El Deafo by Cece Bell
Cece lost her hearing as a young girl, following a bout of meningitis. She has never known school without having to wear hearing aids or the Phonic Ear (a device she wears, attached to an ear piece, that communicates with a microphone that her teacher wears, allowing her to hear crisp and clear, no matter where the teacher is!).
Cece has learned to strategies to make her life easier (lip reading) but none of that helps her feel less isolated. People try to be helpful, trying to sign (she doesn’t use sign language) or speaking slowly, but Cece doesn’t want to be defined by her hearing loss.
Sometimes the easiest way for Cece to deal is by imagining that her Phonic Ear has turned her into a superhero, El Deafo, with the amazing power of super hearing. El Deafo needs a faithful sidekick, a true friend. Will El Deafo succeed? Will Cece accept herself?
Why I read and finished the book: It is very understandable as to why it was a Newbery honoree. The story is great and even those without hearing loss can relate to Cece’s feelings of being different and wanting to be “normal”. I loved the El Deafo superhero character that Cece creates in her imagination as her way of dealing with her issues and insecurities. I also like that the author chose to have the characters be bunnies, rather than human. I think it helps readers to connect more with the characters.
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Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)