All parent member reviews for The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

Parents say

(out of 23 reviews)
age 10+
Review this title!
Adult Written byHkboo2 January 31, 2009
Educator and Parent Written byFunner School September 4, 2014

Don't read this book. Please.

Review by a 12 year old: This is the worst book I have ever read. The kids are mean and very disrespectful to their parents. There is also a lot of bullying. One boy is thrown repeatedly against a chain link fence, and kids are hit several times. The older brother threatens to "hunt them down and beat them up," and he makes up stories of frozen dead people and deadly creatures to scare his younger siblings. He also steals food from a store and makes his parents pay for it. The mom tries to burn one of her children's hands for playing with matches. That's only half of it, but I think you get the idea not to read the book. If you think it might still be a good book that demonstrates racial segregation in the 1960's, you're wrong. Jim crow laws are only mentioned twice during the entire book. The grandmother's church is bombed at the end, which it only talks about for 10 pages. However, if you want the worst read of your life, order this book today. You won't be disappointed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byagustina April 14, 2009
Adult Written bypopmom February 24, 2010

Great for tweens and teens

This book is good for older kids. It tells life how it really is not how it is in some fantsies. It also has a very good message.
Adult Written bywatersschool07 April 9, 2008

Great Family Book

This is a great book to read together as a family. It has a great way of showing the dynamics of the Watson family and the issues they face. It is so well written, that you find yourself really becoming a part of this family. It is a good way to explore history and how things were in the South. Told from a young boy's point of view, this story is a must read for families who want to get a view of the past but have some fun doing it.
Adult Written byskylerjc April 15, 2015

Not the best :/

Though the book is meant for kids, it surprised me when some bad language came up and it bothered me. I feel like the writing style was more for younger kids, but the content was not. The characters had very bad grammar, and even though this is meant to have a historical context, I still couldn't stand how they talked. I barely got myself through the book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much swearing
Adult Written byAshley Greene December 2, 2011

ok......

Byron uses minimal bad language but is still a hazard to kids under 10, and is very educational.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much swearing
Parent of a 13 year old Written bythomas ross October 5, 2010
i love this book it is a very good book and it has a little cussing in it and it has some violence in it like squirrels getting shot by a 22 and a bird dies and stuff like that i would recommend this to a 12 or older
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 8 year old Written byClara Grammer May 11, 2010

Able to use this book across the curriculum

My fifth-graders love to study this book at the same time we complete our Civil Rights unit in social studies. It is very funny. Many of my children come from similar socioeconomic groups, so they are able to relate to the children. They are also at a time where peer relations are becoming a big issue, and this story deals with this as well. Credit was also discussed and tied into economics lessons, in addition to inventions (the Ultra Glider, air conditioning, etc. Love the book. You can use it in some many different ways to teach.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bycmcgalloway April 9, 2008

Language

I teach the 5th grade and I read this to my class. Watch out for the language if you are using this as a read a loud.
Adult Written byevergreen2 March 1, 2010

The Watsons -not ok for classroom

The writing is bad, vernacular irrelevant to modern world, abusive nature of mom in chapter 5, references to Nazis (supposed to be funny), God. Wool Pooh nonsensical to young children. Trying too hard, message of civil rights lost . So many better works out there. Title is misleading. Language over the top for children... "nekkid ladies" p 40; garbage truck full of dead frozen people, teasing; "I'ma gonna hunt you down and hurt you bad" p. 57; Byron kills a bird then vomits; on drive to Birmingham, "if they caught your ass out here like this they'd hang you now"; "what the hell you starin at?"
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bymurda187kingz May 2, 2016

whatever

he book the Watson go to Birmingham you read about a family in flint Michigan that live in house . you will start to learn more and more about the family like how they eat or how they deal with problems.one of the central conflicts in the book is when Kenny and his family go on a trip to Birmingham in there car which takes a while to get there they have all kinds of fun when Kenny and buyrone go to use the restroom in the woods they talk about rednecks attacking them to the part were he attacked his bully because he had enough of it. one of the central themes in the book is curiosity because Kenny is very curious thought the whole book for example when his friend stops hanging out with him he starts to wonder what he did wrong also when they were talking about red necks he wondered what they looked like while they were in Tennessee. I think that the grade i gave this book was what it deserved because i have read this book a couple of times . but i don't hate the book but i also don't like it a lot and that what i thought of the Watson go to Birmingham
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent Written byAmazing writer January 13, 2012

EXCELLENT....

This is an excelent book with real life characters. The story covers life situations a black family encountered during the 1960's.
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
Educator and Parent Written bymomfizz February 2, 2015

Great for teens, not so great for tweens

Realizing there was NO actual sex, there was more innuendo than necessary. I really enjoyed the Watson family and the book did prompt me to delve into certain aspects of history that were depicted! The historical content is great but the emotional content presented requires more maturity. For instance, there were some parts that touched on developing sexuality that I think a 13 year old would have a healthier time processing than a 10-12 year old. The mention of smart kids and dirty magazines was unnecessary, the interaction of the parents during the car record player sequence was fine because married but still more appropriate for a teen reader. The prefrontal cortex brain development of a 10-12 year old should not have to process this... no matter the level of reader. In my opinion, the darkness of the "Wool Pooh" and the momentary dealings with loss of a sibling were too emotionally charged for a 10-12 year old's brain /emotional development as well. Some questions for discussion between a parent/child could be: 1) Are there any views presented that could change as the character grows older? If so, how? 2) Did any of the content seem to personal to you or to any of your friends? 3) Were your views on racial tension in history and present day altered by reading this? If so, how?
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much sex
Adult Written byyay!!! November 13, 2011

PERFECT FOR ANYONE MATURE!!!!

i am 11 and my class recently finished reading this book.i think anyone can read this book once they are mature enough,so they wont try doing these stupid things i love this book and i think everyone else will too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byVictor-Bryan February 4, 2010
Parent of a 3 year old Written byLindsay L. January 2, 2015

I read this book when I was 7-8 and now i'm 22... and still think its great.

I am an avid reader, always have been. For me in order to learn something and understand it I had to read it in a book. (Many different books in most cases.) As an adult that read this book as a child I really think it gave an up close look at racism in first person view without being over the top graphic, although some of the story is worded very strongly. I think it gave me perspective while still capturing my attention with humor and other plot lines it wasn't serious 100% of the time. It really gave an honest look into what family structure was like in that time period, the divide in the south and north with segregation, the violence that occured and many other things. I think this was a great book to read at that young age.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Parent of a 7 year old Written byvolkswagon May 22, 2010
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 13 year old Written byfuzhoumom February 17, 2010

A Great Novel to help teach about a terrrible time

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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