M. C. Higgins, the Great

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M. C. Higgins, the Great
Higgins cover-jpg.jpg
Cover of 25th anniversary edition
AuthorVirginia Hamilton
Cover artistLeo and Diane Dillon
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover & paperback)
Pages278 pp
LC ClassPZ7.H1828 Mac

M. C. Higgins, the Great, first published in 1974, is a realistic novel by Virginia Hamilton that won the 1975 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature.[1] It also won the National Book Award in category Children's Books[2] and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; it was the first book to do so, and only one other book has done so since (Holes, by Louis Sachar).

M.C. Higgins is a bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel) that covers three eventful days in the life of teenager Mayo Cornelius Higgins. It is set in the Appalachian Mountains on Sarah's Mountain, a fictional mountain in Kentucky, near the Ohio River, that is being encroached upon by a mining company. The book highlights the strange, almost surreal customs of the hill people, including their traditions of song and superstition. At its core is the reconciliation M.C. must make between tradition and change.

Translations and adaptations[edit]

The book has been translated into many languages, including Japanese and German, and was made into a movie in 1986.[3]


  1. ^ Hamilton, Virginia (1974). M.C. Higgins, the Great.
  2. ^ "National Book Awards – 1975". National Book Foundation. 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Virginia (Director), undefinedRandom House Video (Director), Inc Newbery Award Records (Director) (1986). M.C. Higgins, the great. Westminster, Md.: Random House Video. ISBN 978-0-676-27632-9.
Preceded by
The Slave Dancer
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
The Grey King