Cover image for The mighty Miss Malone
Title:
The mighty Miss Malone
Title:
The mighty Miss Malone
Publisher Info:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc., [2012]
Physical Description:
307 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Pagination may vary.
Abstract:
With love and determination befitting the "world's greatest family," twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.

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On Order

Summary

Summary

In the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning Bud, Not Buddy, Bud met a girl named Deza Malone in a Hooverville. This is her story.

"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 has 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 search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie's beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.

"Witty and moving . " -- The Wall Street Journal

"The fluidity of the writing, the strong sense of place and time combined with well-drawn characters will captivate and delight. . . . a fitting literary companion to Bud Caldwell." -- Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Curtis threads important bits of African-American history throughout the narrative. . . . Some readers will feel they are due a bit of happiness; others will be struck by how little has changed in 75 years for the nation's have-nots." -- Publishers Weekly, Starred


Author Notes

Newbery Medal-winning children's book author Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 and graduated from The University of Michigan. While there he won the Avery and Jules Hopwood Prizes for poetry and a draft of one of his early books. Curtis spent thirteen years on an assembly line hanging car doors.

His story The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 received a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor, and Bud, Not Buddy became the first novel to win both of these awards. Elijah of Buxton received the 2008 Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and a Newbery Honor. Curtis also won the 2009 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Depression-era Indiana, Deza Malone's opportunities are slim despite her potential. She's got the smarts, the determination, and the attitude, but her family lacks the resources to help her grow to her full potential-and things only become worse when her father needs to leave for Michigan to find work. Narrator Bahni Turpin's exuberant performance and raspy voice make this an enjoyable and lively audio edition. Deftly rendering Deza, Turpin produces an impressive range of emotions for the young protagonist as she confronts challenges. For male characters, the narrator lowers her voice a few octaves, creating spot-on voices and an audiobook guaranteed to appeal to young listeners. Ages 10-14. A Wendy Lamb hardcover. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Deza Malone, 12, has a couple of big things going for her. She comes from a strong family, and she is smart as a whip. But there is plenty of bad to go along with the good. It's 1936 and her dad can't find work; her brother, Jimmie, he of the beautiful singing voice, isn't growing; and her teeth, full of cavities, require treatment of cotton soaked with camphor. Can things get worse? Certainly. Her father disappears and her mother moves the family from Gary to Flint, which lands the trio in a Hooverville shack. Then Jimmie takes off to sing. Curtis tries to do too much here. Consequently, just when readers are getting invested, the story changes course or important plot points are dropped. Deza is devastated when she overhears her father say her rotting teeth make him avert his head, but her suffering is forgotten until, at the conclusion, she goes to a dentist. On the plus side, Deza is a snappy character that will grab readers, and Curtis' portrayal of a family's love for each other feels real and true. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Newbery-winner Curtis has a huge following. Readers will be enticed by his return to the Depression-era setting of Bud, Not Buddy (1999) and his reintroduction of Deza, one of the characters from that book.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Twelve-year-old Deza Malone's family is struggling with Depression-era life in Gary, Indiana, but their strength to persevere is a testament to resilience, good humor, high hopes, and courage. As her father searches for work far away from home, Deza, her mother, and her brother are determined to follow him. When they do, the trials of racism, hunger, and homelessness are palpable. Turpin's talent embodies the voice of Deza as she journeys to find not only herself but also her most important family values. Common Core Standard: RL.7.9. Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and an historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. Content Standard: Georgia Department of Education (English Language Arts, Grade 7: ELA7R1) c. Relate a literary work to information about its setting or historical moment. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Journey to Wonderful "Once upon a time . . ." If I could get away with it, that's how I'd begin every essay I write. Those are the four best words to use when you start telling about yourself because anything that begins that way always, always finishes with another four words, ". . . they lived happily everafter." And that's a good ending for any story. I shut my dictionary and thesaurus and went back over my essay for the last time. The best teacher in the world, Mrs. Karen Needham, had given us a assignment to write about our families. I knew, just like always, she was going to love mine. She'd only asked for two pages but this was our last essay for the year, so I wrote six. Once upon a time . . . in Gary, Indiana, lived a family of three very special, very happy and uniquely talented people. I am the fourth member of that family and much too modest to include myself in such a grandiose description of their exalted number. But many people say I am of the same ilk and for that I remain internally grateful. My mother, Mrs. Margaret "Peggy" Sutphen Malone, was born here in Gary, Indiana. She is willowy and radiant and spell-blindingly beautiful. She is also very intelligent. She has a great job cleaning for the Carsdale family. Yes, that Carsdale family! The family whose patriarch is the president of the Gary Citizens' Bank. Her most endearing trait is that she is the glue holding this family together. "Deza?" I jumped and my pencil flew out of my hand. When I'm writing or reading a book, everything else around me disappears. Father says it's because I've settled into what I'm doing, the same way my brother Jimmie does when he's singing. "Jimmie! I told you not to sneak up on me like that when I'm writing!" He handed me the pencil. "I couldn't help it, sis, you were so far gone. What're you writing?" "My last essay for Mrs. Needham." "You know, a lot of people are saying her not coming back to teach is the best thing that ever happened at Lincoln Woods School." "James Malone, if I ever give one-half a hoot what a lot of people are saying, you have my permission to slap me silly. Mrs. Needham is the best teacher in the world. Now, if you don't mind. I never bother you when you're singing, don't bother me when I'm writing." "But lots of people love listening to me sing, Deza, seems to me like only you, that little pest Clarice Anne Johnson and Mrs. Needham like reading what you write." Jimmie is one of those people who can say something that might sound mean at first, but when he smiles and makes his eyebrows jump up and down you can't help smiling. He gets this deep, deep dimple in his right cheek and you end up laughing right along with him. My dearest friend, Clarice Anne Johnson, has a horrible and completely un-understandable crush on Jimmie. She says she bets you could pour cornflakes in his dimple and eat them out with a spoon. I'm hoping Clarice's taste in boys improves as she gets older. "Jimmie, please." "Sorry, sis. I'm heading out, can I do anything for you before I split?" "No, thanks. Just make sure you're back for supper." I looked at Mrs. Needham's instructions again. "What is the most annoying trait of some of your family members?" That was easy to come up with for Father and Jimmie, but I couldn't think of a single annoying trait for Mother. I wrote: Mother's pet peeve is that she hates the way a lot of people are mean to Jimmie for no reason. Her dreams are to see Father get a job where he doesn't always get laid off, for Jimmie to start growing again and be happy and to watch me graduate from college and be a teacher. My father, Mr. Roscoe Malone, was born in a village in Michigan called Flint, which is geologically located 250 miles northeast of Gary. For some reason that none of us can understand he is very proud of this. He is tall and strikingly handsome, he's also intelligent and well-read. He toils and labors mostly for the Company doing work in a horribly hot furnace and sometimes being a janitor. His most annoying trait is the way he uses alliteration every chance he has. I looked up from my paper. That is so true, but I wondered for a minute if I should put it in the essay. It isn't like he can help himself. He always calls me his Darling Daughter Deza, and I'm supposed to answer that he is my Dearest Delightful Daddy. He calls Jimmie the Genuine, Gentle Jumpin' Giant, and Jimmie's supposed to call him his Fine Friendly Father Figure. Father also calls Mother the Marvelous Mammalian Matriarch, but she says she won't respond because she refuses to play silly word games with such a "hardheaded husband who hasn't heard how horrible he is." Mother told me, "Such nonsense is in the blood of the Malones and you should be happy that so far it looks like you haven't inherited any of it." She says Jimmie is a different story. I tapped the pencil on my teeth. I know it's rude and disloyal to discuss family business with other people, but Mrs. Needham says good writing is always about telling the truth. Excerpted from The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.