. And the best bit? This memoir is told as a graphic novel, with all of the characters as rabbits. (And they're pretty darn cute.)

Although intended for primary school aged children, this book can be read and appreciated by a wider audience. It highlights the problems that children with hearing aids encounter on a daily basis: people shouting at them, careless teachers, bullies, muddled attempts at kindness from kids who don't understand, and a sense that they are different from other kids. It's a great reminder (or way to learn) about the differences that exist in our community and what we can do that would genuinely help someone else to fit in.

El Deafo was selected as a Newberry Honor Book and it is not difficult to see why.

Highly recommended.