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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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3,3551441,619 (4.15)60
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    jacqueline065: I was reminded of the historical accout when I read this book. For Historical Fiction Lovers
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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
Bryan O'Keeffe

This book was completely different than anything I have really read before. I am not used to reading books about a black family during the civil rights era. I was very excited to start reading this book. This book was a chapter book an had no illustrations however I felt that if there were some the story would have been a little easier to read and even picture in my mind. I felt that the story was not as descriptive as it should have been and was very vague. The only descriptive part of the book was when the church was bombed. I was able to imagine that scene very clearly. I did feel however that the Watson family was extremely believable. Every family is weird in some sort of way and has their own little things. Kenny, Joetta and Byron seemed like a normal set of kids where one happens to be the kid who gets into a lot of trouble. I felt that the plot of the story seemed to plateau for a while. Byron was getting in trouble in Michigan, but I felt that the family should have gone to Alabama sooner the story may have been a little better. I did enjoy the theme of friendship in this book, I think every young reader should read this book. ( )
  bokeef2 | Nov 18, 2014 |
in my opinion this book was just ok. There were parts I enjoyed and found myself smiling because I could relate to that experience. I think the book would be great to use when talking about civil rights. The writing was simple and easy to follow. The characters were believable and made me think I could actually know someone like some of the characters. The story was written in first person with Kenny as the narrator. The book forces readers to think about issues that they may or may not face in this day. It will broaden their perspectives because it focuses on racism and civil rights. The plot was organized and each chapter flowed right into the next. ( )
  ssmith93 | Nov 12, 2014 |
Summary:
This Newberry Chapter books starts off in Flint Michigan and goes on to tell the story of the Watson's trip to Birmingham, Alabama to visit their grandma, mainly so that the thirteen year old Byron can stay with grandma and get him on the right track. The story is told by Kenny Watson a ten year old and the middle child. The story takes place in 1963. As the Watson's journey sown to Birmingham they realize the South is not at all like the North. The story provides some comedy while trying to talk about a difficult and unfortunate topic.

Personal Reactions:
I really liked this book because I thought it provided a very visual insight into what African American families unfortunately had to face during that time period. I liked that it was told from a childs standpoint.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I think this would provide a great lesson when talking about civil rights and how far the world has come since those times.
2. It would also provide a good lesson if there is any bullying in the classroom to show others that treating people the way you want to be treated is important because we want to learn from the past and not recreate it.
  AlexCCrupper | Nov 10, 2014 |
This was an excellent book that did a fantastic job depicting America during the civil rights era. My favorite thing about the book is that it was narrated by Kenny, an 10 year old boy. Because of this, there were a lot of whimsical moments that portrayed the innocence of children. One thing that specifically comes to mind was when Byron tells Kenny about the “Wool Pooh,” a monster that lives in the water. Of course, Kenny naively believes him. This reminds me a lot of my relationship with my sister growing up. The best thing about the book being narrated by a 10 year old, however, is the perspective it gives about a child’s view of the civil rights era. It reminds us that even in the civil rights era, 10 year olds were just that- 10 year olds. No matter what race a child was, or whether they were oppressed by society, they still had the innocent mindset to believe their brothers’ stories about monsters. We can all take a page out of the book of children’s viewpoints on the world, and I think that is the main message that the book was trying to get across. ( )
  lmcswe1 | Nov 5, 2014 |
The Watsons Go To Birmingham is a great book covering many of the issues African Americans were going through in the 60's. This is a hilarious, heart-warming and at times thought-provoking book great for all readers 5th grade and up.
  alexandraee | Sep 9, 2014 |
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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)

(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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