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Book Title: The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963|
Date of issue: September 1st 1995
ISBN 13: 9780385321754
The author of the book: Christopher Paul Curtis
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 652 KB
Edition: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Read full description of the books The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963:Christopher Paul Curtis wanted to be a writer but had yet to get a break. Working on a mechanic line in a Flint, Michigan automotive factory, he penned three historical fiction novels for middle grade children. In 1995 his first novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 was published, and lead Curtis out of the automobile industry and into the forefront of children's literature. The winner of both the Newberry and Coretta Scott King as well as other awards, The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 is a quality autobiographical and historical fiction novel.
The Watson family is your ordinary African American family living in Flint, Michigan. Daniel works hard to provide for his wife Wilona and their three children Byron, Kenneth, and Joetta. Even if they do not always have enough for luxuries, the family has a roof over their head and is able to get by. Wilona comes from Birmingham, Alabama and never quite gets used to the north, even though it is a safer place to raise her family than in the south. As a teenager, Byron engages in multiple forms of teenage rebellion and threatens to tear apart the fabric of his family. Meanwhile, Kenneth is the family brain, reading well above grade level, while Joetta is an adorable kindergarten student just beginning her school career.
As Byron's exploits continue, Wilona takes matters into her own hands and decides to take the family on vacation to Birmingham with the intention of leaving Byron there for the summer. The story is told through Kenneth's narrations and include many memorable interchanges including how Daniel installs a record player in their car, and the different southern dialects that Wilona and her mother use. All is going well, and the family is enjoying their stay in Alabama, until the actual church bombings occur at the church where Joetta is attending Sunday school. The family is scarred but none more than Kenneth, and the Watsons return to Flint the next day.
Christopher Paul Curtis has created a powerful, introspective novel for middle grade readers. He has created a strong protagonist in ten year old Kenny Watson as well as well- developed supporting characters. In a middle child who is both academically gifted yet overshadowed by his siblings, Curtis has created a character that many kids can relate to. He has also made this novel into a quality historical fiction in that he weaves the Birmingham church bombings into an already powerful story. Worthy of the Newberry and Coretta King Awards for youth fiction, Curtis has written a story that can be used in schools and for kids to enjoy on their own.
I would not have chosen to read about the Watson family if this book was not a buddy read in one of my goodreads groups. My curiosity piqued, I joined in the read and was lead to a poignant middle grade kids book. I do take part in reading black history month challenges each year, but was happy to read this novel later in the calendar as I discovered a new to me author in Christopher Paul Curtis. An important middle grade novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 is 4.5 stars, and I look forward to reading Curtis' other works.
Read information about the authorCurtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 to Dr. Herman Elmer Curtis, a chiropodist, and Leslie Jane Curtis, an educator. The city of Flint plays an important role in many of Curtis's books. One such example is Bucking the Sarge, which is about a fifteen year old boy named Luther T. Ferrel, who is in a running battle with his slum-lord mother. Curtis is an alumnus of the University of Michigan-Flint.
Curtis is the father of two children, Steven, an ensign in the United States Navy, and Cydney, a college student and accomplished pianist. His third child is expected to make an appearance in 2011. Christopher modeled characters in Bud, Not Buddy after his two grandfathers—Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro league baseball pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.
Curtis moved to Detroit, Michigan in January, 2009
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