May 15, 2015

Book Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell

Title: El Deafo
Author: Cece Bell

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is 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 school--in the the teacher's 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?

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a little bit.  The other night I was going through my books and saw.  It looked quick, and I knew it had been a Newbery Honor book, so I decided it was time to read it.  3 hours later I had finished it!

It was really good.  I loved how it gave an inside view of how it feels to been seen as different and how much she just wanted to be seen as just like everyone else.  I mean we all know this, but this story gave me a glimpse at the inner dialog of a young girl going growing up feeling that way.  It truly helped me gain a clearer understanding.

As a teacher, I've had students that use the amplifier talked about in the book.  So the whole part of the story where Cece can hear the teacher using it even when she's out of the classroom made me giggle because we were told to make sure to turn it off for certain situations. Using the bathroom was one situation we were told clearly to make sure we turned it off! So when Cece can hear her teacher in the bathroom, it really made me giggle!

This is a book I could see myself recommending to many middle schoolers.  It had a good message, it is semi-autobiographical, it is funny, and it has a good message.  Having a book that combines all that is wonderful because kids will enjoy the story and walk away with better understanding of the people around them. PLUS - they can relate to Cece just wanting to have a good friend.  Aren't all middle schoolers looking for that?  I couldn't ask for anything more.

Final thought:  Quick, fun and teachable but completely relatable. 


  1. This has long been on my list. Your review makes me want to get to it soon. Thanks for the post.

  2. This book is right up my alley and I've had it on my list to read for awhile too. Must see if the library has it. Thanks for the reminder/review.