El Deafo by CeCe Bell Graphic Novel Book Review

Image result for el deafo image

Bell, CeCe. El Deafo. Amulet Books; New York, NY. 2014. ISBN: 971419710209


El Deafo is about a girl named CeCe, who is hard of hearing. She’s not deaf, but she can’t hear or understand what people say. She needs hearing aids to help her be able to hear and understand others. At first, she really struggles with it. Doing stuff that hearing people do is so much more difficult for her. She doesn’t fit in, and feels like her hearing aids make her a freak. She’s tired of people treating her differently. As she starts to understand more about how to understand herself and others, she starts to accept herself and make friends.

Critical Analysis:

This book was absolutely fantastic! I think I may have a new addiction. I’ve never liked reading graphic novels, comics, or manga because I’ve found it difficult to read and understand. Going into this book, I was unsure whether I’d be able to get through it. I read it in one day. I couldn’t put it down at all!

First, the story. The plot is amazing. You get a story about a girl who is hard of hearing and how her life is with her disability. She wants nothing more than to be treated like everyone else. For people to not see her hearing aids, but see her. This is the wish of every child with any type of disability. As a sister of two siblings with autism, this book really got to me. My favorite parts are the parts where CeCe turns into El Deafo, her alter ego super hero who says what she means, takes no crap, and despite her disadvantage, is a hero to everyone who vanquishes bad. (At least, a hero in HER opinion, which I find interesting.)

Second, the illustrations. As I said, I was never a big fan of any books with pictures in them. I always thought they were for people who didn’t like reading. But these beautifully drawn colorful pictures added so much to the story. It would not have been anywhere near the same story if it was a novel. It had to be a graphic novel. Seeing CeCe and her struggles made it that much more real and gave me so much more empathy for CeCe.

Third, the themes. Of course, the biggest theme here is treating those with disabilities like you would treat anyone else. And that was the biggest takeaway. But other themes include friendship, family, and accepting yourself and others the way they are.

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal: “Cece loses her hearing from spinal meningitis, and takes readers through the arduous journey of learning to lip read and decipher the noise of her hearing aid, with the goal of finding a true friend. This warmly and humorously illustrated full-color graphic novel set in the suburban ’70s has all the gripping characters and inflated melodrama of late childhood: a crush on a neighborhood boy, the bossy friend, the too-sensitive-to-her-Deafness friend, and the perfect friend, scared away.”

From Little London Magazine: “A serious subject treated with warmth and humour.”

John Newbery Medal 2015

Eisner Award 2015


Other books by CeCe Bell:

Bee-Wigged ISBN:0763636142

Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood ASIN:B001I6I0HA

Other Graphic Novels: 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio ISBN:0375869026

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm ISBN:0545741661


Published by

Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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