RDG 6319 Foundations of Reading, Summer 2017 discussion

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The Watson's Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 14 comments Mod
Love, love, love this book!!!! I was introduced to this book years ago while attending a reading conference. Christopher Paul Curtis was one of the keynote speakers. During his talk he read aloud the first chapter of his book to the audience. Hilarious! Can't wait for you to read about Kenny, the cold, and the car review mirror! In the midst of humor, we are reminded of the horror of racism in the 1960's.


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Skiles | 14 comments One of my favorite historical fiction novels.. In this novel 'The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963', tells about a family that consist of Kenny, Byron, Momma, Dad And joey the girl. This story was about a troubled kid named Byron who finally goes overboard and is sent to live with his strict grandmother named Grandma Sands in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement when segregation was still a big thing deep down south. Through their ups and downs, something horrific happens which changes how the family acts and draws them closer together than ever before. Overall I really liked this novel. My mom has told me similar stories about her experiences about visiting with family in Alabama.


message 3: by Katherine (last edited Jun 10, 2017 10:25AM) (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments I grew up in south Georgia..middle of the Bible belt! My grandparents used to tell me stories about the racial divides that they experienced as kids and young adults. I think this would be a good book to read with my students at school. Most of my students are students of color, yet they don't know much about the history of their culture! I begged my AP to let me read this with them, because it is just so powerful and beautiful.

This reminds me of the poem, "The Ballad of Birmingham," that I read with my students this year, which is about the bombing of the same church discussed in this book. I could see myself using excerpts from this book to teach as "paired passages" with that poem for my students.

PS: You should really read this poem. It's short, but it's tragic. A must-read for anyone who is interested in history!
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem...


message 4: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Peaks | 14 comments I really enjoyed this book!! I used this book for my novel study and I couldn't put it down. This book address the racism that use to take place in the 1960s. It is amazing to read everything that the family had to endure in that time period. While reading this book, it made me think about what would I do if i was living during this time period. Being an African- American women it really made me think about things and to appreciate the people who came before me.


message 5: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The title keeps you wondering what, when, how, and why something will happen! The characterization is very real, and the author's voice is truly adolescent. I absolutely adored the sibling love-hate relationships; my sister and I were/are just like this!

I would definitely recommend this book to be used either in addition to canonical pieces that are very popular or to other YA historical fiction on the Civil Rights Movement. I am a really big fan of "Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High", "The Help", "The Secret Life of Bees", in addition to books about racism in America before this timeframe. Again, since I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I would want to make certain that most students would enjoy this book!


message 6: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Stephanie wrote: "One of my favorite historical fiction novels.. In this novel 'The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963', tells about a family that consist of Kenny, Byron, Momma, Dad And joey the girl. This story was abo..."
My grandparents used to tell me stories about the segregated south and it is heartbreaking. Reading the details and emotions that come out of that is life-changing, in my opinion.


message 7: by Katherine (last edited Jun 16, 2017 05:44PM) (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Ashley wrote: "I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The title keeps you wondering what, when, how, and why something will happen! The characterization is very real, and the author's voice is truly adolescent. I absolu..."

I LOVE Secret Life of Bees!! It is such a good book, just like this one. (:


message 8: by Katherine (last edited Jun 16, 2017 05:46PM) (new)

Katherine Wolf (mrskewolf) | 51 comments Ariel wrote: "I really enjoyed this book!! I used this book for my novel study and I couldn't put it down. This book address the racism that use to take place in the 1960s. It is amazing to read everything that ..."

This book helped me connect to my students so much last year! I think sometimes they feel the frustration and anger like the main characters. It is interesting to hear the conversations they have in the aftermath.


message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments Katherine wrote: "I grew up in south Georgia..middle of the Bible belt! My grandparents used to tell me stories about the racial divides that they experienced as kids and young adults. I think this would be a good b..."

That poem is beautiful and heartbreaking. I think children need to be explicit shown how close (in time) the Civil Rights Movement was to understand the impact to their lives. Since you had discussions with your grandparents, you were probably better equipped to understand that this was just a short time ago, and that there is indeed racism and social/economic issues because of race still prevalent in our society and around the world.


message 10: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Ram Gosnell | 42 comments Katherine wrote: "Ariel wrote: "I really enjoyed this book!! I used this book for my novel study and I couldn't put it down. This book address the racism that use to take place in the 1960s. It is amazing to read ev..."

I bet hearing their discussions must have been profound. It is great you were able to use this book to facilitate their sharing of emotions about their lives.


message 11: by Ixtchel (new)

Ixtchel Olalde | 24 comments I had seen this book before and thought it would be a bit boring, but then I saw how it was used in the classroom in other districts...I have seen Art attached to this book and it has been interesting to see what students make as representation of that time... also students create short skits based on a particular event in the story... it's really cool though to hear and watch students develop conversations about racism and discuss the differences of them and now... this is a great novel...I always ideas this in my classroom or use an excerpt to peak student interest...


message 12: by Tien (new)

Tien Dinh | 14 comments A very entertaining and heartfelt young adult novel about a black family living in 1963. They have three children with Kenny being a 4th grader and the narrator of the story. The novel was filled with humor and wit; however, some chapters touched on the complexity of race relations and violence within that time. I feel that the characters were very much well developed and I could relate to the characters and their struggles. I believe that this is a great novel to introduce students to difficult concepts such as race relations, bullying, violence, and complex events in history within the 60's.


message 13: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments Ixtchel wrote: "I had seen this book before and thought it would be a bit boring, but then I saw how it was used in the classroom in other districts...I have seen Art attached to this book and it has been interest..."

I believe that integrating good activities with any book will motivate readers to focus and enjoy any book that may seem boring. I'm the type of person that really needs to be engaged in a book. I don't know why.


message 14: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments Ariel wrote: "I really enjoyed this book!! I used this book for my novel study and I couldn't put it down. This book address the racism that use to take place in the 1960s. It is amazing to read everything that ..."

I feel that the students could picture what it was like living in the 60's with this book. I think that integrating music or other audio clips from the 60's would make the book more real to the students.



message 15: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Lerma | 41 comments This book would be great with the integration of a history lesson or lessons and activities. The book is very descriptive and gives insight to what was going on during that time. The book allows the reader to feel or see what the author was feeling or doing. I think that classroom discussion would work well for this book. Also, creating alternate endings for this book would be fun!


message 16: by Erica (new)

Erica Morales | 25 comments Such a good book! It had it's funny moments, my favorite being when Byron got his lips stuck on the side mirror. It also had some very emotional parts. I really thought it was Joetta that Kenny found in the church bombing. The author did a very good job at describing the settings and emotions so that you felt like you were there.

The end of the book where Byron and Kenny bond over one of the scariest moments of their lives was very sincere and sweet, and a good way to end the book. This is a book I could see myself reading again and recommending to others.


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