Review of: The Watsons go to Birmingham

Reviewed by: Nicole


In almost every neighborhood there is one house that everyone stays away from.  In Flint, Michigan, the Watsons are the crazy family that is left alone.  They are called the Weird Watsons for many reasons, but one of those is Byron Watson, the family troublemaker.  Byron is officially a juvenile delinquent and makes mischief any time he can.  “Daddy Cool” teases his little brother Kenny, picks fights at school, steals, and much more things; his parents punish him, but it has no effect on him.  Mr. And Mrs. Watson always threaten to send him to live with Mrs. Watson’s mom in Birmingham, Alabama, but the threats fade away.  Kenny doesn’t think it is fair that Byron hasn’t gone to live with their grandma yet.  Suddenly, after Bryon disobeys his parents by destroying his own hair, Mr. And Mrs. Watson start to realize what needs to be done: the Watsons need to go on a road trip to the South.  The children’s parents wanted Byron, Kenny, and little sister Joey, to understand how easy African Americans have it in Michigan compared to the South.  Mom and Dad  want to teach a lesson to Byron that he has to mature because of the world that they live in.  When an act of racism occurs in Birmingham, Kenny gets a taste of the outside world and learns that not everything in life is going to be fair because of their color and there is hate in some Americans. There always will be hate, but you have to live through the hard times.

The Watsons go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis, is an amazing book.  At first, I thought it was boring and a little childish, but it has a great amount of humor in it.  The ending caught me off guard because it taught a powerful lesson.  I learned from this story that there was hate back in 1963 and now towards each other because of what we look like.  I also learned that African Americans had a tough time in the South. When the Watsons were driving to Birmingham they always had to sleep in the car because of violence.  I really enjoyed this novel and hope that students will enjoy it and get the message too.

I think anyone who is ten and older could love this novel. I think students would love the humor that is in it.  This book isn’t the hardest to read, but I think students would love to read about the Watsons’ adventure. Both boys and girls would have loads of fun with this even though the view of the story is told by Kenny. This book is very meaningful and I think lots of students would love it.