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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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4,1462281,209 (4.12)69
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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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Showing 1-5 of 228 (next | show all)
I had mixed feeligs about this book after reading it. I liked the book because it did a great job of describing each character and really making them come to life. The book also did a good job of explaining in simple terms what was going on during this time period. Even though the Watson's lived in Michigan, the author made aware what was going on in the South during this time period because that is where Mrs. Watson was born and raised. One of the reasons I had mixed feelings about this book is because I thought the book moved kind of slow throughout the entire book. I thought that the book was going to be more about the family being in Bermingham rather than just the last couple of chapters. The author also focused a lot on the family's road trip down to Bermingham. I believe the author could have spent more time with the family down in Bermingham because a lot of the story was about the civil war and how African Americans were treated in the South during this time. ( )
  kblanc2 | Feb 27, 2017 |
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked the character development of Kenny and his family, you learned a lot about each character and the family dynamic. I also enjoyed the language that was used; it reflected how the characters said the words instead of writing them in proper English. For example, when they start their journey down to Birmingham Kenny asks his dad why they have to have scheduled stops and can't just drive until he gets tired and his dad replies in a hillbilly accent saying “ ‘Cuz, boy, this he-uh is the deep South you-all is gonna be drivin’ thoo. Y’all colored folks ain’t be jes’ pullin’ up tuh any ol’ way-uh an be ‘spectin’ tuh get no room uh no food, yuh heah, boy?” this kind of language makes the book more authentic and makes the reader feel as if they are there. But I did not like this book because the first half and second half of the book do not seem to have any connection. The second half of the book focuses on serious matters and civil rights movement in Alabama but the first half is mostly character development in Michigan. The civil rights parts of the book did not seem to fit into the plot and then did not get brought up as much as I though it should have. I believe the big idea or message was about the civil rights movement and how it affected African American families and individuals. ( )
  awelch12 | Feb 27, 2017 |
I did not enjoy this book at all. There are several reasons I did not like this book. The first reason is the language that I author used in the book. I didn’t like how the author wrote the way the Watsons talked in the book. For example, on page 13 it says “Momma, quick! It`s By! He`s froze up outside!” I don’t like the way everyone in the book talked. It really annoyed me because it wasn’t always proper English. I can`t stand when someone talks slang. I understand if someone says ya`ll because it`s southern, but when they just talk slang it annoys me. Another reason I didn’t like the book was because of the plot structure. I felt as though the author wrote the plot structure in a bad manner. The book title is The Watsons Go to Birmingham but most of the book has nothing to really do with them going to Birmingham till toward the end. I thought the book would have had them leaving within a few chapters but it didn’t. it really annoyed me. Third, I`m not exactly sure what the meaning of the book is because it skips around I feel like, it goes from one thing happening in the book to a different thing. For example, on page 13 Byron had his lips were frozen to the mirror. Then on page 20 it talked about school. The chapters don’t really intertwine with each other. They all just have separate stories which don’t really connect with each other. In the first chapter, it talks about the children cleaning off ice of the windows and Byron getting his mouth stuck then in the next chapter it talks about them going to school. On the back of the book it gives a small synopsis of what the book is about. It talks about how the Watson family is going to Alabama toward one of the darkest moments in America`s history. Which was segregation. I didn’t see much in the book about segregation except for at the beginning when it talked about “colored bathrooms only” on page 5 and then the two white guys throwing a bomb in a church on page 184. I think the meaning of this book was that segregation was a hard time for blacks because they were always having to use separate bathrooms and that white folks didn’t like them. They were always being discriminated against. ( )
  kmassa3 | Feb 18, 2017 |
It is a book about a young black family, who lives in Michigan but their grandmother lives in Birmingham. So they go and visit her to learn about what life is like in the South. The older brother gets in trouble a lot, the younger brother gets bullied, and they have a younger sister but they are not very close. Throughout the trip they learn about what it is like in the south, and they become closer to each other as a family.
  BurgessMeredith | Feb 1, 2017 |
This is a great story that highlights the effects of segregation on the youth. I felt as if the first half of the story was completely different than the second half. The second half is what drove home the segregation factor during this time period. ( )
  NaomiJohnston | Nov 24, 2016 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:20 -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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