“El Deafo” — Everybody Listen Up!

I just finished this glorious graphic work by Cece Bell. Here’s her introduction to it. 

And here is her website.

Nobody needs me to promote this book. It was a bestseller and won a “Newbery Honor Award.”

But it gives me hope and that’s what I’d like to post about. There were no “handicapped” (ugh word) kids when I was growing through grade school in the late ’50s and early ’60s. They were kept invisible (or, more precisely, were invisible even when they were present) and it was a source of enormous shame. Just as kids who committed suicide were called “crazy,” any mental or physical divergence was the fault of not only the individual, but the whole family.

Shame ruled the world to an unbearable degree. Now we’ve eliminated it in all the wrong ways.

Anyway, El Deafo could not have been written when I was there to read it as kid/young adult lit. But I am proud and grateful that it can be now. I have to add:

I hated the squawk box in classrooms even though I could understand what it was saying. There was something “Students AA BB CC and DD line up for the firing squad outside” about it.

Most P.E. teachers stunk even more than average at what they did. Instead of encouraging the inept and shy into getting more into physical activity, they basically wrote off everybody who wasn’t a natural jock.

The true friends, hard to find, are those with whom you share your fantasies and they know innately what the dreams mean and where they are going. It’s a warm-up for grown-up love.

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