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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

#36 - The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 - Christopher Paul Curtis

Title:  The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Read by:  Levar Burton
Publisher/Date:  Random House/1996
Dates listened to:  6/27/17 – 7/4/17
CDs/Hours:  4/4 3/4
ISBN: 978-0-307-24317-6

It’s 1963 and Kenny Watson’s thirteen year old brother, Byron, is turning into a juvenile delinquent -- that is, for what was considered “bad” for the times.  So, off to Mama’s mama to get him straightened out.  The Watsons live in Flint, Michigan but Mama is from Alabama and it’s a three day drive.  Dad has other ideas though about how to get there and does it in 15 hours flat.  Upon arrival, Grandmother Sands welcomes the family with open arms.

From there, Byron, becomes less of a handful, having philosophically considered his options.  Kenny, too, is deeply affected by the dark moments in America’s history – the civil rights movement.  While Kenny experiences his own coming of age moment, his little sister Joetta and other family members experience the horror of a Sunday in September when the little church was bombed, killing young girls attending that fateful day.

It’s truly an appropriate Independence Day to hear about this tragedy and know we continue to live through trying times in this very moment, always with hope.  Christopher Paul Curtis’s story was a Newbery Honor book.  Curtis has won the Coretta Scott King Award and received many other honors.  I want now to read Bud, Not Buddy, his Newbery Winner.

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