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The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
Stock image - cover art may vary
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 044022800X
ISBN-13: 9780440228004
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Release Date: December, 2000
Length: 224 Pages
Weight: 4 ounces
Dimensions: 6.8 X 4.1 X 0.7 inches
Language: English

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

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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 "off...
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Customer Reviews

  I couldn't stop laughing!

This was a great book about racial injustice and family. Although it was set in the '60's,the story felt just as real as if it were occuring right now. It was very funny,especially when Byron got in trouble for staging WWII battles in the bathroom and got his lips stuck to the car mirror. When I read the book in reading period,I often began having laugh attacks and had to cover them with fake coughing spells. I understood Kenny's depression after the bombing. However,the Wool Pooh scenes were vague. Who was he really? What about Kenny's vision? Overall,though,this was a wonderful,entertaining book. It conveyed the message of racial tolerance without preachiness and showed how alike we all are inside.
  The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963

The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963 is an awesome book. The story is told by the eyes of a boy named Kenneth Watson. He and his family, Byron, Joetta, mom and dad live in freezing Flint. They decide to go to Birmingham because of Byron's behavior. Byron was pretending to make a movie called Nazi Parachutes Attack America and Get Shot Down over the Flint River by Captain Byron Watson and his Flame-thrower of Death. He made a lot of toilet paper parachutes and would light them with matches and then drop them into the toilet and hear the go whoosh when it hit the water. The main setting in this book is in Birmingham and in the Watson's house. While at Birmingham the kids learned a lot about the cruel world back then. One of the things that they learned was that some and most whites hate black and will do anything to stop them from getting a good education. Even blow them up if that is a choice. Which it was a choice during the Civil Rights movement. One day when Joey was going to Sunday school, she got there and decided not to go since it was so hot. A couple of minutes later a group of white men drove by and threw a bomb into the church and injured and killed many little kids. This book was an awesome book and I recommend this book to everyone young to old. I feel that it would be a great thing for people to read it was funny, sad, and happy and almost every emotion you could think of. I hope you get something out of this review and enjoy this book as much as I did.
  The Watsons Go To Birmingham- 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham -1963 By:Christopher PaulCurtis

If you're looking for a great book that you never want toput down, The Watsons Go to Birmingham is perfect. It is written by Christopher Paul Curtis. It's full of adventure, comedy, and tragedy. This book is based on the life of a black family in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. The book is narrated by one of the young family members, Kenny.

The family goes through many problems with Kenny's big brother Byron. Byron thinks he's so cool and thinks he can do whatever he wants including dying his hair, play with matches, and he does other stuff like kissing himself in the mirror. Kenny also has a mom who is very strict and a dad who is always positive. One more family member is Joetta. She is Kenny's younger sister and is very caring.One of the things we really enjoyed about this book was, that the author really expresses the character's characteristics.

The theme of this story is based on the Civil Rights Movement and family. The book goes through problems in both of these categories. Such as, bombings during the Civil Rights Movement, problems with Byron and Kenny, and so many more usual, and some unusual, problems. Many of the Watson family members change during the story. An example of this is, Byron changed from a disobedient child, to a mature, young man full of respect. The theme of this book really expresses the authors feelings on family and the Civil Rights Movement. Christopher Paul Curtis is a great author and uses many different "secrets" to make his writing as good as it is. First of all, he tells things like they are. There isn't any fantasy in this book and you can relate to the story. The Watsons are just like any family. They go through difficult times and good times. Curtis also does a good job of describing the things that are happening. For example, he told in detail what happened after the church was bombed and what Kenny saw while he was in the church. Curtis has humor in his book too. This makes a big difference, because it makes the book more interesting by making you laugh. Sometimes he uses humor to describe. Like when Byron got his lips stuck to the rearview mirror and Kenny said, "...Byron's lips stretched a mile before they finally let go of that mirror." One thing that we didn't care for about the book was that he didn't use any cliffhangers. We think that that is wanted in a good book, but otherwise it's a great book. We think Christopher Paul Curtis's life really relates to the book. Christopher Paul Curtis was born in the same place that the book took place, Flint, Michigan. He began working on the book The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 when he was in high school. He attended the University of Michigan, where he won the Avery Hopwood Prize for major essays and the Jules Hopwood Prize for an early draft of The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Curtis has won a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for this book and it was named a Best Book of 1995. Christopher Paul Curtis currently lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada with his wife Kaysandra, and children Steven Darrel, 18 and Cydney McKenzie, who's four. Can't you see how Christopher Paul Curtis's life really reflects on this book?

The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a great book that is worth the reading. We would rate this book an eight on a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest. We would rate it this because, the author has well-developed characters, great describing and really expresses his feelings about family and the Civil Rights Movement You learn many things from this book about appreciating your family and will learn that you never know what you've got until it's gone.

  A Great Tribute to Those Four Little Girls

This book was a great tribute to the four littl girls thatt were killed in the bombing in Birmingham, 1963. I was a little confused as to how Joetta (Kenny's, or the main character's) little sister escaped from the bomb. I was also confused by the "Wool Pooh", but my curiosity to comprehend kept me involved in the book. I loved this book, and in fact, a friend and I are recommending it in our school newspaper for the people of the world. I loved the book! I think that there should be a sequel. Keep writing, Christopher Paul Curtis! And I'll keep reading!
  1963 encapsulated

Much like Curtis's other hit, "Bud, Not Buddy", "The Watsons" explores the everyday life of African Americans in Flint, Michigan. Also like "Bud", the book has probably garnered some criticism for its portrayal, or lack thereof, of active racism. No character in this book ever confronts an actual racist personally. Though the boys attend public school, there isn't even the slightest indication that Flint was any different then than it is today in terms of racial strife. The family does stop briefly in Appalachia, fearing unseen racists in the woods about them, but that's the closest any plot point comes to it. Just the same, the action in these stories is concerned primarily with the interactions between family members, and I am reluctant to criticize Curtis's choice of dramatic tensions. This is a story I've never seen told in a children's novel, let alone told so well. The character of By is more than just a two-dimensional bully, and the stories are downright fascinating in a couple instances. Finally, I appreciated that the narrator is affected realistically in reaction to the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. His nervous breakdown is done with dignity. I've only a small qualm with the unexplained event of the boy's sister claiming he drew her out of the church before the bombing. What does this mean? It's left unclear, though By makes it perfectly obvious that no supernatural occurrence has taken place. This book would either pair well with other stories taking place in 1963, "Through My Eyes", being only one example. It would also pair well with some sort of a buddy story like the "Soup" books. Or it would go well with "Stories Julian Tells", as a series of tales that take place between brothers. Reading this book aloud would also work very well. Because of its humor, it's a wonderful story.