Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis, the second of five children, was born to Herman and Leslie Curtis in the blue collar, automobile-manufacturing town of Flint, Michigan. After graduating from high school, Curtis was accepted at the University of Michigan-Flint, but chose to join his father on the assembly line at the local Fisher Body Plant. What was to be a summer job extended, by his own account, into thirteen long and unhappy years.
To relieve the monotony of the assembly line, Curtis and his partner arranged to give each other periodic, half-hour breaks from hanging fifty to eighty-pound doors on new Buicks. Curtis spent his time off journal writing. Many of these creative efforts resulted in critiques of co-workers, or letters to Kaysandra Sookram, his Trinidad-born wife-to-be, whom he met at a basketball game in Hamilton, Ontario. Kay, a nursing student, encouraged Curtis's creativity. After leaving Fisher, he enrolled in classes at the University of Michigan, working his way through in other equally unrewarding jobs.
Kay soon became Kaysandra Sookram Curtis and the couple had two children, Stephen and Cydney. In 1983, Kay, determined that her husband should have a chance to realize his dream of becoming a writer, offered to support the family for a year and give Curtis that essential element in a writer's life, time. Day after day, for a year, Curtis sat at a table in the children's room of his local public library writing longhand drafts of The Watson's Go to Birmingham—1963. In the evening Stephen typed the drafts into their home computer and served as a first reader. Kay's faith in her husband paid off. In 1995, The Watson's was published to critical acclaim and won the Coretta Scott King Award for African- American Writers...
(The entire section is 723 words.)