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November 2017 Related Resources: Differing Abilities

Wanting to dig deeper into one of our selections? We research related resources -- articles, videos, and more -- to help you expand your knowledge beyond the pages of our selections.

Wanting to dig deeper into one of our selections? We research related resources -- articles, videos, and more -- to help you expand your knowledge beyond the pages of our selections.


Check out a preview of El Deafo from author Cece Bell. 

Here is another book trailer to introduce the book to you and young readers. 

Cece Bell gives a great book talk explaining why she chose to write this book and what it is all about. *May contain spoilers*

Learn about the story behind El Deafo.

Why should you read El DeafoThe Washington Post explains it all right here. 

Here is a fun look at how the graphic novel was made

Cece was diagnosed with meningitis when she was young, which was the cause of her hearing loss. The Meningitis Research Foundation has a great explanation as to how this disease works and updates on the current research. This Youtube video is a quick way to learn about the symptoms and the disease itself. Meningitis in children looks different than it does in adults. Check out the signs here

After Cece’s parents realized she needed assistance with her hearing, she was fitted for a phonic ear. Learn more about how the phonic ear works and see Cece’s how the phonic ear works actual phonic ear that she talks about in the graphic novel!

Cece learns that lip reading isn’t as easy as it sounds. Mental Floss highlights a great video that shows exactly how difficult it can be to discern between words when you just have lip movements to base your assumptions on. You can even practice your lip reading skills with this resource from

Cece’s parents encourage her to learn sign language, but she is hesitant (to say the least). Learn more about American Sign Language (ASL) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders . You can check out the ASL dictionary to learn some signs. Finally, check out this fun innovation in sign language technology which highlights a self-driving bus that speaks sign language

Cece Bell explains the difference between creating graphic novels and picture books.

Cece Bell discusses becoming an author and illustrator.

Cece Bell was named an honoree for the 2015 John Newbery Medal. You can see her illustrated reaction to the news in this fun video

Interested in using a graphic novel in your classroom? This website has some great tips for using El Deafo in your classroom in regard to themes, critical reading, and pairing with other texts, including poetry!

Guest host Jon Scieszka and host Rich Fahle interview CeCe Bell about El Deafo at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. 

Cece and her classmates make something called a Warm Fuzzy. You can find instructions on how to make your own with your friends and family here!

Think you know everything about El Deafo? Put your knowledge to the test with this fun El Deafo Quiz!

If you are looking to teach El Deafo in your classroom, Scholastic has some great resources for teachers. The ADL also has a good resource complete with discussions questions and extension activities. You can also explore the teaching guide from Abrams Books.

This charming video shows several kids learning about deaf culture from someone who is hearing impaired. 

Mandy Harvey is a singer and song-writer who has a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and has caused her to lose her hearing. You may have seen her on America’s Got Talent. Learn more about her journey and how she turned her hearing loss into a message of hope.

Take a look at this record of wedding vows that included sign language in 1576! 

Can’t get enough El Deafo talk? There are a few podcasts that have some discussions surrounding the book and its themes. You can watch Bell at the National Book Awards in 2015. Dorothy’s List explores El Deafo and gives us a bit more information than the book about Cece’s story. Punch Like a Girl explores their thoughts on El Deafo. Finally, The Longest Shortest Time also dedicates an episode to Cece Bell and her graphic novel.


Ginny enjoys playing basketball with the Special Olympics. Learn moret about what this organization has to offer.

It would be hard to miss Ginny’s love of Michael Jackson. We think she would love Heidi Klum’s 2017 Halloween Thriller costume and Michael Jackson’s Halloween Specialfrom 2017 as well. If you’d like, you can listen along to Michael Jackson’s greatest hitswhile you read. We’re sure Ginny would approve!

Ginny’s mom sells Maine Coon cats. Check out this Hawaiian newscast highlighting these large cats. You can also see how Iris, a six year old girl with autism, connected with a Maine Coon cat of her own. If you’re looking for more facts about them, Mental Floss has great information as well. 

Autism Speaks is a resource that many parents and educators use for tools, to explore research, and to connect with others. 

Sesame Street also has a trove of great resources regarding talking to and working with children ages 2 to 5 about autism. Sesame Street describes this initiative best: “Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community.” 

We love this video from Amazing Things Happen that highlights how to celebrate our differences and commonalities, especially in regard to how our brains work. It is a lovely explanation of how those with autism experience the world. 

A therapist who works with children with autism and has autism herself describes common misconceptions.

Soul Pancake highlights one family’s story about their child’s journey with diagnosis and everyday life. 

Looking to be a part of a special needs adoption? Adopt America is working to make sure children of all abilities are given a loving home. has a great section highlighting families with children of differing abilities. Their stories are candid and their resources are helpful.

Have you ever seen the movie Finding Dory? Not one, but two authors have written about what this popular Disney/Pixar film has taught them about autism. The firstexplains what she learned about her son, and the second is a first-person account from The Mighty.

This resource has some great tips on how to be an ally for a student with differing ability. 

Soul Pancake had several people come together to explain how they learned through their disabilities that “it’s okay to be different”.

Benjamin Ludwig shares his thoughts on Ginny Moon.

Jan Wilson gives a TEDx talk at the University of Tulsa about how we can reimagine d to create inclusive education.

If you’re looking for more discussions on Ginny Moon, here are two podcasts that you may find interesting. KUCI Get the Funk Out interviews Benjamin Ludwig and The Bookshelf has a quick episode dedicated to Ginny Moon as well.


First, let’s start out with a book trailer for Love and First Sight by the author, Josh Sundquist! 

Ever wondered what it takes to create a braille book? This quick video gives a brief explanation. You can see how a braille typewriter works (and maybe even catch how six dots can create an entire alphabet) in this second video from How It’s Made.

When Cecily and Will are in the museum they have a discussion about how someone who is blind has no concept of colors. This video is a cute look at some kiddos who try to explain what colors are like to a man who is blind. 

The museum is a location where many interesting conversations about sight happen between Cecily and Will. One is about the difference between impressionism and realism. Another is in regard to Vincent Van Gogh and his painting, Les Alyscamps. You can learn more about all of those conversations using these links.

Want to read Will’s first reading assignment along with him? Check out the classic tale, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry! 

Are eye transplants real? Researchers are currently completing research on stem cells and retinas to see how realistic Will’s story could be. 

You can learn what parts of the eye can be transplanted from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and check out why researchers believe they can complete the first successful eye transplant within the decade. 

Will and his father have some deep conversations while out on the tandem bike. To lighten up the mood, we thought you would enjoy seeing a humorous look at how to ride a tandem bike

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake also enjoy spending time together on their tandem bike, as Fallon highlighted on The Tonight Show

We love the story of a 94-year-old woman who is also blind that rides her tandem bike as a part of a club that pairs tandem partners together. 

Do you think love at first sight is real? Science may prove that it is. 

What is it like to be blind? It’s not as simple as being blind or being sighted, as the author of this article points out. Her perspective is, in many ways, complementary to Will’s in that she goes from sighted to blind instead of blind to seeing for the first time. Check out this interesting perspective on blindness. 

Ron McCallum was born blind. Regardless, he managed to fall in love with reading soon after. In this funny and heartfelt TEDtalk, he tours the history of reading gear for the blind and shows how each new design has impacted his life. 

Josh Sundquist’s website for his book is full of great information about the author and his inspiration.

Josh Sundquist gives some tips on writing to fans of his work.

There are also a few podcasts that explore more about Sundquist’s interesting life. Ear Biscuits has a great interview, and Bossy Books discusses their thoughts on Love and First Sight.