We love reading all different kinds of books at Success Academy, which is why our summer reading lists include poetry, illustrated novels, nonfiction, and graphic novels. Sometimes, authors have very important reasons for choosing a specific genre to tell their story. This is certainly the case for one of our favorites: Cece Bell’s El Deafo. All Success Academy rising 4th graders will be reading this incredible book this summer! As a celebrated writer and illustrator — she won a Newbery Honor for El Deafo, which was the first graphic novel to earn the award — Cece Bell makes readers of all ages excited to follow the adventures of a small bunny with a big superpower.
We’re honored to share a special message from Cece about her enjoyment of reading — which developed with the help of some very special friends. We hope she inspires Success Academy families to find themselves in the pages of an amazing story this summer!
Cece Bell, on reading:
I wasn’t the greatest reader as a kid. I wanted to play and make things and — gasp! — watch TV. But every now and then, I’d find a book that really captured my interest. These happened to be Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. They all featured real kids in real situations, and in ways both big and small, I saw some of myself in those characters. I was also inspired by these characters: I wanted to be strong-willed like Ramona, adventuresome like Laura, resilient like Mary. But none of these strong female characters was exactly like me, because none of these characters were deaf like me.
When I grew up and became an author and illustrator of children’s books, I had a chance to fix this situation. My remedy? El Deafo. I hope that deaf kids who read my book can see themselves in its pages. And I also hope that any kid who feels different for whatever reason can see themselves in El Deafo, too. Because ultimately, seeing oneself in a book is what grabs us and compels us to read, every single time.
Happy (summer) reading!