The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

A Novel

Book - 1997
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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.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press : Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1997, c1995
ISBN: 9780440414124
9780385321754
0385321759
0440414121
9780440228004
044022800X
9780786227419
0786227419
Characteristics: 210 p. ; 22 cm
Call Number: J CURTIS, C

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multcolib_susannel Apr 17, 2020

When his parents decide to take their family on a road trip to visit their Grandmother in 1963 Birmingham Alabama, Kenny doesn't know it will be the most important visit of his life.

v
violetjelaine
Mar 05, 2020

I like all of Christopher Paul Curtis' other books but this one not so much.... some swearing and mentions a few inappropriate things.... :( his other books are great though. This book is definitely an eighth grade and up book.

JCLHeatherM Feb 03, 2020

Kenny and his family (the 'Weird Watsons') do their best to stay afloat during the Civil Rights Movement, and young Kenny finds that true strength comes from within.

m
mjwiggins
Dec 22, 2018

An absolutely incredible performance (by LeVar Burton!!!!) of a deservedly beloved classic.

JCLAllisonD Jan 20, 2017

Couldn't get much better for a road trip than this gem read by LeVar Burton. The "weird Watsons" are definitely funny and believable. The material in this book does deal with one of the more horrific crimes during the Civil Rights Movement, so this is probably best for ages nine and up.

v
vita2748
Jun 20, 2016

Good story, but couldn't really get into it.

JCLBeckyC Feb 15, 2016

I came *this* close to giving up on this book after reading chapter five, which is way too violent for my taste. I'm so glad I didn't give up, though. This is a really good book that deserves our full attention, even though it's difficult sometimes. If you’re a wuss like me, maybe just skip chapter five?

m
muffinpopcorn
Oct 25, 2015

Excellent story, humorous and interesting. Incorporates the family going to Alabama to visit Grandma and being there during the bombings of churches . This is not a sad story but cute and funny yet with the seriousness of the racial tension. Recommend this book. Looking forward to watching the DVD.

LibrLdyMapleValley Jan 23, 2015

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 is the unforgettable first novel written by Christopher Paul Curtis. It is a Newbery Award Honor and Coretta Scott King Award Honor book which is quite a pile of kudos for a first novel. It's one of those books that will linger in your memory for years. It's funny, heartwarming and then in the final pages it is heart wrenching. With all this heavy duty honor and glory one might wonder if kids would appreciate the story and I can assure you they do. It's just one of those books that did everything exactly right.
What makes this book work are the characters. So let's meet the Watsons or, as the neighborhood people call them... the Weird Watsons. And they earned that name. There's our brilliant ten year old narrator Kenny who shares his insights on his family. There's Byron who "just turned 13 so he was officially a teenage juvenile delinquent..." These two create a lot of comic/tragic energy as the story progresses. Joetta is their baby sister and hapless witness to most of their disasters. Mom and Dad are quirky, creative, and often exasperated.
The chapter headings give you a good idea of what kind of trouble the boys tend to get into usually with Kenny as the victim. Chapter five for instance is "Nazi Parachutes Attack America and Get Shot Down over the Flint River by Captain Byron Watson and His Flamethrower of Death." It involves Byron, matches, a toilet and toy soldiers. Eventually Byron's juvenile delinquent ways force his parents to play hardball and he's taken to his Grandmother's house in Birmingham. That's when this family that we have fallen in love with gets wrapped up in one of the darkest events of the Civil Rights era. Because we are so firmly attached to the Watson's we walk into the events of 1963 and feel the intensity and pain just as they do. This sense of deep empathy is what makes this book stay firmly fixed in the minds of those who have read it. Read it and you will understand why Christopher Paul Curtis is one of the best authors writing for kids today.

r
red_penguin_987
Dec 18, 2014

This is a great book. There are not that many civil-rights related topics in it, but a bunch of wonderful short stories.

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orange_dog_5148
May 08, 2020

orange_dog_5148 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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violetjelaine
Mar 06, 2020

violetjelaine thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99

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thevales
Apr 14, 2018

thevales thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

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red_hawk_1161
Jan 19, 2018

red_hawk_1161 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 41

blue_alligator_8813 thinks this title is suitable for 6 years and over

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black_porcupine_26
Mar 13, 2016

black_porcupine_26 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 10

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red_lion_1694
Apr 26, 2015

red_lion_1694 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 62 and 8

red_elephant_652 Aug 08, 2014

red_elephant_652 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12

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bahadurs
Apr 23, 2014

bahadurs thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Red_Ladybug_109 Jun 28, 2013

Red_Ladybug_109 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

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lms May 01, 2008

"Kenny's family is known in Flint, Michigan, as the Watsons, for lots of good reasons. Younger sister Joetta has been led to believe she has to be overdressed in the winter because Southern folks (their mother is from Alabama) freeze solid and have to be picked up by the city garbage trucks. Kenny, the narrator, does well in school and tries to meet his hardworking parents' expectations. Since the story is set in 1963, the family must make careful preparations for their trip, for they count on food or housing being available on the road once they cross into the South. the slow suspence of life has a beneficial effect on all of the children until the fateful day when a local church is bombed and Kenny runs in to look for his sister." (Novelist Review)

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mariednguyen Sep 23, 2013

Other: Release date September 20, 2013 (USA)

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kyle64star Jul 25, 2012

then suddenly i cound see that there was someone else in the water and wool pooh was pulling me right toward them.

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