Cece Bell’s Newbery Honor award winning and #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel is back in an all new edition. Enjoy the same wonderful story, now with 40 additional pages of  background information on how Bell drew the first images that she submitted to her editor, childhood pictures of Bell herself, how the pages came together as she developed the story; and maybe best of all, fan mail and artwork she has received and cherishes.

This story begins with how as a young girl, Bell, lost her ability to hear after an illness when she was four years old. She has to learn how to adapt to life with her hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, and how to better lip read so that she can again communicate easily with others around her.  When Bell transitions from a private school for deaf children to a public school, she  is no longer surrounded by classmates who have hearing loss just like her. Instead she’s going to be the only one that has hearing loss, and the only one wearing a Phonic Ear device. The Phonic Ear works well, but it comes with visible cords coming down to a box that hangs from her neck and sits on her chest. It’s not anything that she can hide, when she just wants to fit in with her classmates. It has her feeling alienated, self-conscious, and like she might never make a true friend. 

The artwork in this comic is a cute and appealing style to young readers. The backgrounds are simple and colorful. The characters are drawn as bunnies, thus emphasizing their ears. The pages are full of easy to follow panels with not too much text, so the story flows smoothly. It’s one that’s easy to understand, yet has a lot of depth to it, and creativity as she stylizes pages uniquely to emphasize different moods or dramatic events. 

Overall, this is an outstanding comic. It is one that is sure to never be on the shelf, and instead be in a young reader’s hands. Middle schoolers will love how fun and relatable this story is. The enjoyable drawing style, combined with Bell’s witty sense of humor, make this a wonderful addition to any collection. There are many important themes throughout the story, from believing in yourself, friendship, disability, and overcoming life changing challenges. Bell is truly deserving of the recognition and awards that she has won for producing this timeless piece of artwork, with excellent storytelling. 


El Deafo: The Superpowered Edition
By Cece Bell
ISBN: 9781419748318
Harry N. Abrams, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9), Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)
Character Traits: Deafness
Creator Highlights: Deafness

  • Kendra

    | She/Her

    Reviewer

    Kendra Perkins has worked at libraries in Canada, the U.A.E., China and South Korea where she has been everything from Founding Head Librarian to volunteer. She was Ambassador of China for the International Librarians Network, and she was elected to be Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarians Network (SLN), which is a community of almost 100 library professionals from more than 20 schools. She has completed her ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta. She has traveled to over 90 countries, learned to speak basic Mandarin Chinese along the way and kept up with too many graphic novel series to keep count. She has led workshops, created webinars and done library consultations in fun places like Italy and Hong Kong. She has been a guest blogger for multiple technology and education related websites and is a published book reviewer for Urban Family magazine. Find out more at her website, which she should update more frequently: http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

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