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The Mighty Miss Malone Hardcover – January 10, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, January 2012: The Mighty Miss Malone is one Deza Malone--dedicated student and member of a close-knit family whose motto is “we are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful.” Unfortunately, the Great Depression is taking a toll that journey, and when Deza’s father leaves in search of work, the rest of the family soon has no choice but to follow. Despite the hardships, loss, and racism that defined the times, Deza never loses faith in her dreams or flags in her devotion to bringing her family together again. Perseverance and kindness serve Deza well, and her story is a welcome new journey into familiar territory from award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis. --Seira Wilson

From Booklist

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. Grades 5-7. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; First Edition edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Gang aft a-gley," This unique phrase was used throughout the book, The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Deza Malone's teacher Mrs. Needham most fittingly describes the phrase, "No matter how well you think something through, many times schemes simply will not work out. They will go astray."
The Malone's were a family with their own motto. Everyone embarks on a journey to find a place and life they've always dreamed to have. The Malone's had that dream within their motto. They hoped to adventure to a place where money, jobs, and material objects were not of concern. A place where this transcendent family could live freely, a place called Wonderful.

Unfortunately, Deza and the Malone family experience more gang aft a-gley than Wonderful. Despite the struggle and hardships of being an African American family during the Depression they accepted what was dealt to them and fought through the toughest time in history.

Curtis uses the Malone family to paint a picture of 1930's during the worldwide economic depression. A time when jobs were nearly impossible to obtain and families were often broken when men had to leave to find work. The economies decline forced many people to become homeless and live their life in poverty.
Curtis' writing goes into such detail that you can actually smell the stench from the boxcars that the family used as a means of transportation to find their father. When Deza had to part from her best friend, I felt genuinely sad and could understand her heartache. It was easy to experience the same feeling as the people in crowd did when they listened to Jimmie sing. I could close my eyes and hear the smooth melody of his angelic voice. I cringed when I read about the bugs crawling out of the oatmeal box that Deza was having for breakfast.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In reading the book, The Mighty Miss Malone, the author shares the story of a family unit that never falters no matter the circumstances. Family comes first. Written during the Great Depression, the story unfolds of the trying times of the black community in a tough, Gary, IN. True to life are the gangs, the rotten teeth because of lack of funds to go to the dentist, and the encouragement from a wonderful teacher. While in Flint, MI for a time, character, Deza realizes that she gets a C+ for her paper not because she did badly, but because the teacher does not give grades higher than a C to a black child.

I was intrigued that the history and portrayal of the Smelling vs. Lewis boxing fight. My in-laws were married on June 19, 1936 and they often spoke of this fight. I enjoyed the background history of the fight in the back of the book.

This book is a true picture of the plight during the Great Depression yet the message was strong that no matter what, family stays together even if Jimmie is absent from the fold.

This book is a must for purchase during 2012 and a great contribution to a church library.
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Format: Hardcover
A tragedy,a true tragedy..that this book has to end!(as the Mighty Miss Malone would say.)

Honestly,this book is a GEM.I checked it out from the library,but soon as my allowance adds up I am getting both this book AND Bud,Not Buddy.Deza Malone is a true heroine,making my Top Ten Heros/Heroines!I don't know how Curtis pulls it off,but Deza is someone that reaches your heart.The way she thinks,the way she acts,and even the way she looks at her situation,is truly amazing.Then there are also those little details that make her even more of a character to remember,like when she overhears her parents arguing,and her dad saying how he just has to get work and money because Deza's rotting teeth got so bad that he has to hold in his breath when he hugs her.And her brother Jimmie's angel voice,it's like you can hear it.The buggy oatmeal as well.Then there's the shaving advertisement,with its cheesy theme song,and how whenever the Malones go by they yell "Burma Shave!" These itty-bitty- details make Deza so much more real, so much more of someone to identify with and understand their struggles,than-let's say-Kit from the American Girl series.I love Kit as I have always been fascinated by the Great Deppresion,and I also love writing...but Curtis makes you truly understand what it is to be like a black kid in the Great Dep.

That is to say,this book has its wit too.I don't think it's as funny as Bud-Not-Buddy-or maybe it is,I don't know.I haven't read Bud Not Buddy in a very long time,but I do remember that I almost busted my gut laughing,and that didn't happen with this book.This book,I think,I will be keeping on my shelf along with a few other favorites,like Anne of Green Gables,Fair Weather and some others.

Conclusion: Get it and get it NOW.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis is created from the mention of a young girl in a Hooverville in Curtis's previous acclaimed novel for middle-graders, Bud Not Buddy. While I relished the idea to discover more about this plucky, young lady, I was ultimately rather disappointed in her inability to step up and be the hero of her own story.
Deza is an incredibly bright girl growing up in Gary, Indiana,where she is heralded by her teachers as being "the one student who could make a real contribution." She is a member of a loving family, who joyfully cares for one another despite their growing poverty and absence of a job for her father.

When tragedy knocks on the Malone's door step, the family dynamic is shaken and Mr. Malone feels he has no choice but to leave the home and look else where for employment. Thus begins a journey of Hoovervilles, prejudice, and separation for the remainder of the Malone's as they travel to find Deza's father and a stable living environment.

What drew me to this book (besides being an immense fan of the author's previous work) was the idea of a young, African-American girl of this particular time period (the age of the Hooverville) using her whit and intelligence to save her family. Deza is likable and funny from the very beginning and you can't help but root for her. And as the story goes on, you can't help but be disappointed that Curtis doesn't give her more opportunities to be the hero. SPOILER ALERT!

I anticipated the moment when Deza's intelligence would rescue her family and pull them back together, but I never was really able to enjoy that moment. In reality, it is Deza's brother that does the rescuing,and despite his absence from the storyline for a period, he quickly steals the reins from her.
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