Monday, May 1, 2017

Oregon Reader’s Choice Award winner is El Deafo

Winning titles in the 2017 Oregon Reader’s Choice Award were announced during the Oregon Library Association/Oregon Association of School Libraries conference in Salem.

I’ve promoted reader’s choice awards every year that I have been in Bellview Elementary School library, and wanted to report this final election result before leaving to begin my new position.

In the upper-elementary category, the winner was El Deafo by Cece Bell. Here’s the publisher’s summary for a book I read and enjoyed.

“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.”

The Bellview community may be interested to know that while El Deafo was a popular selection at Bellview Elementary School, the top vote-getter as awarded by Bellview students was A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.

The Oregon Reader’s Choice Award is intended to be a fun and exciting way for Oregon young people to become enthusiastic and discriminating readers (“About,” ORCA website).

“During the course of the school year, Oregon students choose their favorite book in a real-life democratic process.

“Books must be nominated for inclusion on the ORCA ballot. In order to be considered, the book needs to have a copyright date of two years prior to when the ballots are announced. This delay ensures that the title will be readily available in paperback during the voting year. Oregon students, teachers, and librarians are all able to nominate books. The nominations are reviewed by a committee of librarians and educators. The committee creates the final ballots based upon a number of criteria, including literary quality, creativity, reading enjoyment, reading level, and regional interest.”

Here are next year’s nominees for Oregon Reader’s Choice Award, for grades 3 to 5:

  • Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • George by Alex Gino
  • My Near Death Adventures (99% True!) by Alison DeCamp
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper
  • The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
  • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Students will need to read at least two of the featured titles, in order to vote for their favorite one, and the election will open next March. For information and resources, visit

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