School Library Journal features El Deafo and its connection to deaf readers

31 Jan

Thanks, School Library Journal, for this really lovely piece about El Deafo and the way it has connected with deaf readers. Huzzah!

The article is possibly a reminder that sharing our personal stories helps spread understanding and empathy. And sharing all the funny stuff in this world is good, too. Gotta have the funny.

Here’s a sampling:

Though the book was beyond Sarah’s reading level, she assiduously “read” it and invented stories to go with the pictures. “She would point to the pictures and say, ‘Just like me!’ The surprise on her face spoke volumes,” says DeBrodt. The speech bubbles in El Deafo are often blank or contain garbled words to convey the protagonist’s hearing experience, which kids like Sarah also connect with.


When Bell came to speak at Sarah’s school and chatted with her while autographing a book, “it may have been Sarah’s first encounter, up close and personal, with a deaf person who conversed with her,” says DeBrodt. Sarah still tells DeBrodt how she “reads” the book before bed or while in the car. “I know she is not literally reading the words,” DeBrodt says. “She is comforted and edified by the kinship she feels with the character.”

Many thanks to Sarah Bayliss for all her hard work putting this altogether. All together? I am turning into Donkey…she took the time to interview a lot of folks, not just me. Sarah and I had a wonderful time talking on Skype, that’s for sure. Yay, Sarah Bayliss!


2 Responses to “School Library Journal features El Deafo and its connection to deaf readers”

  1. Jess Stork Glicoes January 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    This is so exciting. I love it when a reader connects with a character on a deeper level, and it sounds like that was the experience for this reader. Awesome!

  2. Kate Corbett Pollack February 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Over Fall Semester, I read El Deafo over a recording device on my phone for a blind student at the University I work at. I described the drawings, and did the voices and it was so much fun! It took about 7 hours all told. I did this over the course of a month or so. I am Deaf, was born in 1981, and your book is so similar to what I experienced as a child.

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