The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
Christopher Paul Curtis
“The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” is a book about an African-American family that lives in Flint, Michigan. They lived and experienced that affects of the civil right movement. It did not have many big examples of what it was like for the African-American people of this time. There were more subtle examples of the persecution that the African-American people went through. Kenny is the main character in this book. Kenny is ten years old and is forced to grow up faster then any ten year old should have to. Kenny experienced his first real interaction with whites persecuting African-Americans while visiting his grandma down south in Birmingham, Alabama. Two white people put off two bombs in the African-American church that his little sister was attending that Sunday. Seeing that tragedy of the church forced Kenny to have to deal with the hard reality of life during the civil rights movement.
I personally believe that this book could be a good book to read during a civil right movement unit in a classroom. However, I do not think that it would be the best book to read to show examples of the hardships during the civil rights movement. It does not give a whole lot of facts about that time period in history. “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” was a great example of a family that stuck together through hardships and pain. - EM
- “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” starts with an introduction to each character and view of how the Watson families lives their lives.
- Kenny is the main character. He is 10 years old. He has a lazy eye that he gets embarrassed about and gets made fun of in school about.
- Byron, Kenny’s older brother, is the troublemaker and bully of the family.
- Joetta (or Joey), Kenny’s little sister, is dramatic and emotional.
- Kenny’s mom and dad are strict, and try their hardest to keep their kids safe and healthy.
- As the book starts, we start seeing the foreshadowing of Byron getting in big trouble. He plays with matches, and dyes his hear with is a disgrace to his family.
- Kenny is picked on at school because of his lazy eye and his advanced reading skills.
- Kenny’s mom is obsessed with Kenny and Joey’s health. So before she leaves in the morning to go to school she bundles them up to the point that they are both sweating by the time they get to school.
- Two new kids start coming to school and Kenny befriends them.
- Byron is a bully at school and gets in fights.
- Byron sticks up for his little brother when the other bully of school takes his gloves.
- Kenny’s parents decided to take a vacation to see their grandma in Alabama.
- While they are in Alabama, the plan is to have Byron stay with his grandma for the summer so that he can spend time away from his friends that are a bad influence on him.
- While in Alabama, some white guys burnt down an African-American church while Joey was inside.
- They all were worried because they did not think Joey got out.
- Kenny went in to find Joey but thought he saw her dead. Therefore, he left.
- It ended up that Joey was just fine. She had left the church right before the bombs went off.
- By the end of the book, Byron came around and helped Kenny deal with the tragedy that he saw when he went in the burning church building.