Education Department Common Read

El Deafo

Students and faculty in the Education Department participate in the Common Read. Our compelling books provide opportunities for discussion, critical analysis, and connections to school learning communities and practice, while engaging us in deeper questions such as what is social justice, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness. Held each fall, the Common Read is explored in individual courses, departmental gatherings, and campus-wide events.


El Deafo by Cece Bell


“Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.


The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.”


-Cece Bell, YouTube video description



Exploring Deafness in Cece Bell's El Deafo: a panel discussion
Monday, September 26th, 7:00 pm Recital Room, McCarthy Arts Center

Center for Cartoon Studies Workshop
Monday, October 24th, 3:15-4:45 pm Roy Room, Dion Student Center

Let's Get Graphic: An Introduction to Cartooning & Graphic Novels Panel
Monday, October 24th, 7:00 pm Recital Room, McCarthy Arts Center

Heroes, Art & Social Justice: Exploring Identity in El Deafo
Wednesday, November 2nd, 5:00-6:30 pm Farrell Room, St. Edmund's Hall

Deafness & Hard of Hearing

Books for children

Dowell, F. O. (2000). Dovey Coe. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Ferris, J. (2001). Of sound mind. New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.

Gilmore, R., & Sauvé, G. (1999). A screaming kind of day. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Hill, K. (200). The year of Miss Agnes. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Jordan, S. (1999). The raging quiet. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Lakin, P., & Steele, R. G. (1994). Dad and me in the morning. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman.

MacKinnon, C. (1993). Silent observer. Washington: Kendall Green Publications.

Miller, S. E. (2007). Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Millman, I. (1998). Moses goes to a concert. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Rankin, L. (1991). The handmade alphabet. New York, NY: Dial Books.

Selznick, B. (2011). Wonderstruck: A novel in words and pictures. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Venezia, M. (2009). Alexander Graham Bell: Setting the tone for communication. New York, NY: Children's Press.

Woodson, J. (2007). Feathers. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Books for Adults

Galloway, T. (2009). Mean little deaf queer: A memoir. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Marschark, M. (2007). Raising and educating a deaf child: A comprehensive guide to the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by parents and educators. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Marschark, M., & Hauser, P. C. (2012). How deaf children learn: What parents and teachers need to know. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

        Padden, C., & Humphries, T. (2005). Inside deaf culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sacks, O. (1989). Seeing voices: A journey into the world of the deaf. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Solomon, A. (2012). Deaf. In Far from the tree: Parents, children and the search for identity (pp. 49-114). New York, NY: Scribner.

Graphic Novels in Education

Brozo, W. G., Moorman, G. B., & Meyer, C. K. (2014). Wham!: Teaching with graphic novels across the curriculum. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Kick, R. (2012). The graphic canon, from "Kubla Khan" to the Brontë Sisters to The picture of Dorian Gray. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Kick, R. (2012). The graphic canon, from the epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous liaisons. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Kick, R. (2013). The graphic canon, from Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.

Miller, M. L. (2015). Class, please open your comics: Essays on teaching with graphic narratives. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Syma, C. K., & Weiner, R. G. (2013). Graphic novels and comics in the classroom: Essays on the educational power of sequential art. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Weiner, S., Forney, E., & Fingeroth, D. (2015). 101 outstanding graphic novels. New York, NY: NBM Publishing.

Graphic Novels in the SMC Library



El Deafo

Cece Bell, author's website

Author Cece Bell talks about her new book, 'El Deafo' (YouTube video)

Dorothy's List: 'El Deafo' (VPR)

"El Deafo' Wins Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (VPR)

Cece Bell: I wanted to show what if felt like to be the only deaf kid at my school (

'El Deafo': With her first (and so funny) graphic novel, deaf Va. artist Cece Bell hopes her tale will help others (

Amulet Books Graphic Novel Teaching Guide for El Deafo

In My Head...thoughts, chips, etc, 'El Deafo' blog post

Deafness & Hard of Hearing

How to Truly Listen by Evelyn Glennie (TEDTalk)

Dear Hearing People (YouTube video) 

Nine East Network
Vermont consulting agency connecting children, families, and schools with effective strategies to address language delays and hearing loss. Focus is on access to communication for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, or have developmental speech and language disorders.

9 Things you Might Not Know about Children who are Deaf

Missing the Signs: Vermont's Deaf Bhutanese are Isolated and Underserved (

The Story of American Sign Language

That Deaf Guy-Comics!

Kids at the American School for the Deaf feel the beat and move their feet

Parents of Deaf Children, Stuck in the Middle of an Argument (

As More Deaf Students Use Cochlear Implants, Indiana Schools Work to Adapt (

The Deaf Body in Public Space (

Graphic Novels

The Center for Cartoon Studies

50 Essential Graphic Novels

Carter, J. B. (2009). Going Graphic. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 68-72.

Brozo, W. G. (2013). From Manga 2 math. Educational Leadership, 71(3), 58-61.

Yang, G. (2008, January). Graphic Novels in the Classroom. Language Arts, 85(3), 185-192. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from JSTOR.

Good Comics for Kids: a School Library Journal blog

Cult of Pedagogy Graphic novels in the classroom: A teacher roundtable  (blog post)



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