Fantastic book. My ten year old and I read it together and laughed a lot and I think she got the message about what it might have been like to be a black person in 1963. It's no wonder the book has won awards. I would recommend it to anyone, but I think the choice to have it as a summer reading book when a child is about to enter 5th grade, gives them good perspective on things and may even make them curious to learn more about the Civil Rights movement.
The year is 1963, and self-important Byron Watson is the bane of his younger brother Kenny's existence. Constantly in trouble for one thing or another, from straightening his hair into a "conk" to lighting fires to freezing his lips to the mirror of the new family car, Byron finally pushes his family too far. Before this "official juvenile delinquent" can cut school or steal change one more time, Momma and Dad finally make good on their threat to send him to the deep south to spend the summer with his tiny, strict grandmother. Soon the whole family is packed up, ready to make the drive from Flint, Michigan, straight into one of the most chilling moments in America's history: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside.
Christopher Paul Curtis's alternately hilarious and deeply moving novel, winner of the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor, blends the fictional account of an African American family with the factual events of the violent summer of 1963. Fourth grader Kenny is an innocent and sincere narrator; his ingenuousness lends authenticity to the story and invites readers of all ages into his world, even as it changes before his eyes.
This is a wonderful book. I know it is rated for young adult reading, but is great reading for adult also. This is the story of a close knit family who want to go visit Grandma in Alabama, in 1968 it isn't the best time for them to be there. This is funny, there are lots of smiles in this book. Eye opening to see thru the eyes of the Watson family how peolple were treated in this era. You'll be glad you met this Watson family in this read. I am.