What important theme or central idea about equality can you identify in both the Watsons go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtiss and We've Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson?
Each book focuses on the youngest affected by the Civil Rights Movement. In We Have a Job, we learn about the children who marched. In The Watsons Go to Birmingham, a church is burned. Four little girls died. This was one of the elements that changed people’s minds, because of the loss of innocents. It shook young Kenny to the core, because he was too young to fully realize or understand what had happened.
In Michigan, racism is not as prevalent as in Alabama. Yet the Watsons are still living in poverty. Kenny’s mother longs for the good old days in Alabama where she grew up, but she does not realize the civil rights movement has hit it full force.
When By first tells Kenny about the church bombing, he stands frozen. The news does not sink in.
Byron had just told me that someone had dropped a bomb on Joey’s church, hadn’t he? If that was true, why did I just stand there looking stupid? (ch 14, p. 183)
It takes Kenny time to fully comprehend what happens, especially since his sister does not die in the bombing as he first feared. His parents take the family home, not really explaining what is happening. As part of growing up, Kenny will have to come to understand it.
We Have a Job tells the other side of the story. It is about 4,000 children, as young as nine years old, who marched to make their voice heard. They made an impact, marching and going to jail for something they believed in.