The Mighty Miss Malone” by Christopher Paul Curtis. Ages 9-12. $15.99.

The mighty Miss Malone of the title is 12-year-old Deza Malone, who was a character in Christopher Paul Curtis’s very popular novel “Bud, Not Buddy.” Deza is the smartest girl in her class, and she dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher. But she is living during the Great Depression, a time when economic troubles meant that many people didn’t have jobs. Deza’s father moves from Indiana to Michigan in search of work, and her brother Jimmy goes to Chicago to find work as a singer. But what Deza and her mother want more than anything else is to have their family back together.

This is the first book by award-winning author Curtis to have a girl as the main character; her spunky attitude and great sense of humor make Deza appealing to girls and boys. The family motto is “We are on a journey to a place called Wonderful.” At times, it seems to Deza that their trip is anything but wonderful, but readers are very likely to enjoy this history-filled and wonderful journey.

— Tracy Grant