Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
by Curtis, Christopher Paul






The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.





Christopher Paul Curtis won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his bestselling second novel, Bud, Not Buddy. His first novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham&;1963, was also singled out for many awards, and has been a bestseller in hardcover and paperback. His most recent novels for Random House include The Mighty Miss Malone, Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission, Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, and Bucking the Sarge.

Christopher Paul Curtis grew up in Flint, Michigan. After high school he began working on the assembly line at the Fisher Body Plant No. 1 while attending the Flint branch of the University of Michigan. He is now a full-time writer, and lives with his family in Windsor, Ontario.





~ Curtis debuts with a ten-year-old's lively account of his teenaged brother's ups and downs. Ken tries to make brother Byron out to be a real juvenile delinquent, but he comes across as more of a comic figure: getting stuck to the car when he kisses his image in a frozen side mirror, terrorized by his mother when she catches him playing with matches in the bathroom, earning a shaved head by coming home with a conk. In between, he defends Ken from a bully and buries a bird he kills by accident. Nonetheless, his parents decide that only a long stay with tough Grandma Sands will turn him around, so they all motor from Michigan to Alabama, arriving in time to witness the infamous September bombing of a Sunday school. Ken is funny and intelligent, but he gives readers a clearer sense of Byron's character than his own and seems strangely unaffected by his isolation and harassment (for his odd look-he has a lazy eye-and high reading level) at school. Curtis tries to shoehorn in more characters and subplots than the story will comfortably bear-as do many first novelists-but he creates a well-knit family and a narrator with a distinct, believable voice. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews






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