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kvela

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The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone - Christopher Paul Curtis

As I began to read the book I was expecting to find details of the time period, but it was not too apparent at first.  I was expecting to read on the difficulties of the Great Depression, and accounts of Deza and Bud’s (from Bud, Not Buddy) encounter in Hooverville.  Instead I was pleasantly surprised with a story about a young girl who admired her family, was a great storyteller, and enthusiastic student.  Details of the hardships were slowly and cleverly woven into Deza’s lighthearted account of life, for instance Deza’s shoes (p. 62), her father’s work situation (p. 81), and the “buggy oatmeal” (p. 96).  Through Deza’s narration, Curtis was able to adequately portray the lifestyle and hardships endured by Americans, specifically African Americans during the Great Depression.  The characters were well developed and relatable.  Deza could practically be any twelve year old girl I know, coming up with secret friendship signs (“We looked across the room at each other and smiled… It’s secret sign language for our motto I thought up: Two girls, one heart.”) (p.47) and feeling heartbroken when she had to say goodbye to her best friend (p.200).  As a reader I was heartbroken when the Malone’s were tragically separated.  I hoped and cheered for a reunion and happy ending to this wonderful story.  As I teacher, knowing how much my students enjoyed Bud, Not Buddy, I can see how this book can be appealing to both boys and girls. I have seen how they make connections across text and have also received comments from their history teacher.  I like that students are able to learn history and connect to the feelings and experiences of the characters.