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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by…

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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3,5731811,479 (4.13)65
  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)
  3. 00
    The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (foggidawn)

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This is a great read for the 5th/6th grade crowd. Boys especially will find the brothers in the story amusing. The plot centers around two African-American brothers growing up in Michigan during the civil rights movement. Living in Michigan, they are largely unaware of the racial upheaval going on in the south, until their family takes a trip to Alabama to visit their grandmother. The story is told from the point of view of the younger brother who is constantly harassed by his rebellious older brother. The older brother steals the show with his rebellious language and antics. ( )
  valorrmac | Aug 19, 2015 |
The Watsons are adorable and lifelike, and the historical fiction aspect of it is so minor that it's barely there at all. I loved seeing the "juvenile delinquent" characterized so realistically; I think middle-school-aged young adults would benefit from seeing the many facets of a personality like Byron's.

There were a few boring parts, where the author really went overboard with the dad's characterization as overdramatic (while the kids were telling him to shut up, I was having the same response to the author), and some major plot glitches at the end, but the interesting and amusing parts certainly outweigh these drawbacks.

Overall, I chuckled and enjoyed all of the characters who were not in any way the moral role models of so much award-winning young adult fiction, and this novel appears to have no obvious agenda, which I appreciate. What one does gain from it is a new human relationship behind a news story and an intimate look into a black family which can break down assumptions that the color of one's skin (or their behavior) can help one make a load of assumptions about that person's home life.

The racism theme is not directly or substantially addressed. Major themes include coming of age, bullying, sibling rivalry, and family ties in general.

( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Novel set in the 60's. Excellent multicultural story. Recommended with our new curriculum, summer reading and 5th grade novel studies.
  cswetland | Jul 31, 2015 |
Newbery Honor (1996), Jane Addams Children's Book Award Nominee for Older Children (1996), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee (1998), Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (1996), New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award for Young Adult (2000)
Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Award (1995) ( )
  Liz_Haggerty | Jul 22, 2015 |
Civil Rights movements
4 little girls
5th grade and up
  josephla | Jul 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
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Important places
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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
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.
"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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