Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading? weekly on their blogs. To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.
When I ordered El Deafo by Cece Bell, I didn't realize it is a graphic novel. I usually don't like graphic novels, so I almost returned it. However, so many people have raved about El Deafo that I decided to keep it, and I'm glad I did. The fact that the main character is a rabbit is another potential stumbling block for me in this book, as I generally prefer books with people, but Cece is a pretty human-like bunny. She relays her hopes and struggles with honesty, insight, and humor. Additionally, she teaches readers about the reasons for deafness, the struggles of deaf people, and the different ways deaf people are able to communicate. I laughed at loud at some of her adventures as she learned to lip read, and I completely understood her aversion to American sign language.
I'm not sure how effective it is to use graphic novels as read-alouds--has anyone tried it?--but this book would be a great book club title to use in a character or social issues unit. Talking about El Deafo would lead to conversations about empathy, friendship, perceptions and realities, as well as learning differences and disabilities.
On a different reading note, I have to give a shout-out to The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. An incredible reader recommended it to me so strongly that I ordered it that night. A memoir, written to honor a mother's well-lived life, this book is full of great books, wise words, humor, and important insights about how to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives.