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.
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.
I have used the book many times for my classes. They love it. Kenny is a hoot and I laughed as hard the last time I read it as I did the first time.
A great read for 4-6 graders.
LeVar Burton is an excellent narrator.
This story is set in a cryptic time in America, where segregation down south is still pretty big. But where the Watson's live, life is normal for them. With their little family of 5- Mama, Daddy, Joey, Byron, and Kenny(main character) until Byron, who has been toeing the line, finally crosses it, and things change in a drastic way. Byron is a juvenile delinquent, and whenever he does anything bad, Mama and Daddy threaten to send him to Birmingham and live in the severe household with their grandma. Well, this time it turns out the meant it. But instead of just sending Byron, the whole family packs up in their new car, and drives down to Birmingham, Alabama. In Birmingham, and event happens which makes them oh so grateful for what they have.
Hilarious and true-to-life slice of life for a Black family in 1963.
This book is a Newbery Honor book, a Coretta Scott King honor book, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
Newberry, Corretta Scott King, ALA, honors and awards given to this book. Its a story about the Watsons of Flint Michigan, moving to Birmingham Al. in 1963 in one of the darkest moments of American history.
My kids read this book, said it's funny. They both enjoyed it. It is a book for ages 10-12.
This is a good book about what african-americans faced in the south not more than 50 years ago.