Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Award Winning Graphic Novel

With the big Newbery announcements this week, I am still a little amazed.  The Crossover wining the Newbery is wonderful.  I thought Brown Girl Dreaming would edge it out, but no!  However, Brown Girl Dreaming got a well deserved Honor and that felt right too.

The biggest shift for me however, was that a graphic novel, El Deafo, won a Newbery Honor.  Yes, you read right ... a graphic novel.  I have been telling parents that these books are rich genres for storytelling.  The narratives have depth, significant story arcs and can touch readers in a way that conventional stories sometimes can't.  It is so nice to see the committee acknowledge that these type of stories can be distinguished, and my hope is that parents and librarians will promote this genre as a wonderful reading experience for kids.

So enough pontificating and on to today's review.  I read this Newbery Honor book several months ago and loved it.  I hesitated to post the review, not because the story wasn't wonderful, but because all the characters are bunnies.  No that is not a typo.  Read the review to find out why.  This is one your chid wouldn't pick up off the shelf on their own because of yes, the bunnies, and I am hoping the shiny sticker will give this book the boost it needs.

I have included a video of the author discussing her book at the end of the blog.  Don't miss it.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Email for all the books where bunnies are funny and kind and scared and self conscious - just like us with bigger ears.

Title:El Deafo

Author: Cece Bell

Target: Grades 3-7

Series: No

Newbery Honor Boook

What this book is about: 
This is an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up hard of hearing.  The author’s hearing was damaged as a child and she has to navigate school and friends with a hearing aid.  While her worries and joys are those of any kid, her challenges with people’s reactions and behavior regarding her hearing are the most difficult for her.  The heart of the story is about a girl who wants to have friends and fit in, and her daily challenges provide a lovely backdrop for a story about growing up.

Why I love this book: 
This book feels absolutely authentic.  Cece’s reaction to her deafness, the loneliness and embarrassment she feels, the reaction of other kids, it all feels absolutely true.  Kids will certainly walk away from this book with a new feeling of empathy for others, but they will also love Cece and be rooting for her the whole way.  She has a sensibility and a sense of humor that is irresistible!

The characters in this book are drawn as bunnies which is an interesting play.  Obviously bunnies have big ears, and this accentuates the issues of hearing and makes the hearing aids a more prominent feature.  This analogy will probably be lost on most kids, but it was a compelling way to visually interpret the issue of deafness.

Who this book is for: 
The comparisons to Raina Telgemeir’s Smile are inevitable and kids who enjoyed that book will certainly be the right audience for this one.  The bunnies may make the book feel young at first, but the issues are sophisticated so don’t let the rabbits fool you.

Final thoughts: 
There are lots of graphic novel memoirs out this year.  Check out Sisters and The Dumbest Idea Ever for more great stuff in this genre.  I keep telling you graphic novels are getting better and better!  Has the Newbery Honor convinced you yet?

Fun fact: The author is married to Tom Angleberger, the writer of Origami Yoda.  

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: El Deafo  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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