Children's Literature Reviews for Teaching History

Know a great book for teaching social studies that's not yet included here? Click the appropriate link on the left to add it.
Have you used one of these books with students? Leave a comment after the rating about your own experience.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Title: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis

Topic: The Civil Rights Movement
Grade Level: 5-8
Students: A balanced mix of strong readers and struggling or reluctant readers
Rating by: Suzanne Pitner

Historically Accurate?
(4) Yes and also includes historical notes, primary sources, etc.
(3) Yes
(2) A few inaccurate or misleading portrayals
(1) Not a bit

An Engaging Story?
(4) Almost all students will beg to keep reading
(3) Most students will get caught up in the story
(2) Some students will read ahead by mistake
(1) Students will groan when the book is mentioned

Prompts Discussion?
(4) Students will still be talking about it in the hallway
(3) Will prompt discussion about major issues in the past as well as today
(2) Will prompt discussion about the characters and the events in the book
(1) Will not prompt discussion

(4) Everyone - even the most reluctant readers – can get on board
(3) Can be used for a whole class read
(2) Can only be used with a small high-powered reading group
(1) Recommend only to students that love reading

Age Appropriate Content?
____Too mature
_X__Just right
____Too simplistic

A Comment from Suzanne Pitner: 
Strong content is handled in a compassionate manner. It brings to life the bombing of the church in Birmingham 1963.

Amazon's Product Review:   
"The year is 1963, and self-important Byron Watson is the bane of his younger brother Kenny's existence. Constantly in trouble for one thing or another, from straightening his hair into a "conk" to lighting fires to freezing his lips to the mirror of the new family car, Byron finally pushes his family too far. Before this "official juvenile delinquent" can cut school or steal change one more time, Momma and Dad finally make good on their threat to send him to the deep south to spend the summer with his tiny, strict grandmother. Soon the whole family is packed up, ready to make the drive from Flint, Michigan, straight into one of the most chilling moments in America's history: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside. Christopher Paul Curtis's alternately hilarious and deeply moving novel, winner of the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor, blends the fictional account of an African American family with the factual events of the violent summer of 1963. Fourth grader Kenny is an innocent and sincere narrator; his ingenuousness lends authenticity to the story and invites readers of all ages into his world, even as it changes before his eyes. Curtis is also the acclaimed author of Bud, Not Buddy, winner of the Newbery Medal. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

Link to Reviews on Amazon
Link to Scholastic's Teacher's Guide
Link to the website of the author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Buy this book from your local bookstore via Indie Bound

No comments:

Post a Comment