The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 1996 Honor Book ****

The Watsons are known as the "Weird Watsons". Kenny tells stories about his family's trip to see their maternal grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama. His parents want to leave his older brother Byron there to live with his grandma because he's such a trouble maker. They arrive to experience first hand the tensions between whites and blacks. Kenny witnesses an event so horrible he wonders if he'll ever be the same.

This book is similar to the author's other newbery, Bud, Not Buddy. While told in a humorous and light-hearted way, the author does a compelling job showing what life was like before the human rights bill was signed in 1964. I laughed out loud, and also stopped to pay close attention. I fell in love with the Watsons. Because of the tragic death at the end, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone younger than ten years old.

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