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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 4-6:

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone tells the story of a smart and feisty twelve-year-old named Deza Malone, and her family’s resilient journey through the tough times and challenges of the Great Depression. We chose this novel for its thoughtful attention to some powerful social and emotional themes: poverty, racism, family, perseverance, and hope. Despite the book’s setting in Depression-era America, the novel is deeply relevant for young readers today; this curriculum will help students build connections between Deza’s inspiring life story and their own.


The Mighty Miss Malone tells the story of twelve-year-old Deza Malone, an African American girl living in deep poverty during the Depression Era. Despite the challenges her family faces during a difficult time in US history, Deza is a happy and driven young woman: she loves to read, is inspired to do well in school, and has a close and loving family. But it’s a tough time, particularly for black men like Deza’s father, who is desperate for work. Hungry for opportunities to support his family, he leaves their home in Gary, Indiana to look for employment. The rest of the Malones leave shortly thereafter, on the hunt for their own opportunities. While separated, they each experience true hardships, but with a positive attitude and a belief that they will reunite in the end, Deza finds her way back to a place of happiness with her family.

Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Fifteen individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 96
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”



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