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The Mighty Miss Malone (2012)

de Christopher Paul Curtis

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9135017,818 (4.1)37
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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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 hits 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 Hooverville outside Flint, MI. The twists and turns of this story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone. A 2012 Newbery Award winner for middle school readers.
  BLTSbraille | Sep 18, 2021 |
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 all that much agency (apart from her jaunt to Detroit) despite how smart we keep hearing she is. So many major events happened off-scene as well...you heard more about people recounting events rather than enacting them. I felt like the plot and character development at the beginning between the whole Mrs. Needham and Dr. Bracy situations would lead to something later in the book, but both were total dead ends. I'm not entirely sure why those were as drawn out as they were. Also, I thought we were all supposed to know that Jimmie was the one supplying the money the whole time, especially after his heart-to-heart with Deza in Detroit, but by the end, maybe we were supposed to have been as surprised as Deza?

TL;DR: Read this for the voice, not necessarily the plot. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I am totally in love with this book, even though it broke my heart. Gah, Feelings. (Better review TBD after the Feelings turn into regular feelings that I can articulate.) ( )
  AnnaWaffles | Aug 28, 2020 |
Right out the gate, I'd like to say that Ms. Turpin should perform all the audiobooks. This was the most exceptional single-narrator performance I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. She had me utterly convinced throughout that every character and every emotion was real. I couldn't honestly tell you how much of the book was amazing because Mr. Curtis is an exceptional author and how much was because she nailed the performance.

As for the story itself, it is a magnificent piece of middle-grade historical fiction. It weaves the suffering of the Great Depression, especially as experienced by African Americans, into a powerful narrative of one family's struggle to survive. It also touches on the significance of the 1936 boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. It is heartbreaking at times and uplifting at others. It speaks to the power of hope, family, optimism, and perseverance. It examines the racism of the time through a prism that allows you to better see the racism of our time. This may well be one of the finest works of children's historical fiction ever produced. Adults would be remiss to bypass this one simply because of the reading level.

Do NOT skip the afterword either. Mr. Curtis expands on the social significance of the boxing match in addition to addressing his concerns about income inequality and poverty in this country. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Mar 18, 2020 |
Moving story of a young girl and her family in Gary, Indiana during the Great Depression. The protagonist, 12-year-old Deza Malone, is immensely intelligent - to the point that her teacher demands that Deza "put down" the thesaurus when composing school essays. Her teacher believes that Deza will grow up to do great things some day, but her mother and father are concerned that poverty will destroy the "spark" that is in her.

Deza's father is forced to leave in order to find work, but the family he's left behind is evicted from their home and decide to set out after him.

This book addresses a lot of themes for young readers to think about: Deza asks her parents about race-prejudice directed toward her family, specifically about what a White woman means when she says Deza is a "credit" to her race. Deza also embodies a current concern that children's literature needs to mirror the diversity that's in society; Deza candidly reflects on her experience reading about story heroines that don't look like her. Finally, the family's efforts to make a temporary home in an indigent workers' camp could find parallels with the contemporary issue of homeless encampments in communities. Altogether, a worthwhile book for the children's collection in a library.
  Cynthia_Parkhill | Jul 28, 2019 |
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In memory of three of my heroes:

my uncle,

George Taylor,

Tuskegee Airman, Congressional Gold Medal wineer.

Hero. 1914-2008.

My friend

Harrison Edward Patrick. Hero. 1949-2010.

And

my brother,

Herman David Curtis. Hero. 1957-2011.
DEDICATION

There is a small archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa whose name escapes me at the moment. The name isn't the important part; the important part is the group of people who have inhabited these islands for millenia and developed a unique and thriving culture. Unfortunately, I can't recall what these people are called either, but once again that not really important.

What is important is the language these kind, peaceful people have developed. Linguists have noted that unlike other languages, which have developed out of practical necessity, this language is based on the description of emotions. The one word in this language that I want to focus on is the word for a Pavlovian type of behavior found in humans in which one action inevitably cause the same reaction. That word is aharuf, and it is translated as meaning the process by which the sight or thought of a particular person, place or object triggers an instantaneous lowering of the gnar (a concept most like blood pressure), a sharp rise in the Qarlo (most closely related to our understanding of endorphins) and an unavoidable beaming grin like that of the upper-paradise squink (a horselike quadraped very similar to the common American jackass).

After a long journey, I have found me aharuf, two people whom I cannot think about without splitting my face in a joyous smile. No matter what is going on around me, all I have to do is bring them to mind and I'm transported to a better place. They are my wife, Habon, and my daughter Ayaan.

This book is dedicated to Habon and Ayaan in, as Miss Malone might say, internal, undying gratitude for bringing me joy and guaranteeing that at the end of each day my cheeks will be sore from far too much smiling.
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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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