Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book talk: The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (Newbery contender)

[Show cover.] Like all of us, Deza Malone was born with advantages and setbacks. I’m going to get the bad stuff out of the way first, so here it is:

Deza and her family are living during the Great Depression, a time in the United States when many people were poor, many children went hungry, and many men and women could not find jobs.
Deza’s family is especially poor and cannot afford medical care. Although Deza is basically healthy, her teeth are rotting are she is often in pain because of this. She’s only 12, and that shouldn’t be happening to someone that young. Deza overhears her father privately talking about how upset he is over her teeth and how frustrated he is that he can’t do anything about them.
Racism is still alive and well during the Great Depression, and many whites still look down on African-Africans. Deza and her family have experienced racism and prejudice first hand.

Okay, I got some of the bad stuff out of the way. Now for the cool stuff about Deza.

Deza is an awesome friend and sister. She’s funny, loyal, and kind. She and her best friend, Clarice, look out for each other. They have a secret sign that means, “two girls, one heart.”
Deza is super smart and never brags or has an attitude about it. She’s a great reader and a brilliant writer. The only time she got a low grade on an essay was when she had a teacher who didn’t believe in giving good grades to African-Americans. Ever.
Deza is tough (she can hold her own in a fist fight) and surprisingly sneaky (in a good way). I can’t tell you what she did that was sneaky, but it really took me by surprise, and that’s part of the reason her father calls her The Mighty Miss Malone.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. 2012: Wendy Lamb Books. 307 pages. Booktalk to intermediate grades and middle school. Newbery 2013 contender.

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