El Deafo by Cece Bell is the autobiographical account of the author as a little girl after she contracted meningitis and became deaf. First point in this book's favor: The illustrations are absolutely delightful. If you were a fan of the Arthur cartoon growing up then you'll love her artistic style as it's very reminiscent of that. (The characters are all rabbits.) She focuses primarily on her experiences using the different hearing aid devices that she had growing up and how isolated it made her feel. Bell doesn't shy away from exploring her shame and 'otherness' in comparison to her family and friends which I think is refreshing in a middle grade book. The way that Cece ultimately copes with the changes and difficulties that she's experiencing is by creating an alternate persona where she uses her deafness as a superpower. (Check the picture below for an example.) I personally really loved the references of such classics as Batman (with Adam West) and one of my faves M*A*S*H. I don't know that younger readers will appreciate that as much but I thought it was a great touch. Included at the end of El Deafo is a little informational blurb about Deaf culture so if parents are reading with their kids (or teachers with their students) it makes a really awesome learning tool. I loved that kids are getting to see a character using a hearing device in a medium that is easily digestible and conveys the message that no matter what our abilities we are all 'super' in our own ways. 9/10
An example of the art writing style. [Source: Goodreads]
If you don't follow me on social media you may have been surprised/confused when I started posting a new review every day this week. I did this because I didn't want to play catch-up like I did earlier this year with books I've finished but not yet reviewed. However, I'm not seeing a ton of engagement in these posts so I want to get your opinion. Are you enjoying the more frequent posts or do you prefer once a week and you don't care when they go up? Please comment below with your thoughts! :-)
What's Up Next: Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret.
What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond