My son Haley just finished The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. His review is below.
The Watsons go to Birmingham is a real great book. It is about a black family that decides to visit their grandma in Birmingham but when they get there they are involved in some violence. Even though this book sounds depressing it is actually quite funny because most of it is about the family. There are three main characters in the story. Kenny Watson is a second grader that goes to Clark Elementary with the rest of his siblings. Byron, Kenny’s older brother, is in the sixth grade. He is the bully at Clark.
Then there is their little sister Joey who is still in kindergarten so she cries a lot. After these three go to Birmingham, it will change their lives forever.
One of my favorite parts in this book is when Byron goes into the bathroom and pretends he is filming a movie called Nazi Parachutes Attack America and get Shot Down over the Flint River by Captain Byron Watson and his Flamethrower of Death. For each Nazi, Byron takes a little paper soldier, gives it a toilet paper parachute, then he gets a match and lights them on fire before they hit the toilet, and then he flushes. One of my other favorite parts was when Byron tells Joey a made-up story about how trucks come and pick up the frozen people on the streets who freeze because they don’t have coats on. He did this so Joey wouldn’t cry and whine about her mom putting so many jackets on her.
This book also taught me a lesson about how hard life was for black people back then. The book is actually based on a true event, the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham where two white men bombed the church, killing four innocent little girls as they prepared for Sunday school. In the book this family is there to witness this catastrophic event and it changes there lives forever. I would have freaked out if this had happened to me. Kenny realizes in the end of the story that he is lucky to have a family that cares about him.
All and all I think this is great book. Most of it was comedy except for its sad ending. The author also makes the characters sound realistic. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too because of all the books I have read this goes to the top.