Monday, February 9, 2015

El Deafo by Cece Bell (Newbery Honor 2015) Booktalk

When Cece was four years old, she got very sick with meningitis. Although she recovered from it, her hearing did not. She was deaf. At first her own family and doctor missed the signs, but once they figured it out, she got tested. She would have to wear hearing aids [show kids the Phonic Ear picture].

Problem solved - right? Wrong. Hearing is complicated - it's not just a question of making things louder. Hearing aids don't solve every problem for the deaf: there still may be sounds which a deaf person cannot hear. Some words sound muffled, even if they're "loud" enough. Cece would have to learn new strategies: how to lip read and how to guess from context what people might be saying to her.

But her Phonic Ear made her feel self-conscious and different. Imagine feeling as if people were always staring at you. Imagine that your teacher has to wear a microphone which sends sound to your hearing device. It's both a blessing and a curse.

And you know what Cece can do that no other student in her class can do? She can hear the teacher outside of class - away from the students - because the teacher keeps forgetting to turn her microphone of. She can hear her teacher in the restroom, in the teacher's lounge, you name it.

Being deaf can make friendships tricky, too. One of Cece's friends treats her like a slow-witted person. And the cute boy (on whom Cece has a crush) wants Cece to "spy" on her teacher and share that information. Read the Newbery Honor winner titled El Deafo by Cece Bell.

El Deafo by Cece Bell. 233 pages. Newbery Honor 2015. Amulet Books, 2014. Booktalk to grades 3-8. 

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