Stephanie Jeanneret's Reviews > The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
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's review
Sep 17, 2008

really liked it
Read in September, 2008

Genre: historical fiction
Grades: 3-6

This is a book about a family that lives in Michigan; their mother is use to being in Alabama where it is warm. There are two boys and a girl. The oldest boy, Byron is a troublemaker, he is always doing something to get in trouble, not only at home but also at school. The little sister Joetta always stands up for Byron not wanting him to get in trouble. Kenneth the middle child also gets picked on Byron, at home and at school. Kenneth is the boy who not only gets picked on by Byron, but also everyone else at school. He meets a new kid that begins to go to school with him. They become very good friends. Most of the book is telling about how Byron is getting in trouble, there is one part where Byron sticks up for Kenneth and beats up a kid for stealing his gloves. Toward the end, momma tells them that Byron is going to go and live with their grandma for the summer, and even the next year. She lives in Alabama. At the end of the story Joetta goes to a church, which gets burned down, Kenneth thinks that Joetta got burned, but she actually left church to follow a dog. on the way to Alabama momma has to pack lunches for all of the day on the way down, because there are not fast food restaurants. the car "the brown bomber" ends up breaking down, although dad put a new record player in it before they left for Alabama.

This book won the Newberry Honor Award.

I liked the idea in class where they made a locker, and compared the past the the present. This would get students thinking how much stuff has changed.
Doing a character map would also be good, making sure to connect all of the characters to Kenneth and how they connect to eachother.
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Nicole Javvaji I wanted to use this book in my sixth grade class but cannot because Byron swore once. We have to be super careful about this stuff at my school and its a shame because this is a spectacular story. I like your activities.

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