Kid’s Table: The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone

by Christopher Paul Curtis

A fun and inspiring take on one family’s (and one young woman’s) experience of the depth of the Great Depression. This could have been depressing, but instead we have Deza’s indomitable energy and spirit as she and her small family negotiate without “the man of the house” and survive ignominies a family of any color would have had to brave to get through this day, let alone the next. (For ages 9 to 12) —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books

“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 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.

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