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The Mighty Miss Malone

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  9,582 Ratings  ·  949 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 113 books — 1,221 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenKeeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon MessengerThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
14th out of 297 books — 672 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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All I know now is, I will never disrespect money again. Period.

Have you ever imagined what life would be like if you were gravely poor? To have to suffer worm and bug infested oatmeal because that's the only way you'll ever make your three meals a day, or endure endless, painful bites of stones through your sole less shoes because it's either that or no shoes at all? Have you ever imagined a life of impoverishment? I'm a hypocrite. I know I say I love books that indulge all my faculties, books t
Bonnie Cassidy
May 07, 2013 Bonnie Cassidy rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 02, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 10, 2012 Betsy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2013 Chantel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: girls-book-club
"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
Jul 13, 2012 Michelle Isenhoff rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2016 Shelby rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing! I love the writing to it and everything. I feel really bad for the main character because she has go face many struggles in life and sometimes she can't fix them, but it gets really good and has a great ending to it. I LOVE this book!
Jul 09, 2012 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Soraya Laboy
Feb 27, 2016 Soraya Laboy rated it really liked it
Set during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Curtis has gifted us with a powerful- a mighty -African American family. We see everything through 12 yr old Deza's eyes. It's a touching story about a family who is doing the best they can to stay loyal, loving, and true in spite of difficult circumstances.
"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
Laura Salas
Nov 02, 2012 Laura Salas rated it really liked it
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
Mar 03, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
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
Mar 27, 2013 Logan Magic rated it really liked it
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
Anne Gray
Mar 02, 2015 Anne Gray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, young-adult
I just finished The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis. A terrific book about a young girl and her brother during the Great Depression, trying to help their mom after their dad suffers a tragic incident and disappears. Complex issues of class and race are gracefully and thoughtfully illustrated in this touching and ultimately uplifting story, narrated by the ever so humble (not!) Miss Malone.

I was especially interested to note that the father in this story was born in Flint, Michigan
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
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jan 27, 2012 Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on my MP3 player. It a tale of historical fiction, but a story that could be told of many black people living during the depression. It's a tale of a close knit family, whose father is out of work, and the mother works cleaning houses. There are two children in the family. The daughter has a very outgoing personality, and she is very smart, and gets A's in school. The brother is older, but stopped growing, and he is very short. He has a beautiful singing voice, and he sin ...more
Judi Paradis
Jul 20, 2014 Judi Paradis rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2016 Brittany rated it it was amazing
This book is spectacular and emotional and full of optimism and thoughtfulness. I'm so glad I picked it up. I'm so going to teach this.
Oct 11, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Curtis returns to the Great Depression with the story of Deza Malone and her family. Deza loves school, words, her best friend, and her family. The Malones are a close family and my favorite parts of the book may have been when they sat around the dinner table and told about their days. But, times are tough as Deza's father can't find work due to his asthma and the Depression. Her big brother Jimmie stopped growing prematurely and Deza has so many terrible cavities that her breath permanently re ...more
Aug 01, 2016 Amyhornek rated it it was amazing
The sequel to Bud, not buddy. Just as captivating, this story is also set in 1930's depression era Indiana and Michigan. The story revolves around a minor character in the previous book, Deza. The book begins by showing her desperately poor, but still happy life with her father, mother and brother in Gary, IN. She is an outstanding student and her brother a troubled, talented musician. Things turn around one day when her father goes missing on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. Her the second half ...more
What a powerful book!!!
We LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. We definitely will be picking it up to read again, when our 8 yr. old son is a teenager and better understands the historical aspect of this book.
This book is well written and inspirational. It discusses a lot of hard topics (poverty, race, education, literacy, family obligations and relationships, The Depression, and more). Although, many of the topics and situations are hard to listen to, it was written in such a way, that kept you reading
Mary-Lynn Kebker
Nov 21, 2015 Mary-Lynn Kebker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Have you ever wondered what life as like during the Great Depression? Well, Christopher Paul Curtis does a wonderful job creating a mental picture about one family when you read The Mighty Miss Malone. The Malone family has heartbreak after heart break and they are trying to persevere through everything that is throw at them. After taking you through an emotional journey of everything they endured. Eventually Curtis shows the reader how hard work, dedication to one’s family, and courage can pay ...more
This really started out whizbang...Deza has such a strong personality as it is, and it was only further glorified by Bahni Turpin's delivery. There wasn't any point that that particular aspect fizzled--it was interesting to get perspective from a young girl about the hardships particular to the African American community during the Depression Era--but the plot did slow down as the book progressed. As Betsy Bird mentions in her review, I, too, was pretty disappointed that Deza wasn't really given ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Kennedy rated it really liked it
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
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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...

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“There's a thin, blurry line between humor and tragedy.” 10 likes
“. . . 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
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