The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone

eBook - 2012
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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

Publisher: 2012.
ISBN: 9780375897368
Branch Call Number: eBook overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

Instead of Pippi Longstocking

Deza is the brightest student in her class! But the Great Depression sends her father on the road to find work. Deza and her family leave in search of their father. The Mighty Miss Malone is tested as she faces prejudice and life in a Hooverville. Will the Malone family find each other and be who... Read More »

From the critics

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Feb 18, 2020

Amazing book!! Almost made me cry. A must read for ages 13 and up!!! :)

JCLHeatherM Jun 18, 2019

Deza Malone serves as the wise beyond her years protagonist in this coming of age story during the Great Depression. We first met the Malone family in Curtis' 'Bud Not Buddy', and now get a chance to revisit Deza, her brother Jimmy, and her mother and father, all of whom are trying to get by one day at a time when seems like all of the decks are stacked against them. The poignant afterword makes this book all the more relevant for contemporary audiences as readers are encouraged to take a hard look at how unequal the world still seems.

IndyPL_SteveB Mar 01, 2019

This is a companion novel to *Bud, not Buddy*, the Newbery Award-winning children’s novel about an African-American boy in the Great Depression, who runs away from a neglectful foster home in order to search for the man he thinks might be his father. At one point Bud lands in a squatter’s camp near Flint, Michigan and meets a strong-willed young girl who treats him kindly and helps him along his way. In this novel, Curtis takes up the story of that girl, 12-year-old Deza Malone.

Deza and her mother, along with her older brother Jimmie, who “sings like an angel,” live with her father in Gary, Indiana. When her father is injured on a fishing trip, he loses his job at the steel mill and goes off to Michigan to look for work. When he doesn’t come back or write, Deza’s family is kicked out of their rented home, and they have to learn how to ride the rails to go to Michigan to find him. Curtis shows the difficulties of poor African-American families in those times, with rampant racism making jobs and survival even harder to come by. But Deza has her family and her own intelligence and intense desire to succeed to give her an edge. It’s another fine piece of characterization and storytelling by one of our better writers.

CarleeMcDot Jan 28, 2019

I was driving to and from Phoenix by myself for the #RnRArizona Half Marathon and thought it'd be the perfect time for an audio book or two. When I was looking I saw this one was available, the story was centered around a family who lived in Gary, Indiana and Flint, MI, and it wasn't too long - so sign me up. I'll be honest, it's for younger readers (I think like 4-7 grade level), but hey, I love me some Young Adult books so I figured I'd give it a try. Even still, I really enjoyed it. It touched on prejudice, history, family dynamics, etc. I also appreciated that this was a book focusing on an African American family because I know how impactful it can be for kids to have books they see themselves in (and although this is set in the Great Depression timeframe there are still plenty of relevant topics). This may not be my normal read, but it kept me engaged and inspired on my drive to Arizona. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Mar 15, 2016

This was wonderful book. My class of grade 5 did it as a book report and I could find out about and understand the struggle of African Americans during the great depression and why they suffered a great quantity of it. I recommend this to everyone who comes across this book or wants to understand the struggle of this time period.

Feb 16, 2016

This is the best book I have ever read. Deza is so strong and brave it's amazing. I could not put this book down, and I would read it over and over again.

gailsolgos Jun 26, 2015

I love this book so much you should read it!!!!

SummerXu Sep 19, 2013

I loved this book. IT IS AWESOME!:)

Apr 29, 2013

It is a really good story and I love how Deza's problems are what really happened. It just sad what happens when they settled and they are having a really good time then something terrible happens. Things keep happening to the poor dad. But Deza is a strong girl and she can handle stuff like that. The ending is amazing.

Apr 24, 2013

I really loved this book because it incuraged me to never give up. I really thought that was a very important part of the book because the Malone family is doing everything they can to help one another even in tough times. This book kept me on my feet the whole way through!

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Add Age Suitability
Jun 29, 2016

aam04 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 05, 2014

PolarBeary thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 99

SummerXu Sep 19, 2013

SummerXu thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Apr 22, 2013

jrmccowan thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 11, 2013

orange_flamingo_34 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 99

Mar 06, 2013

booma10 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

blue_butterfly_2818 May 09, 2012

blue_butterfly_2818 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12


Add a Quote
Jul 07, 2016

This is a quote from the book:
"kisses....kisses....kisses make you stronger"

Jul 12, 2014

“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” love this book!!@!@@ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☻ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Apr 24, 2013

“This was real. I looked at mother and got even scarder. The man said in a hoarse voice. My darling daughter Deza, don’t you recognize your delightful dad? Something was different. Something about the way shadows showed in my room.”


“The smell was like a living animal, it clawed at your nostrils and rubbed against your legs like a overfriendly cat.”


Add a Summary
Apr 24, 2013

Living in the Great Depression times is hard for children. Deza, and her older brother Jimmie do not have much, but they make do with what they do have. In this heartfelt story told in the eyes of a little girl named Deza the story talks about determination, perseverance, and how just when you think life has given you all it could, something unexpected can come and bring you happiness.


If you were paying close attention to the book Bud Not Buddy then you might have caught a glimpse of a girl named Deza Malone when Bud stopped in a Hooverville for a while. Turns out that there’s more to her situation than meets the eye. A formidable student and smart gal, Deza spends much of her time defending her older (yet shorter) troublemaking brother Jimmie. But when their father has a horrible accident out on Lake Michigan everything changes for the worse. The man who returns to them seems like their dad but there’s something different about him. Before they know it he’s left town to find work, their landlord kicks them out of their home, and their mother is determined to go to Flint, Michigan to find Deza’s dad as well as some work of her own. Sometimes the biggest plans are the most difficult to carry out, though. And sometimes help comes from the most unexpected of places.


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