After completing The Help Shawn mentioned his students were reading a book called The Watson’s Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis and that he was going to read it.
This book was set in 1963 partly in Flint MI and partly in Birmingham AL. He read it on the plane on the way to CA and then passed it on to me.
It was a quick read at 210 pages. Refreshing after the bulky book I had just finished.
It was a light hearted read. Also refreshing after the sometimes intense moments in The Help.
In reading this book I realized how jaded I have become while reading a book. I could not help but expect for something really awful to happen. There were two tense points late in the book but since this book was written for the middle school sect it was not overly dramatic.
The story is about a boy, Kenny, who lived in 1963 Flint MI with his Goofy Father, his Mama who relocated from Birmingham after marring his father, his older brother, Byron, who was always getting in trouble, and his younger sister, Joetta, who was very protective of the trouble making older brother.
Kenny and Joetta watch Byron cause a lot of trouble and repeatedly get reprimanded by their parents. After a forbidden hairdo incident involving Byron, his parents decide it is time for By to go live with his grandma in Birmingham for awhile. They pack up the Brown Bomber, their family car, and drive from Michigan to Alabama. While in Alabama the family is faced with what is really happening in the Civil Rights Movement at the time with a church bombing and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Curtis writes this story so well you believe Curtis is Kenny. It truly reads as an autobiography, not a fictional story. I suggest you check it out. If you have a middle school aged child in your home, enjoy it with them.