1.) CeCe spends the first pages of El Deafo recovering from meningitis, the illness which renders her deaf. However, CeCe is too young to understand what has happened to her, and thus, she is not immediately provided with a hearing aid. How do the images in the first pages of the novel help the author express what it’s like to be unable to hear? I think pages 4-5 and 12-15 will be particularly helpful in answering this question.
2.) Other than being deaf, CeCe faces a number of more common issues associated with growing up. What are some typical feelings, problems, or anxieties that today’s school-age children (and CeCe) face? Is CeCe successful in dealing with these issues?
3.) On pages 46-49 (and throughout the novel), the author again uses a visual image to convey CeCe’s sense of loneliness and isolation at her new school. How effective do you think that image is in conveying CeCe’s feelings? Is it more effective than using text only?
4.) How does having a superhero alter-ego help CeCe cope with her frustration and with her sense of differentness? How might it help other children–not only children struggling with a similar handicap but also any child who feels lonely or frustrated?
5.) While El Deafo is, in some sense, a superhero comic, how does it differ from the typical superhero story (i.e. Spiderman, Batman, Superman…)?
6.) What do you think the author hoped to achieve by writing a story about a deaf superhero?
7.) How might reading El Deafo help to inspire empathy for the disabled?
8.) Now that you’ve studied both forms of children’s literature, do you notice any differences between picturebooks and graphic novels? Other than length, how are their purposes different?