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The Mighty Miss Malone
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The Mighty Miss Malone

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  6,269 ratings  ·  748 reviews
“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family.

Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
6th out of 116 books — 1,132 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenHigh in School by Salman AdityaThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
18th out of 346 books — 611 voters

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Community Reviews

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Bonnie Cassidy
My 5th grade daughter was a few chapters into this book when she told me I "had to read it." The book tackles issues (race, poverty, literacy) in a way that is accessible to young people and provided me with a valuable entry point for discussing these issues with my daughter and her friends. My daughter is an avid reader, and she was struck by one passage in which Deza, also an avid reader, starts to lose her love of reading because she can't relate to any of the characters in the books she is r ...more
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

I am absurdly delighted to be writing this review because books like The Mighty Miss Malone are extremely rare in their awesomeness. I loved it. I LOVED IT. I heart Deza Malone with the fire of a thousand suns.

Here is why, in a nutshell:

The storytelling is fabulous: it has great moments, sad moments, and happy moments. It is a great story because it is a story about a family at its heart, and about a country, in the great scheme of things. It is a histor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"We are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful."

Thus concludes an essay written by the Mighty Miss Malone and Chapter One of this insightful book written about a black family struggling to survive during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

We read this book for my girls' book club, made up mostly of 6th and 7th graders. I loved it. Deza Malone is magnetic, her parents are wise, and her brother is endearing. Add to that the delightful, almost poetic prose and the engaging story line and
Michelle Isenhoff
I loved this one! It has everything in it that I appreciate about children’s literature: style, humor, beauty, depth—even history! I have absolutely no complaints about the story. It does have some incorrect grammar and spellings, but that’s because it’s written from the firsthand perspective of twelve-year-old Deza Malone. I don’t like such inaccuracies in books written for young children (like Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park), but by fifth grade, the approximate reading level I’d give this one ...more
Originally reviewed here.

Listen close, because when you pick up the audio for Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Mighty Miss Malone, you are on a journey to a place called Wonderful. Set during the Great Depression, and featuring a struggling African American family, The Mighty Miss Malone had so many opportunities to be tragic and heart wrenching, but it didn’t take them. Instead, The Mighty Miss Malone was one of the most warm, welcoming, delightful reads I have had in some time, and I have no qual
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis is one of my absolute favorite historical fiction books. I felt as if the book was written for me, and I was Deza. I enjoyed the ups and grieved the downs.

Deza Malone, a smart girl growing up in Gary, Indiana, has an easygoing life compared to lives of others during the Great Depression, except the fact that her father doesn’t have a job. But a tragic accident turns Deza’s privileged life around. Her father decides to go on a fishing trip with
Laura Salas
I always think I'm not a historical fiction fan until a writer brings a story to life for me. And then I am.

Christopher Paul Curtis does it again. Deza Malone lives in Michigan in the 1930s. Her family is poor but hardworking and funny. Deza's older (but smaller) brother, Jimmie, keeps things...interesting. And the father is quite a wonderful storyteller (just like CPC, based on the two times I've heard him speak!). Deza is smart and tries really hard to be the smartest person possible. And Deza
Linda Lipko
Slated as a possible 2013 Newbery medal winner, this book is well deserving of that honor...if indeed it is chosen.

A stand alone sequel to Bud, Not Buddy, the character of Deza Malone was first introduced in that book.

Life was brutal during the depression, and exceedingly so for poor black families. Work was hard to find and the author accurately portrays the difficulty of finding work if you were white, and almost impossible, if your skin color was black.

Poor in finances, but rich in the solida
Mixed feelings. There are parts of this that are lovely--not just "shining moments", but threads woven throughout, and excellence in description over all. But I thought the plot didn't live up to the rest of it. Books about people who have good things happen to them because they're somehow "special" often rub me the wrong way, and I want to know what happened with Deza's more ordinary friend Clarice more than I want to read about the two most talented kids in Gary who will go far in life etc. Th ...more
Logan Magic
This book sounds like it takes place when the white hated the black im not sure though. this book is about Deza malone, a very intellagent 12 year old who is an exallent writer. Deza has a brother, Jimmy who is an amazing singer and eventually is found by mr.z and leaves his family. Deza and her family lived in a town called gary but had to move to flint because the father had to find a new job there but, eventually they have to move again. in the end jimmy comes back and everythings pretty norm ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
If anyone ever says that Historical fiction is dry and boring, then they haven't read Christopher Paul Curtis and they haven't met Deza Malone. Curtis creates characters that are memorable. Characters that stay with you and keep begging to be your friend. You can't read this book without falling for the Mighty Miss Malone and wanting to get to know her a little better. Her strength and passionate spirit will have you cheering for her at all times.
Judi Paradis
Deza and her brother Jimmie are victims of the Great Depression. While Deza is the brightest student in her school, and Jimmie has an amazing singing voice, their talents cannot prevent the poverty that leads them to homelessness. Deza narrates, with spunk and an unusual amount of alliteration (something her family enjoys). Christopher Paul Curtis' trademarks--setting in the upper Midwest, strong family, and humor that overlays BIG messages about race and social justice keep this book in the sam ...more
"If I ever give one-half a hoot what a lot of other people are saying, you have my permission to slap me silly." -Deza pg 4

"Nothing is as obvious as we want to believe it is. There are different shades and interpretations to every story." pg 302
May 26, 2014 Kennedy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elementary School Teachers
Shelves: children-fiction
The Mighty Miss Malone, Bud Not Buddy, The Watsons Go To Birmingham. What do these books have in common, besides a great children’s literature author? They have history, social studies, suspense, humor and heartwarmingly hopeful stories. At a time when children’s literature is inundated with fearful characters and dystopian landscapes, in books that masquerade in this genre, but border on Young Adult, Christopher Paul Curtis saves the day.

Schools throughout the United States are now introducing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't quite manage it. The characters and events aren't convincing; oh, not the poverty aspect of it (which I know about) or the race aspect. But the author, a 21st century man, tries to squeeze himself into the mind of a 12-14 year old girl in the 1930s, and it simply doesn't work. Perhaps that's why Deza comes off as overly precious. I know all about the fascination of the thesaurus and the dictionary, and the horrible effect it has on adolescent writing. I ...more
The Mighty Miss Malone
Listening to this book made Deza come alive. The audio version was wonderfully told with Jimmy's singing parts beautifully portrayed.
This historical fiction account of young sixth grade Deza is rich with culture and human condition. Her story of hope and perseverance reveals circumstance and truth in a subtle, powerful way. The plight of the struggling African American family in the 1930s is clearly depicted in Gary, Indiana through the Malones. Twelve year old Deza is amb
I was so excited when I saw this gem sitting on the new book shelf at work! I am a huge fan of Christopher Paul Curtis’ work, and I couldn’t wait to dig into another chunk of history with him. Curtis has a way of bringing the time period he is writing about to life for his readers. His characters are more than just “people on a page,” they feel like friends. This book centers around the character of Deza Malone, or as her Daddy calls her “Darling Daughter Deza.”

We readers have met Deza before in
Barbara Wright
I listened to the audio version of this book, and it was the saddest thing I ever heard. Christopher Paul Curtis has written other books about difficult times of american history for black americans, and his voice is authentic, but usually leavened by lots of silly humor. I wonder if anyone criticized the author for making light of the depressing truth of poverty and racism, because they can't do it with this book. Bud, Not Buddy wowed me with the sad plight of a young orphan who had to make it ...more
Carlee Easton
Apr 02, 2013 Carlee Easton rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elem-Middle School
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book has everything that I love about children's literature, and I really enjoyed seeing Christopher Paul Curtis take on a female lead. Deza is sensational and smart. Her character does have some inconsistencies, but I found them to be genuine. They reflect the typical sixth grader - still a kid in so many ways, but especially in cases of poverty, forced to deal with tough adult situations. No surprise from Curtis, Deza's rough-around-the-edges brother ended up being dynamic and brave. Her ...more
Anja Manning
I can see why this would be an excellent choice for the Newbery Award. The Mighty Miss Malone is a wonderful character, surrounded by other real people, going through life during the Great Depression. This is a gripping story that provides insight into many aspects of that era, but what makes it outstanding is the fact that this book has so many parallels to today. As the author explains at the end of the book, unemployment, poverty and a large gap in income between Whites and African Americans ...more
I didn't think I would like this book, but was pleasantly pleased. I learned a lot about the great depression and the impact of the Joe Louis fight. Made me want to learn more. My heart broke for Desa for all the prejudice she and her people had to suffer. Highly recommend!
Deborah Bobo
Deza is a young, black girl during the depression. In his book, The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis, Deza is the smartest girl in her class. Her brother is not the best student, but he has the best singing voice in Gary Indiana. Curtis manages to capture a child's feelings and experiences relevant to this time period in history. While Deza's parents struggle with jobs and feeding the family, Curtis shows the reader the very different struggles of a young girl and her brother. Read ...more
Deza Malone is the kind of character who jumps right into your heart and makes camp there.

Yes, this is a wonderful historical fiction book about the devastating effects of the Depression on families in the American Midwest - especially African American families. The casually racist ways that adults speak to Deza spoke volumes about the institutionalized attitudes of the day. More than that, though, this is a book about a whip smart little girl who treasures books, her family, and has boundless
Suzanne Lilly
I just finished "The Mighty Miss Malone" by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is set in Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression. It's the story of a family so full of love, that despite the hardships they endure, riding the rails and living in a Hooverville, they still say they're on the "road to Wonderful." The MC is a gifted young girl and the story is told from the lens of her viewpoint. However, Christopher Paul Curtis is so talented, that we can also see the viewpoint and ...more
Excellent read. Historical enough to be informative, sassy enough to be fun, racial enough to be eye-opening. My only reason for not giving four stars is Watsons Go To Birmingham is still the best C.P. Curtis book!
I think some of my friends out there are being a little harsh on this one. Yes, it definitely lacks plot. However, there is plenty going on, and such a high-level of engagement in language and character that it makes up for lack of plot in terms of leading the reader in. Lack of plot does mean that it kind of just drifts apart at the end, and we're left with only vignettes. But such vivid vignettes. Not Curtis' best, but who cares? This is so much better than what kids are often offered, and spe ...more
Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
I think that Christopher Paul Curtis is GREAT! He does such a wonderful job of weaving a heart warming story with tough issues. Teacher buds, I see Common Core text in the future of this one!! Great historical ties. Great writing! And CPC's way of sprinkling sweetness throughout is, as I said, heart-warming---"kisses... kisses...kisses make you stronger." But don't judge...there is plenty of action, adventure, and a bit of mystery. Like Watson's Go to Birmingham, and Bud, Not Buddy, Mr. Curtis w ...more
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Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 to Dr. Herman Elmer Curtis, a chiropodist, and Leslie Jane Curtis, an educator. The city of Flint plays an important role in many of Curtis's books. One such example is Bucking the Sarge, which is about a fifteen year old boy named Luther T. Ferrel, who is in a running battle with his slum-lord mother. Curtis is an alumnus of the University of Mic ...more
More about Christopher Paul Curtis...
Bud, Not Buddy The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 Elijah of Buxton Bucking the Sarge Mr. Chickee's Funny Money

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“. . . people use tricks to get you to think the way they do or take away something you have that they want. One way they do that is to interrupt your normal way of thinking and take you by the hand and guide you down the path they want you to take. Father says they make you take a teeny-weeny step in their direction, and then they start to nudge you a little further down the path and before you know it, you're running full speed with them in a direction that you probably wouldn't have gone alone.” 8 likes
“There's a thin, blurry line between humor and tragedy.” 7 likes
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