The Watson’s Go To Birmingham-1963 By Christopher Paul Curtis Setting: • • • • Flint, Michigan The home of the Watson’s It is cold; the temperature is minus twenty degrees School: Clark Elementary Characters: • Narrator: a kid, Kenny: 4th grade, great reader, Poindexter, lazy eye • Dad: Daniel, likes to be funny • Mother/Momma: Wilona, is the only family member that was born in Alabama, has a gap between her front teeth, when she’s upset she speaks southern accent, over protective • Byron/By: Older brother, 13 years old, 6th grade, bully: “the god,” he likes to play with matches in the house • Joetta/Joey: little sister, she loves Byron and protects him when Momma punishes him, doesn’t like to be bundled up, cries when By is hurt or punished More Characters • Buphead: By’s BFF, bullies and teases Kenny, has been held back in school several times • Larry Dunn: “the king” of bullies (only K-4th grade), steals Kenny’s gloves, tricks Kenny into giving him .50 cents • Rufus and Cody Fry: brothers, new kids at school, poor, they rely on Kenny for food, Rufus becomes good friends with Kenny • LJ: was Kenny “friend,” steals Kenny’s dinosaurs, greedy, tricky and sneaky Plot Development • Chapter 1: We meet the family. By’s lips get stuck to the mirror of the Brown Bomber. • Chapter 2: We learn that Kenny’s real smart. Meet the bullies: “the king” Larry Dunn and “the god” is Byron. Kenny’s bullied on the bus and at school. • Chapter 3: We meet Rufus and Cody. LJ was Kenny’s friend and he would steal Kenny’s dinosaurs. • Chapter 4: Joey wears layers of clothes because Momma is worried she would get frost bite. By tells Kenny and Joey a crazy story about frozen people being picked up by garbage trucks. Larry steals Kenny’s gloves and By beats Larry up. Plot Development • Chapter 5: By plays with matches in the bathroom. Momma tries to burn him but Joey keeps • • • • blowing out the match. Chapter 6: We learned how the Watson’s pay for their groceries. By eats a bag and a half of Swedish crème cookies, green apples, kills a bird, throws up and makes a grave for the bird. Chapter 7: By gets a conk (dyed and straighten his hair). Mr. Watson shaves all of By’s hair. Chapter 8: They are making adjustments to the Brown Bomber. (Ultra-Glide) Chapter 9: Mom creates a notebook with their trip plans and she labels it Watsons go to Birmingham. Byron wants to give his family the silent treatment during the trip but he breaks his promise. Byron was thinking of running away so he had to sleep in mom and dad’s room. Mrs. Davidson gives Joetta an angel. Continue Chapters • Chapter 9: Mom plans the whole trip and writes it in a notebook. (labled the notebook “The Watson’s go to Birmingham—1963”) • By must sleep in mom and dad’s room. By’s plan was to not speak during the road trip. • Chapter 10: Rest stop in Ohio: bathroom was a hole in the ground. Mom tells By that in Alabama the bathrooms are outside. By tells Kenny a crazy story about rednecks and hillbillies. By scares Kenny and tells him that these people will hang him and eat him. Dad’s goal was to drive to Alabama without stopping. Mom did not appreciate his plan. Continue Chapters • Chapter 11: Arrive to Alabama. Meet Grandma Sands. • Chapter 12: Meet Mr. Robert and he tells Dad, Byron, and Kenny about how he saved Toddy, his dog. Kenny was shocked to see his mom get yelled at by Grandma Sands. • Chapter 13: Wool Pooh (Byron says that it is Winnie the Pooh’s evil twin brother: When Kenny is drowning he sees an angel that looks like Joetta. She looks like the angel that Mrs. Davidson gave her. Byron saves Kenny from drowning. • Chapter 14: Church bombing. Second appearance of the Wool Pooh. Kenny walks into the church rubble and takes a shoe. He thinks it’s Joey’s shoe and he thinks Joey is dead. But Joey isn’t dead. She was too hot to stay inside the church, and she also said she saw Kenny and chased him around the corner. Chapter 15 • Chapter 15: The Watson’s return to Flint, including Byron. Kenny hides behind the couch. Byron and Kenny talk about the church bombing in the bathroom. Kenny cries a lot and for a very long time. After all the crying Kenny begins to feel better.