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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by…
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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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3,5141751,451 (4.13)63
  1. 10
    Iron Thunder (I Witness) by Avi (jacqueline065)
    jacqueline065: I was reminded of the historical accout when I read this book. For Historical Fiction Lovers
  2. 00
    One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (foggidawn)
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There is a wonderful blend of humor and sensitivity in this historical fiction about the Watson family that takes place in the 1960's. The Watsons - Mama, Dad, Joetta, Kenny, and Byron - live in Flint, MI. The story is told from Kenny's perspective - a 10-year old boy. Byron, Kenny's older brother has been getting in trouble and the family decides they need to go to Birmingham to visit Mama's family. They are in Birmingham during the time of the protests and the church bombing that killed four young girls. This book has a wonderful blend of humorous stories and seriousness. Through it all the family bonds are strengthened and the family discovers first hand the impact of segregation and the reasons for the Civil Rights Movement.

This is a nice way to use historical fiction to introduce children to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. I like the fact that this portrayal of an African American family includes a father and mother who are both strong characters who clearly love their family. There is a realistic portrayal of all the ups and downs that families experience. This would be a great book to encourage students to read during their independent reading time especially during the study of US History. This is a great book to use as a launching point to further explore many elements of the Civil Rights movement or even the differences in the life styles of African American families between the Northern states (like MI) and the Southern states (like Alabama). ( )
  zsvandyk | May 25, 2015 |
This book discussed the difficult issue of racism. It is definitely an interesting way to bring up the topic of racism in the classroom. Even though the book itself covers an interesting topic, I felt as though the presentation was very boring and not engaging. Students would also need some background information to be able to fully understand the book. I really enjoyed the central message of family and how if you have your family by your side, you can overcome any challenge. Aside from that though, I was not impressed by the book. I have read better and more engaging novels covering the same topic.
  akern3 | May 18, 2015 |
Story about a family dealing with racism. ( )
  lbradf4 | May 14, 2015 |
I thought that this book by Christopher Paul Curtist was a very interesting read but very slow at times. It bothers me that the actual car ride did not happen until the last third of the book. I understand that there is a lot of things that need to happen before hand but it made it hard to read until about two thirds of the way through. This book is based on the life of a black family in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. The book is narrated by one of the young family members, Kenny. Curtis has humor in his book too. This makes a big difference, because it makes the book more interesting by making you laugh. When Byron got his lips stuck to the rearview mirror and Kenny said, "...Byron's lips stretched a mile before they finally let go of that mirror." One of the things we really enjoyed about this book was, that the author really expresses the character's characteristics. The theme of this story is based on the Civil Rights Movement and family. The characters in the book experience many different tragedies and conflicts such as, bombings during the Civil Rights Movement and problems with Byron and Kenny. The theme of this book really expresses the authors feelings on family and the Civil Rights Movement. Christopher Paul Curtis is a great author and uses many different "secrets" to make his writing as good as it is. First of all, he tells things like they are. There isn't any fantasy in this book and you can relate to the story. The Watsons are just like any family. They go through difficult times and good times. ( )
  cscapp1 | May 13, 2015 |
This book was very dull and did not engage me. The use of history throughout the novel was a great attribute; however, it really made the story dull. The action of the story did not occur until the end of the novel making it almost impossible to get through. The message of this novel is family and sticking together to get through tough times.
  achamb15 | May 13, 2015 |
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Epigraph
In memory of
Addie Mae Collins
Born 4/18/49, died 9/15/63
Denise McNair
Born 11/17/51, died 9/15/63
Carole Robertson
Born 4/24/49, died 9/15/63
Cynthia Wesley
Born 4/30/49, died 9/15/63
the toll for one day in one city
Dedication
This book is dedicated to my parents, Dr. Herman and Leslie Lewis Curtis, who have given their children both roots and wings and encouraged us to soar; my sister, Cydney Eleanor Curtis, who has been unfailingly supportive, kind and herself; and above all to my wife, Kaysandra Anne Sookram Curtis, who has provided a warmth and love that have allowed me to laugh, to grow and, most importantly, to dream.
First words
It was one of those super-duper-cold Saturdays.
Quotations
"Some of the time I wondered if something really was wrong with me. Byron had just told me that someone had dropped a bomb on Joey's church, hadn't he? If that was true why was I only thinking about how much trouble By was going to be in when they heard how loud he'd slammed the screen door, and asking myself why hadn't he put on his shoes? His socks wouldn't last two minutes on the Alabama mud."
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A family story, both comic and moving, touches on the frightening times of the early civil rights movement.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044022800X, Mass Market Paperback)

The year is 1963, and self-important Byron Watson is the bane of his younger brother Kenny's existence. Constantly in trouble for one thing or another, from straightening his hair into a "conk" to lighting fires to freezing his lips to the mirror of the new family car, Byron finally pushes his family too far. Before this "official juvenile delinquent" can cut school or steal change one more time, Momma and Dad finally make good on their threat to send him to the deep south to spend the summer with his tiny, strict grandmother. Soon the whole family is packed up, ready to make the drive from Flint, Michigan, straight into one of the most chilling moments in America's history: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside.

Christopher Paul Curtis's alternately hilarious and deeply moving novel, winner of the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor, blends the fictional account of an African American family with the factual events of the violent summer of 1963. Fourth grader Kenny is an innocent and sincere narrator; his ingenuousness lends authenticity to the story and invites readers of all ages into his world, even as it changes before his eyes. Curtis is also the acclaimed author of Bud, Not Buddy, winner of the Newbery Medal. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:37 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

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