Ashley Barna's Reviews > The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
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Apr 18, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction-book

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 written by Christopher Paul Curtis tells a of a family who is sending their child Byron to Grandma's for the summer for his behavior. He tends to act up a lot and not do what he is told. His parents think that if he is sent to Alabama for the summer he will straighten up, and if he doesn't, then he is staying there for the entire school year also. Kenny, his brother, is the one who's point of view the story is being told from. Poor Kenny gets made fun at school a lot because he has a lazy eye.

During this journey at Grandma's, Kenny almost drowns in a whirlpool after he is told not to go swimming,but Byron saves him. It isn't long after that incident that another one occurs at the local church where their sister Joetta is attending Sunday school. Kenny hears a loud noise and rushes to the church. The church has been bombed by two men. He goes inside searching for his sister. He sees shoes that look like hers and tries to get her out. He doesn't manage to pull her from the rubble, so he returns home thinking that his sister has been killed. Soon enough Joetta returns home and Kenny thinks she is a ghost and is terrified. The Watson's return to Flint soon after that, but Kenny is still traumatized by the bombing at the church. Kenny's attitude towards life changes throughout the book. Byron eventually straightens up his act and is very consoling to Kenny.

This story would be a good one for student to read about. It has an historical impact on it that will get students interested in what happened during those times when segregation was still around.
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