Ten year old Kenny lives with his family in Flint, Michigan. He has an older brother, Byron, and a younger sister, Joetta. Byron is getting into trouble a lot--skipping school and doing other things he shouldn't do--so his parents decide to send him down to Birmingham, Alabama to live with his no-nonsense grandmother for awhile. The story in Flint about what is going on with Kenny and Byron leads up to the big family trip down South. In The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 (Lexile: 920; Interest Level: Grades 4-7), Christopher Paul Curtis describes one family's life during the 1960s, including specific events of the Civil Rights Movement. Not everything in everyone's life revolved around this movement, but lives of everyone were touched by the events of the 1960s, no matter where you lived.
Kenny uses humor to shed light on things that happened in his life, from being bullied at school to talking to his dad about shaving (yes, he's 10) to what happened when he and his siblings were punished by their parents. Students who are interested in history (or have been assigned to learn about it), may want to include this book in their reading lists. It is certainly deserving of a 1996 Newbery Honor! (224 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.