“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, who will go far in life according to her teachers. But it’s 1936 and the Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men like Mr. Malone. When her beloved father loses his job, he has to travel to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother, Jimmie, go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp in hopes of becoming a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will catch up with Father. The twists and turns of the family’s story, told from Deza’s point of view, reveal the devastation of the Depression, and the title heroine proves that a combination of intelligence, kindness, and grit can get you through even the worst of times.
This is one of the books students read in Hewitt’s Lightning Literature and Composition program for Grades 5. It can be purchased separately or in a pack (see Related Items below).