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M.C. Higgins, the Great

M.C. Higgins, the Great

by Virginia Hamilton

Winner of a Newbery Medal, a National Book Award, named an ALA Notable Book, designated as a School Library Journal Best of the Best, and named one of the New York Times Outstanding Children's Books of the Year, this intense, complex, young adult novel has dazzled readers for over 20 years.

Written by celebrated author Virginia Hamilton, this is the story of M.C. Higgins, a young boy who lives with his family near Sarah's Mountain, who must come to terms with who he is and what he wants in life. When M.C.'s great-grandmother escaped from slavery long ago, she came to the mountain and made it her home. And now, it's M.C.'s home, but not for long. As Mayo Cornelius Higgins sits on his gleaming, forty-foot steel pole, towering over his home on Sarah's Mountain, he sees, stretched before him, rolling hills and shady valleys. But behind him lie the wounds of strip mining, including a mountain of rubble that may one day fall and bury his home.

M.C. dreams of escape for himself and his family. And, one day, atop his pole, he thinks he sees it — two strangers are making their way toward Sarah's Mountain. One has the ability to make M.C.'s mother famous. And the other has the kind of freedom that M.C. has never even dreamed of. When the two mysterious strangers appear, M.C. finally learns how to save himself and his family.

The author has created characters, powerful and poignant, and the story they share is sure to leave an indelible mark on any reader's mind. Hamilton's descriptions of family relationships and loyalties are outstanding, as well. Though it is not an easy read, because it deals with painful issues and explores them all deeply and powerfully, this absorbing read will leave readers in awe.

11, 12, 13
Interest Level
Grades 6 - 8
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Book Type
Chapter Book
Number of Pages
Realistic Fiction

About the Author

Contributor Image Alt Tag Virginia Hamilton Virginia Hamilton received the 1992 Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the most prestigious international award in children's literature. She also won the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards, an Edgar Allan Poe Award, and was the first children's author to receive a MacArthur Foundation "a genius" grant in 1995.

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