illustrated close-up of Kenny Watson with fire in the background behind him

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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In the book The Watsons go to Birmingham, what is an act of courage that Kenny demonstartes?

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An example of Kenny’s courage is when he does not lose his head while almost drowning.

In Birmingham, Kenny is not afraid to go into the water event though he knows it is dangerous.  The “Wool Pooh” is fabled to be a monster that lives in the public swimming hole.  Kenny is not afraid to swim, and in fact not really afraid of the monster.

Kenny is told that the Wool Pooh is Winnie-the-Pooh’s evil twin brother by Byron.

Don’t no one ever write about him because they don’t want to scare y’all kids.  What he does is hide under water and snatch stupid kids down with him. (p. 170)

Kenny is not distracted the Wool Pooh, thinking it is just a stupid story made up to scare him.  But the whirlpool, or the current in the water, is a real danger.  Kenny gets trapped in it, but doesn’t panic.  He refuses to give in, and proves his bravery until he is rescued.  

Kenny is more concerned with Byron's safety when he pulls him out than the fact that he also almost drowned.  He realizes that although the Wool Pooh is a fiction, the danger in the water is real.

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