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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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3,4711621,533 (4.13)63
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    Iron Thunder (I Witness) by Avi (jacqueline065)
    jacqueline065: I was reminded of the historical accout when I read this book. For Historical Fiction Lovers
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    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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This was a great novel for children to read to help them understand about the 1960s. The book talks about a middle class black family and shows the adventures of their every day lives. I liked the characters and felt that they were relatable. I think that this book is also great because it gives students a different perspective and teaches them about history if they may not have previously learned about segregation. I also liked the book because the length of the chapters were perfect, they were not too short but also not too long. Overall I would recommend this book. ( )
  sfinke5 | Apr 23, 2015 |
Living in the north for an African-American boy in the 1960s was very different from living in the south during that time. "The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963" is a book that tells the story of just that. If you've ever wondered how living in someone like this' shoes, this is the book for you!
Christopher Paul Curtis tells the story of the "Weird Watsons," the title that Kenny has given to his family. He thinks his family is weird, but doesn't every kid? his family has a whole cast of interesting characters, his brother Byron, who is high and mighty, stuck-up, and the school's biggest bully, Joey, Kenny's little sister who loves him no matter what, his "real Southern" mother, who dresses him up too warmly for each day at school, and his father, who loves his car and loves to play the records for his family. The opposite of Byron, Kenny is shy, defenseless, and gets bullied a lot. Byron always comes to his rescue.
When Kenny's parents decide to send Byron to the south to "straighten him out," and live with his grandmother for the summer, the whole family drives the car down. One fateful morning when they are there, a bombing occurs at the church where Joey was supposedly at, and the family is sent into a frenzy. Only Kenny is brave enough to enter the church to see if he could find Joey, but to his shock, he sees something far worse: girls who have been killed by the blast. He runs away from the scene, and goes into hiding for months, until someone unexpected enters and helps him out of the rut.
This is a wonderfully humorous, saddening, and all-around heart-felt book. Ride along Kenny and his family as they travel south, and cry along with Kenny's parents as they deal with hard things. Anyone with an interest in the Civil Rights Movement period in history should read it. ( )
  athena.j | Apr 20, 2015 |
This Realistic Fiction Multicultural story follows the Watson family through their every day lives. It introduces Dad and Mom Watson, Byron, Kenny, and Joetta in their home in Flint, Michigan. Kenny is the narrator of this story and he tells us everything that is happening at home and at school. It starts off when all of the kids are in elementary school at Clark Elementary. Byron who is the oldest, is the King of Clark. He is the main bully of the story, and everything that Kenny tells us about Byron is mostly just Byron getting into trouble. Kenny, the middle child, has trouble fitting in at school until a new kid, Rufus, moves in down the street. Joetta is the youngest and she keeps the family together and sane. Halfway through the book, Byron gets himself into trouble that he can't back out of, and his parents decide to send him to his Grandma that lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Here, the family stays for the summer hoping that Byron will learn his lesson, and he does. He changes for the better and actually becomes nice! Towards the end of the stay in Birmingham, Joetta decides to go to church with some of the neighbors. The same day, a bomb is set off in the church. The family can't find Joetta, so they all think that she died in the bomb. However, she shows up later that day with no recollection of what happened. The story ends with the Watson's driving back to Flint where Byron and Kenny rekindle their brotherly love and the family is whole once again. ( )
  amassingale | Apr 20, 2015 |
I like this book for a few reasons. To begin, I like this book because of the big idea. This book is told from the perspective of a young African American growing up during the 1960's. He explains what life is like. The big idea is for the reader to become informed with how bad the Civil Rights Movement really became. I like this book because the characters are well-developed and some mysterious. Take for example Byron. He is a character who thinks he is the best and perfect human on Earth. When it comes to saving his brother's life, he has no problem showing his emotion. The change in character was interesting to see in Byron, the reader never really knew what to expect from him. As stated before, the point of view was wonderful for this story. By having it from the perspective of a young boy, the reader is not exposed to too much information about what is happening, but understanding it how someone at age 11 would understand the Movement. In the end of the book when Kenny goes into the church he feels surreal as an 11 year old should when seeing what he saw. The plot of the story is suspenseful. In the end of the story it became very intense when "whool pool" was introduced and when the situation happened at Joey's Sunday School in church. These events started to give the reader the idea of what was happening at this time. I wish there was a little bit more of information on the time period and what was going on rather than just the one event in the church to represent what was going on with the movement. Otherwise, this is an absolutely excellent novel with some great humor. ( )
  ndange1 | Apr 19, 2015 |
I really enjoyed The Watsons Go To Birmingham. I thought that it was a interesting idea to have the 1960's seen from a child's perspective. I think it is a great book about growing up in a racist world along with incorporating historic events; such as the church bombings in Birmingham. I thought that the main character was very hard on himself when he thought he lost his sister in the attacks and then the whirlpool. This book offers a different perspective of a historical time for young children who are beginning to learn about segregation. Students will enjoy reading this book and appreciate the kindness of the main character Kenny. ( )
  kabdo1 | Apr 19, 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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Book description
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)

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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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