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Book Review: The Watson’s Go to Birmingham-1963

March 13, 2012

The Watson’s Go to Birmingham-1963 is a Newberry Honor book from 1996.

This is the story of the Watson family, narrated by the middle child, Kenny.  The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a beautiful story of the power of family and love.  Every character is richly developed, all of them complex and distinct.  I loved every one of them, even Byron who is “officially a teenage juvenile delinquent.” 🙂  The family deals with everything from Byron’s mischief to freezing cold weather in a Michigan winter, a family road trip, racial injustice and the death grip that threatens their family.

The writing is engaging and quick paced, the stories are heartwarming and hilarious. It’s full of vivid descriptions and imagery so authentic that sometimes I could swear a 10 year old boy wrote it.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars and I would highly recommend it to a mature reader. Occasional, mild language and intense situations would make me hesitant to give it to a child younger than 11/12.

In short: Read it!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2012 8:58 pm

    I love your book reviews, because I get inspiration for books I want to read! Thanks for sharing.

  2. March 15, 2012 12:15 am

    I think about 5 years ago I taught 7th grade history as a Substitute for 2 months. We read this in class…. not sure if we finished it… but I’d read it out loud, sometimes reading parts 3 or 4x’s over because I’d read it out loud to my classes. I had I think 4 classes each day 🙂 I liked that book. There was one part that got me feeling emotional as I was reading, didn’t he almost drown once?…. I didn’t want the kids to pick up on that 😉 Wow it was weird to see that you did a review on it and I knew the book! from subbing!

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