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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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5,7823801,310 (4.13)80
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.
  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)
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    The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (foggidawn)

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» See also 80 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 299 (next | show all)
This book would be best read by middle students. It is a longer novel with some concepts that would be easier to understand when you get older. There are a lot of character throughout this novel that all play very key roles. The book is filled with a family experiencing problems around the time of the Civil Rights Movement, and although our students will not be able to relate to that, they can still relate to having family troubles and learning to move part them. This book will provide our students a window into someone else's struggles. They can learn how to grow from hard times. ( )
  MirandaFox | Apr 18, 2021 |
This book opens up on the Watson family. Kenny struggles with his older brother teasing and ganging up on him. The family chooses to go to Birmingham since the oldest boy, is having trouble with his attitude. The grandmother lives in Birmingham, and the family thinks this is the best choice since she is stricter and may have a better approach to strengthening her attitude. While in Birmingham, the Watson's experience racism more than they ever have. During the story, there is a time where the oldest brother saves Kenny's life, and leads to an emotional time. When Kenny is almost in a similar situation, he regrets not saving his younger sister and has a hard time.
This book is great for middle schoolers. I think it opens the persecutive or racism and introduces it well. It is a tough thing to talk about, but this book does a good job of having a deep conversation of racism.
  kharrison19 | Apr 9, 2021 |
5th-6th grade. A fourth grade African American boy from Michigan named Kenny deals with his mean older brother and trying to make friends. Since his brother is a delinquent, their family goes down to Alabama so that the Grandma can try to straighten him out. I thought this was a great coming of age story and towards the end really dealt with some hard topics like racism and would be a good way to help students understand the topic and how it really affects people.
  MadisonFissell | Apr 5, 2021 |
This book would be good for intermediate and middle schoolers. I think that ideally 5th or 6th would be a good age group for this book.

This book is about a boy named Kenny and his family. They go to Birmingham to get out of town because Kenny's older brother got in some trouble. There is something that happens there that changes their life and makes Kenny realize what the world is actually like.

This is a great book, it deals with some big issues and would be great for an older group of students to read. ( )
  julia.rexine | Mar 22, 2021 |
This book would be a good fit for intermediate grades. The author does a great job of bringing loads of humor to this story as well as feeling of deep and serious fear and sadness. This story is about a family trip to Birmingham, a brother who can't seem to stay out of trouble, and a near death church incident (that leads to the narrator of the story facing some serious feelings of guilt for not trying to save his sister from the "Wool Pooh.") This story gives readers a good glimpse of what life may have looked like for an African American family in the 60's. This would be a good book for units on family dynamics/sibling relationships or when learning about culture in the northern vs. Southern United States.

Disclaimer: There is discussion of bullying, racism, hate crimes, and death. (for those who may be sensitive towards these topics) ( )
  dmckibbon | Mar 8, 2021 |
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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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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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A family story, both comic and moving, touches on the frightening times of the early civil rights movement.
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