Alma Loredo's Reviews > The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
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This book is about the Watson family. Mrs. Watson is originally from Birmingham but Mr. Watson is from Flint, where the family lives at. Byron Watson was just like any other teenage boy that would always get in some sort of trouble and a known bully. His parents did not know how to discipline him anymore sp they decided Byron needed to live in the South with his grandma. The Watson children were not aware of everything that happened in the south, the North was not as segregated as the South was. The family took a trip to Birmingham, where Byron would be spending his summer, since his mom thought that would be the only way for him to straighten up. On the way to their destination, they started seeing the other side of how things really were in the south, many of the “white only: signs were being exposed. During the time they were in Birmingham, the 16th Street Baptist church was bombed. Joey was at Sunday school and they thought she was inside the church when it was bombed. Fortunately she was not. The Watson family came back home that night. The Watson family changed as a result of the trip. Byron was not the same. I guess this trip in a way showed him how to appreciate life and his way of living because they realized that the North was better than the South.
I would definitely encourage teachers to use this book while teaching the Civil Rights Movement. I think it would be a neat idea to have students listen to the novel and journal any of their reactions and feels. Having students do this activity can put them in the shoes of the children back during this time period.
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