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M.C. Higgins the Great

M.C. Higgins the Great

Illustrated by: John Jude Palencar
For Ages: 8 - 12
  • 1award
  • common core
M.C.'s family is rooted to the slopes of Sarah's Mountain. His great-grandmother escaped to the mountain as a runaway slave and made it her home. It bears her name, and her descendants have lived there ever since.
When M.C. looks out from atop the gleaming forty-foot pole that his father planted in the mountain for him -- a gift for swimming the Ohio River -- he sees only the rolling hills and shady valleys that stretch out for miles in front of him.
And M.C. knows why his father never wants his family to leave.
But when M.C. looks behind, he sees only the massive remains of strip mining -- a gigantic heap of dirt and debris perched threateningly on a cliff above his home.
And M.C. knows they cannot stay.
So when two strangers arrive in the hills, one bringing the promise of fame in the world beyond the mountains and the other the revelation that choice and action both lie within his grasp, M.C.'s life is changed -- forever.
In 1974, Virginia Hamilton dazzled the world with her powerful account of a young man's coming of age trapped between heritage of his mountain home and his desires for the future. Twenty-five years later, M.C. Higgins, the Great remains the only novel ever to win the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award.
It is truly an American classic.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689830747 | 
  • September 1999 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
List Price $23.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Mayo Cornelius Higgins raised his arms high to the sky and spread them wide. He glanced furtively around. It was all right. There was no one to see his greeting to the coming sunrise. But the motion of his arms caused a flutter of lettuce leaves he had bound to his wrists with rubber bands. Like bracelets of green feathers, the leaves commenced to wave.

M.C., as he was called, felt warm, moist air surround him. Humidity trapped in the hills clung to the mountainside as the night passed on. In seconds, his skin grew clammy. But he paid no attention to the oppressive heat with its odors of summer growth and decay. For he was... see more

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