The Watson's Go to Birmingham --1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis
To understand the history and background of desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement,
students will be given the opportunity to read about this era on the computer at
http://memory.loc gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart9.html
    This book is often hilarious but tells about one of the most tragic moments in American history during the Civil Rights Movement -- the bombing of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, in which four little girls inside are killed .  The story is told through the eyes of 10-year-old Kenny.  It begins with the family huddled under a blanket on the living room couch in Flint, Michigan, because it was "a zillion degrees below zero."  We learn that their mother is from Birmingham, Alabama, and the temperature is about 75 degrees when it is 20 below zero in Flint.
     The family decides to go together to Birmingham to take Kenny's 13-year-old brother, who has begun to get into trouble.   They make good on their threats to remove Byron from the bad influences found in the city of Flint and his gang to take him to spend the summer with his strict grandmother.  Along the way, the reader learns about desegregation and gets a true insight for the Civil Rights Movement.
     It is the story of family love, endurance and perseverence.
Brief Summary
Questions for Chapter 1:  And You Wonder Why We Get Called the Weird Watsons
1.  Why does the author write about Moses "Hambone" Henderson?
2.  What movie does their father say that Hambone told their mother, Wilona, was filmed in Flint, Michigan?  What was this movie really about?  Why would he jest about this?
3.  Where does the family go to get out of their cold house and spend the night?
4.  Describe the family's car.  What do they call it?
5.  What do Byron and his friend, Buphead, do to teach Kenny how to survive a blizzard?
6.  How would you help Byron defrost his lips when they got frozen on the car's side mirror "as a fly on flypaper?"
7.  Explain the metaphor, "The fly was still stuck and buzzing" (Curtis 14).  What is Byron being compared to?  What does
buzzing mean?
8.  Who does Joey compare Byron's lips-stuck-situation to?  Why?
9.  Why are they called the "Weird Watsons"?
10.  How does Kenny tease By on the to Aunt Cydney's house?