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The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher…

The Watsons Go to Birmingham

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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3,8442181,343 (4.11)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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I would use this book in a sixth grade classroom that is learning about black history in social studies. I would have my students read this book as starter to kick off the lesson. ( )
  AmbraGoff | Apr 27, 2016 |
I believe that this book would be appropriate for an upper elementary classroom when learning about civil rights and the treatment of African Americans in American history. This book focuses on coming of age, family, society and class, and race which will help students understand the tone of the United States in the 1960s. This book is also told from a different perspective as the book focuses on segregation and the Civil Rights movement from the point of view of a young African American boy from the northern part of the United States. After reading this book, students can use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast what life was like for African Americans in Flint, Michigan versus Birmingham, Alabama.
  Emily.Clark | Apr 23, 2016 |
This chapter book was very well-written and exposed the characters and their emotions in depth. The author created a family that lived in Michigan and was untouched by the civil rights movement until the went to visit family in Birmingham, Alabama. Kenny, the main character, was a 12 year old boy who had a rebel older brother and a sensitive little sister. The first part of the story talks about their lives in Michigan before they went to visit Birmingham. I did not like how the author did not spend as much time as he should have on the family's time in Alabama. It rushed the most important part of the book, when Kenny saw people attack the colored church and throw a bomb in it. However, this was a great book to read to learn about the Civil Rights movement and how it affected several families. ( )
  mblodgett15 | Apr 18, 2016 |
In my opinion, this book could be better. The one things that was good about this book was the viewpoint that it was in. It was in the character Kenny's viewpoint which is the middle child of the Watson's family. He is typically picked on by his older brother and is very sensitive. It is nice to see how his feelings towards his family change throughout the story, and he becomes closer to his older brother and worried that he wasn't there for his younger sister. I also like the little symbolism in the book. For example, when Kenny gets a cookie and accidentally kills a bird off of a telephone wire with it and cried shows that he actually really does care about his actions. I don't like the plot of this story however. I think that story based too much in Michigan but it should have spent more time in Alabama, because that is where the main problems were. The author kind of skimmed over a lot of those issues though. The main idea of this story was about civil rights and the impact of violence on an African American family. ( )
  CSoude3 | Apr 17, 2016 |
"The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963" is a story of an African American family - the Watsons - traveling from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement. The story opens in Flint, where the family lives, and follows some of their happenings there. The backstory of where their family came from is laid, and the children, one of whom - Kenny - is our narrator, are a part of many school antics. Kenny is a target of a lot of bullying, and his older brother, Byron, causes a lot of trouble. It's because of his troublemaking that the family decides to take the trip, planning to leave Byron with his grandmother to learn some manners. But on their trip to Birmingham, the Watsons are faced with situations that they've never had to before. The book looks at segregation and the Civil Rights movement from the interesting perspective of an African American child from the Northern United States, a perspective rarely shown in literature and other media. This book would be a great piece to incorporate while teaching with critical literacy because of the new perspective it brings. It's also a great book to use with students because the narrator is a child, and that makes the story easier to connect with for a young reader. I would use this book when teaching about segregation, the Civil Rights movement, or any similar subject. ( )
  ShelbyEllis | Apr 15, 2016 |
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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.
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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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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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