The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Questions and Answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

After the Watsons arrive in Alabama, Byron seemingly becomes a nicer boy overnight. Accordingly, the family makes the trip to Alabama in order to visit Grandma Sands and also to drop Byron off for...

Latest answer posted January 22, 2016 8:37 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

There are personal, familial, and societal conflicts in this novel. The familial conflict centers around Kenny's older brother, Byron, who has become the neighborhood bully in Flint, Michigan,...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2017 2:59 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Thirteen-year-old Byron ("By") is a "juvenile delinquent" in the terminology of the times and the older brother to the main character, Kenny. By cultivates a cool, tough-guy demeanor, and he is in...

Latest answer posted June 21, 2019 6:47 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Kenny Watson is the multi-faceted, 10-year-old protagonist of The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963. He is the middle child in the Watson family, wedged between his older brother, Byron, and younger...

Latest answer posted August 29, 2011 7:28 am UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

One of the conflicts in the story is Kenny's difficulty with social adjustment. He has a lazy eye which makes him look different, and is very intelligent, a characteristic which does not endear...

Latest answer posted August 27, 2008 3:02 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Joetta leaves the church early because of the stifling heat. And thank goodness that she did, because otherwise she would've been caught up in the bomb blast that happened not long afterwards....

Latest answer posted June 14, 2020 6:34 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watson's Go to Birmingham is a novel written by Christopher Paul Curtis and is somewhat based on true events. Byron Watson is a main character in this novel and is quickly introduced as a...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2018 7:13 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

A dynamic character is one who changes, typically because of some conflict he or she encounters. Kenny transforms in his views of Byron. For much of the book, Kenny sees his brother as a tough,...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2020 9:02 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Lexile Range for the book is @920L, or 5th- to 6th-grade level book. Scholastic ranks the book a U, which correlates to a 6th- to 7th-grade level book. The DRA Level is 50, correlating to the...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2019 12:38 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Byron originally makes up the idea of the Wool Pooh, describing it as a kind of bogey man who hides underwater and snatches away children, in order to scare Kenny and Joey so they won't go near...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2007 1:45 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watson family lives in Flint, a city north of Detroit, in east Michigan. To reach Alabama, they will first go through Ohio, which is directly to the south of eastern Michigan. From there, they...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2019 5:13 am UTC

5 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

I don't know if I would use the word "upset" precisely. Rather I would use the word concerned. When the Watsons finally reach Birmingham, Alabama in Chapter 12 and are reunited with Grandma Sands,...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 7:48 pm UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Momma packed clothes for the family and put them in a suitcase, and put "a whole bunch of food" in a borrowed cooler, but that was just the beginning of the things she did to get ready for the trip...

Latest answer posted March 24, 2009 1:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, the Ultra-Glide is the expensive record player that Dad buys for the family car, called the Brown Bomber, in Chapter 8. Dad installs the Ultra-Glide, which...

Latest answer posted March 22, 2016 12:51 am UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Mr. Robert (this is his first name) is the maternal grandmother's "friend." Since he is living with her, he is more than a friend, but as old as Grandma Sands and Mr. Robert are, they are probably...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2015 3:33 am UTC

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons have a 1948 Plymouth that is described as very big and dull brown. They received it when it was 13 years old and have had it for two years, and it sometimes doesn't start up in the...

Latest answer posted July 4, 2016 10:26 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Byron was apparently kissing his own reflection in the sideview mirror of the Brown Bomber, the Watson's 1948 Plymouth. Since it was a bitterly cold day, well below freezing, his lips froze onto...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2008 5:08 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In Chapter 2 of The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, the two things that Kenny thinks are wrong with him are that he is smart, and that he has a lazy eye. From a very young age, Kenny has been able...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2010 12:44 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Byron and Kenny: Kenny pretty much idolizes his older brother. In chapter 2, he notes, Even though my older brother was Clark Elementary School’s god that didn’t mean I never got teased or beat up...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2019 1:01 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The title of the novel is the same as that of Momma's plan for their trip to Alabama. While Dad has been getting their car, the Brown Bomber, ready for the road, Momma has been recording all the...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2019 8:30 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watson children attend Clark Elementary School, and Byron shortens the name of the school to "Clark" when speaking of it. Poindexter is a name which is associated with a stereotypical "nerdy"...

Latest answer posted August 27, 2010 9:00 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, the Watson family takes a trip from Flint, Michigan, to Birmingham, Alabama, Mom’s hometown. Dad tells Kenny that the only music...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2016 10:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Momma and Dad have made it quite clear to Byron that they disapprove of the "conk" hairstyle popular among young black youth at that time. Momma says,"You've known all along how we...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2008 7:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The resolution of this great novel comes after the climax, which comes in Chapter 15 when Kenny, with Byron's help, is finally able to express his emotions about what he has seen and observed...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:32 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In Chapter 13 of this great novel, Kenny, Joetta and Byron go for a swim. However, Kenny ignores the advice of Byron and Grandma Sands and wants to go to Collier's Landing, where he has been told...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

A "butter" or a "conk" is a hairstyle that was popular with some African Americans back in the 1960s. It involved using caustic chemicals, sometimes lye, to straighten the hair so that it could be...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2009 12:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

It is true. In chapter four, “Froze-Up Southern Folks,” the narrator states that his mother, originally from the warm climate of Alabama, thought the cold winters in Flint had the potential to...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2019 7:56 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Great question! I think when we consider this novel one theme that we cannot ignore is how children process and understand concepts beyond their comprehension. It is particularly interesting that,...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

This is a great question. Remember that the Wool Pooh is actually a creation of Byron's that he uses to try and scare Kenny into not going to Collier's Landing, a dangerous place to swim where...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:21 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Mrs. Davidson has always thought kindly of her young neighbor, Joetta, who is also known as Joey. When Mrs. Davidson comes over in Chapter 9, she tells the children that she is going to miss them...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2020 7:53 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In chapter 2 of The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, Kenny displays his advanced reading skills in front of Mr. Alums's class of fifth-graders. Mr. Alums wants to use Kenny as a way of driving home...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2021 2:11 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Dad tells Kenny that "there are some things that Byron has to learn and he's not learning them in Flint, and the things he is learning are things we don't want him to". Byron is rebellious, and...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2009 6:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In literary terms, falling action refers to that part of the plot that takes place after the climax and before the denouement. In The Watsons go to Birmingham, the climax in the story is when the...

Latest answer posted July 7, 2018 7:51 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Larry Dunn has stolen Kenny's fancy rabbit-fur-lined gloves. It's not surprising that he did this, because he usually wears socks as mittens, so the temptation to steal some good quality gloves...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2019 6:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

As we follow the hilarious and moving escapades of the Watson family from the point of view of the tender and young Kenny, a number of themes seem to emerge as Kenny grows up through what he...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Members of the Ku Klux Klan were charged with setting the bomb at the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. Bob F. Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Cash, and Bob "Dynamite Bob" Chamblis set the...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2009 10:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Kenny is on shaky social ground himself, and is afraid that if he associates with Rufus, he will be teased all the more.Kenny is not "cool" like his brother Byron; he is "just...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2008 6:16 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Everyone reacts to emotional trauma in different ways, and sometimes we can only guess why an individual responds the way he does. In Kenny's case, keep in mind that the bombing of the church is...

Latest answer posted December 16, 2008 2:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Written by American children’s author, Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 was published in 1995 and is his first novel. Kenny is the eleven-year-old narrator of the story....

Latest answer posted February 11, 2020 12:03 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Kenny's nickname for the family is the 'Weird Watsons.' In the novel, Kenny is ten years old. At the beginning of the story, all five members of the Watson family are wrapped up in blankets against...

Latest answer posted October 14, 2015 8:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Kenny is often picked on by the other kids on the bus, especially if his brother Byron isn't on the bus. One day, the driver picks up two new kids. Kenny immediately senses that a miracle is...

Latest answer posted February 24, 2019 7:19 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Byron remembers Grandma Sands as being "the meanest, ugliest person in the world", but Kenny knows that he is probably lying; Byron had only been four years old the last time he saw her. Like all...

Latest answer posted February 22, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Kenny emerges an essentially good person, but he also seems like a real person—not some abstracted symbol of virtue. Many of the situations in which Christopher Paul Curtis places Kenny reveal his...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2019 9:22 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

In about the beginning of the chronicle of their arrival in Birmingham, Alabama, Chapter 12, Kenny and his family arrive at his grandmother's house where there is also her friend, Mr. Roberts. The...

Latest answer posted May 29, 2015 5:50 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Your original question is to be noted because it contained more questions than I have ever seen in any one question in my time as an editor for enotes. You are not allowed to ask multiple...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 7:41 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Rufus and his family apparently live in poverty both in Arkansas and in Flint. This is evidenced by the "raggedy" clothing that he must share with his little brother, and the indication that there...

Latest answer posted February 9, 2010 5:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The simple answer is that Joetta saw someone else and thought it was Kenny. Her confusion parallels that of Kenny himself. In the aftermath of the terrible bomb that devastated the church, Kenny...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2018 8:39 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

To my mind, the powerful climax of this great novel occurs in Chapter 15 of the novel, after Kenny has fought with the Wool Pooh twice, firstly in the water at Collier's Landing and secondly in the...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Momma and Grandma Sands haven't seen each other for a very long time, so when they are finally reunited, they have a lot of catching up to do. Momma has been away from Birmingham for so long, it...

Latest answer posted October 8, 2009 2:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Fourth grader Kenny is an exceptionally good reader at Clark Elementary School. He remembers back to the second grade, when he also excelled as a reader. His teacher, Miss Henry, singled him out...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2021 2:12 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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