A New Kind of Superhero

El Deafo - Cece Bell Seeing Voices - Oliver Sacks

El Deafo explores the elementary school trials and triumphs of a girl who loses her hearing to a fever. She must attend school with a amplifying device and a microphone which the teacher uses. Her difficulty in understanding what people are saying as she learns to lip read and her feelings about how she is treated by various friends are treated sensitively and in a way that will allow young kids to empathize with the heroine. Her moment of fame when she uses her microphone system to outsmart a lax teacher is hilarious and will be enjoyed by any kid. 

 

This graphic novel was particularly interesting to me as I attended an elementary school which mainstreamed blind and deaf/hard of hearing students. Later, I was an aide at a school which had a DHH magnet. It was interesting to see how other students readily picked up sign language (something that didn't occur at all in this story) and used it conversationally. This book is a must for any elementary school, but especially one with a DHH program, and could probably be enjoyed by younger middle school students as well. 

 

Older, more fluent readers looking for a window into the world of the deaf may enjoy Oliver Sacks' Seeing Voices.