The Watsons go to Birmingham

This historical fiction novel is seen through the point from the point of view of our main character, Kenny, who lives in Flint, Michigan with his middle class African-American family. The setting of this story, in which the first part takes place in Flint, Michigan, and later on, Birmingham, Alabama, is well chosen by the author because they are real places. The fact that they are real places just adds on to the realism we see in this novel. The year itself is actually very important as well, 1963, a year where racial tension was at an all-time max. Our main character, Kenny, is someone I feel young readers can make a connection to. He goes through the typical problems a 9 year old faces both at school and at home with his siblings. We follow the story along as they go and visit Kenny’s Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama and it is there where tragedy strikes. One day, as they are going to church, the church suddenly explodes. Kenny becomes upset because of it. He goes through some trauma but he eventually overcomes it with the help of his older brother, Bryon. An amazing historical fiction story that has emotional storytelling and overall, students are able to relate to most of the issues Kenny goes through.

Lesson Plans:

Book Trailer:

Curtis, C. P. (1997). The Watsons go to Birmingham. London: Orion Children’s Books.

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