Librarian: Hannah Peacock, youth services librarian and assistant director, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester
Book: The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Age range: 9 and up
Peacock's summary: Life wasn't easy during the Great Depression, the era in which the newest historical novel from Newbery Medal-winning Christopher Paul Curtis takes place. The "Mighty Miss" of the title is 12-year-old Deza Malone, a star at her Gary, Indiana, school who possesses an indomitable spirit.
But Deza's family suffers several setbacks. When her father can't find a job, he leaves town to find work. Deza, her mother and her brother set out to find him after her mother loses her job, too. They wind up in a Michigan Hooverville.
The trials they endure — including homelessness and racial prejudice — illustrate the challenges many families faced during those lean years. Still, the Malones find a way to make it through, with "Darling Daughter Deza" leading the charge. Curtis has developed a wonderful, complex cast of characters sure to have you laughing, yelling in frustration and holding out for a happy ending.
Why you'll like it: This book stole my heart from the very first chapter. Deza is the sort of strong, kind and opinionated young protagonist who makes you want to share in her hardships and triumphs. It is a story full of the love and respect that keeps a family close.