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El Deafo - Cece Bell

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Wow! This is a fantastic book. Literally everyone should read this book. It is perfect!

Written in graphic novel form, Cece Bell tells about her early life, getting sick, losing her hearing, and all of the struggles that followed including feelings to being different, hiding her deafness, refusing to learn sign language, and figuring out how to interact with (good and not-so-good) friends. It is an amazing book.

I think everyone can benefit from this book. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can definitely relate to some of Cece's struggles in the book (whether or not to learn sign language, people talking to you differently, feelings of loneliness and isolation, whether to learn to lip read and all of the issues that go along with it). While Cece grew up in the 70's and technology has changed since them, I still think this is a very relevant book.

Hearing people can also learn a lot from this book such as that speaking louder or slower doesn't help a person who is trying to read your lips. Cece is very open about her feelings of loneliness and fear of being different. I think this is an important thing for hearing people to learn. There are characters in the book who are hearing people with good intentions who nevertheless make Cece feel different or unintentionally make it hard for her to understand them (signing at her, talking too loud, talking with the light off or not facing Cece when speaking). It's also important to note that lip reading is not exact and is actually a very difficult skill. Also, just because someone is deaf or hard of hearing does not automatically mean that they can read lips. Every person is different and it's about learning about each person and their preferences on an individual basis. 

Most of all, I love the tone in the book that Cece is not disabled. In fact, she has superpowers. She can't hear exactly like her peers can, but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with her. She is just different the way everyone is different, one way or another. I love the way Cece's character learns that her deafness is not a weakness and embraces her differences. 

The artwork in the book is beautiful and fun. I especially love all of the daydreaming scenes with El Deafo. I think it is a great outlet for a lot of Cece's frustrations. 

I highly recommend this book for all readers. It is especially good for children, whether deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing. Everyone can get something great out of reading this amazing book.