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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 Curtis, Christopher Paul 1 of 1
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FORMAT: Hardcover
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Learn more about The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0613034945
ISBN-13: 9780613034944
Sku: 30934043
Publish Date: 8/25/2008
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 7.75H x 7.25L x 0.75T
Pages:  210
Age Range:  14 to College
It was one of those super-duper cold Saturdays. One of those days that when you breathed out your breath kind of hung frozen in the air like a hunk of smoke and you cold walk along and looking exactly like a train blowing out big, fat, white puffs of smoke. (from the first line)
Ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Watsons of Flint, Michigan, are heading for Birmingham, Alabama, and one of the darkest moments in American history. 1996 Newbery Honor Book. 1996 Coretta Scott King Honor Book. An ALA Notable Book. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. A "New York Times Book Review" Best Book. A "Horn Book" Fanfare.
From the Publisher:
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.
Nine-year-old Kenny narrates this story about his middle-class, African-American family and their 1963 trip from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama. The trip's purpose is two-fold--to visit their grandmother, and to get Kenny's older brother away from the rough crowd he has been running with. Sadly, racism rears its ugly head as the family travels through the South, eventually culminating in the bombing of Kenny's grandmother's church while his younger sister and many others are inside.
Author Bio
Christopher Paul Curtis
Even though Christopher Paul Curtis spent 13 years putting doors on cars at the Flint Fisher Body plant after graduating from high school, he never wasted an opportunity to write. Whenever he was on break, he used the time to write early drafts of his first book, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963. Christopher hated his job, so he used writing as a way to escape the boredom. Little did he know that all his writing and perseverance would later give him the opportunity to write for a living. Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher was the son of very strict parents who inspired and influenced him greatly throughout his life. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Flint. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Michigan, and won two awards-the Avery Hopwood Prize for major essays, and the Jules Hopwood Prize for an early draft of THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963. As he continued to write while working at the factory, his wife encouraged him to take off a year and write a book. She knew he disliked his job and wanted him to do something he truly loved, so he decided to quit his job and began writing everyday in the library. When he was a young boy he loved being in the library; he adored the world it opened up for him, and would spend hours reading and writing. As he wrote, his son typed up the manuscript so he could concentrate on writing. Christopher had always felt that he was a writer inside, but never had the opportunity to do it full-time. Christopher says that he thinks of himself as a man who has played many parts: Christopher Curtis/Maintenance Man; Christopher Curtis/Factory Worker. But he knew that Christopher Curtis/Writer was inside of him, just waiting to come out. He decided to enter an early draft of his first book in the Delacorte First Young Adult Novel Contest so that he could get the book exposed to a publisher. It paid off! In 1996, he received a Newbery Honor Award and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for the book. When the prizes for that book were announced, Curtis was working in the library on his second book, BUD, NOT BUDDY, which would later receive the 2000 Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Award! Curtis tells kids who are interested in writing that they should read and write every chance they get. A fun fact: a song that his daughter wrote appears in the book BUD, NOT BUDDY. He also won a 2008 Newbery Honor for ELIJAH OF BUXTON.


Literary Review
"...warmhearted and luxuriously padded with humor." - Michael Thorn September 1997

Publisher's Catalog
"Fourth-grader Kenny Watson brings his black family beautifully to life in Flint, Michigan, in the 60s--but this warm and funny and touching first novel turns into a searing indictment when the Watsons venture south into ugliness and violence. You won't soon forget Kenny and all the Watsons." - Robert Cormier

New York Times Book Review
"Mr. Curtis thus skillfully merges the Watsons' story with the actual bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in September 1963, in which four young African American girls were killed....a marvelous debut, a fine novel about a solid and appealing family." - Kermit Frazier 11/12/1995

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The poignancy of the ending lies in the protagonist's bright spirits darkening after this trauma, without the author's relinquishing control of a consistently fresh narrative voice. The contrast is startling, innovative, and effective in a strong first novel showing how--and why--the Civil Rights movement affected individual African-Americans." - Betsy Hearne October 1995

Quarterly Black Review of Books
"With a skill and mastery not often observed in a first novel, Christopher Paul Curtis has created a memorable tale about love and rivalry between siblings, growing pains, friendships, and the strength of black families who continue to love and support its members despite the obstacles created through ignorance and racism." - Shree R. Thomas February/March 1996

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeMinimum Age:   10
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0210
Product attributePublisher:   Turtleback Books
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