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El Deafo Book Review and Discussion Questions

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El Deafo by CeCe Bell is a thoughtful graphic novel memoir about the author’s experiences losing her hearing as a child. CeCe Bell

This title was a great read and was one of the titles chosen for my online School Year Book Clubs for ages 8-10 in 2023. We had a great discussion about the enjoyable main characters in this fantastic story.

El Deafo Book review and homeschool study ideas including discussion questions.

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El Deafo

CeCe Bell

El Deafo graphic memoir

Genre: Memoir, Graphic
Length: 248 pages
First Published: 2014

View on Amazon | View on Goodreads

El Deafo: Publisher’s Description

Starting at a new school is scary, especially with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here, she’s different. She’s sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear, she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in the school—in the hallway . . . in the teacher’s lounge . . . in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All.

But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different . . . and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most: a true friend?

My Goodreads Review

This is a fantastic graphic memoir for kids. While Cece’s character gives voice to the unique challenges for the deaf community, hearing readers will find her struggles relatable as well. This memoir brings honesty and humor to Cece’s struggles in her childhood.

Cece struggles to find a good friend who will like her for who she is and listen to hear when she talks. At the same time, Cece is learning to stand up for herself and what she wants so that a friend can listen to her. There are plenty of great discussion points in the story about what makes a good friend and how to stick up for yourself.

Parents should know there is some bathroom humor because Cece’s teacher leaves the classroom because she doesn’t take off the mic that attaches to Cece’s Phonic Ear. Cece also has a childhood crush on a boy in her class – most kids in my online book club found this fun or “gross.”

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Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study

1. How does being deaf complicate CeCe’s life? What accommodations does she have in her life? How does she feel about them?

2. CeCe is looking for a friend. Think about her three “best friends” in this book: Laura, Ginny, and Martha. Were they good friends? What advice would you have given each of them to be a better friend?

3. Why does CeCe create El Deafo? How does El Deafo help CeCe? Does El Deafo pose a problem for CeCe in any way?

4. Did you enjoy the graphic novel format of this book? Why do you think CeCe Bell used this format to tell her story?

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