Somerville Public Library Announces 2017 “Somerville Reads” Book Choice

“El Deafo” by Cece Bell chosen as 2017 citywide reading campaign title.

Annual “Somerville Reads” program kicks off in September.


SOMERVILLE – The annual “Somerville Reads” campaign returns for 2017, with the chosen title, “El Deafo” by Cece Bell.


“El Deafo,” a New York Times bestselling graphic novel about growing up hearing impaired, has received numerous awards, including a 2015 Newbery Honor, the 2015 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (ages 8–12), and the 2017 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award. Cece Bell’s graphic novel memoir will appeal to readers of all ages, and draws on themes of acceptance, friendship, and the celebration of differences.


From a synopsis on Abrams Books:


“Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.


The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.”


“Somerville Reads” is a citywide reading initiative that encourages all Somerville residents to read and discuss the same book to promote literacy and community engagement. The month-long Somerville Reads initiative will begin with the kick-off event on Wednesday, September 20, at the Somerville Central Public Library and will continue with citywide programming through October.

Throughout the initiative, the Somerville Public Library will host various intergenerational programs including discussions, workshops, classes, readings, book clubs, and more, all related to the themes found in “El Deafo.”


Copies of the book will be available for check out in a variety of formats at all Somerville Public Library locations and via the Library’s online catalog starting June 21. All Somerville residents are encourage to read the book anytime between now and the end of the “Somerville Reads” month-long initiative.


This year marks the eighth year that the Somerville Public Library has sponsored Somerville Reads. Previous titles include “The Witches” by Stacy Schiff, “The Martian” by Andy Weir, and “Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919” by Stephen Puleo. This is the first year that a graphic novel has been chosen.


For more information or questions about e-book and audiobook versions of the book, please call the Somerville Public Library at 617-623-5000 ext. 2955.


Please note: Individuals who need auxiliary aids for effective communication or any other reasonable accommodation are invited to make their needs known to the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nancy Bacci. She can be reached at 617-625-6600 x2250 or The City of Somerville’s disability policy can be found on the City’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities page.

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