El Deafo, by Cece Bell, or why assuming that an 11-year-old boy wants only "books for 11 year old boys" is kind of pointless
I had been reading El Deafo, by Cece Bell (Harry N. Abrams, Sept. 2014), for my own reading pleasure, which was considerable--it is a deeply absorbingly warm and relatable book for anyone who has felt different and wanted friends. And the story of how little rabbit child Cece coped with being especially different after losing her hearing, and how she found her way in the world of school and friends is great and the narrative voice is just right as is the pacing etc etc. In short, I liked it lots.
And there it was on the sofa (cunningly left there as child book bait), and my son saw it, and picked it up, assuming it's fantasy (flying rabbit girl on the cover) and read the back, criticizing apparent redundancy in the summary: "This funny....memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up" and then commented on the weirdness of the rabbit children....but then he started to read.
There are few things that I love to see more than one of my children reading a book they love. This particular child sits up straighter when he's loving a book, holding it gently but firmly with both hands--you can just see Active Engagement pouring out of him. Emotions flicker across his face. He no longer hears external sounds. He is Reading.
So he finished in a single sitting. "We are keeping this one," he said. "I love it."
"It is a library book," I said.
"But we can buy our own copy."
So yeah, don't assume 11 year old boys won't read books about little rabbit girls; 6th grade boys worry about friendships too, and being different, and growing up. And 11-year-old boys can be full as all get out with empathy for kids who aren't like them--look at the success of Wonder. And in these things they are just like rabbit girls, deaf or not.