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The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963: 25th Anniversary Edition by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hardcover $17.99
Sep 01, 1995 | ISBN 9780385321754

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  • Nov 03, 2020 | ISBN 9780593306499 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Aug 06, 2013 | ISBN 9780385382946 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Sep 08, 1997 | ISBN 9780440414124 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Dec 12, 2000 | ISBN 9780440228004 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Sep 01, 1995 | ISBN 9780385321754 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Nov 13, 2001 | ISBN 9780385729857 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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  • Jul 05, 2000 | ISBN 9780553750577 | Middle Grade (8-12)

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Product Details



“This is a book that changes lives. It certainly changed mine.” –Kate DiCamillo, two-time Newbery Medalist

“I identify with so much in Christopher Paul Curtis’s engrossing classic, The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963.” –David Barclay Moore, winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent

“An exceptional first novel.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Superb . . . a warmly memorable evocation of an African American family.” —The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

“Ribald humor . . . and a totally believable child’s view of the world will make this book an instant hit.”—School Library Journal, starred review


ALA Best Books for Young Adults WINNER 1996

ALA Notable Children’s Book WINNER 1996

Arkansas Charlie May Simon Master List WINNER 1997

California Young Reader Medal WINNER 1998

Coretta Scott King Author Honor WINNER 1996

Golden Kite Award for Fiction WINNER 1995

Josette Frank Award WINNER 1995

Josette Frank Award for Fiction WINNER 1995

Maine Student Book Master List WINNER 1996

Massachusetts Children’s Book Master List WINNER 1999

New Mexico Land of Enchantment Book Award WINNER 2000

Newbery Honor Book WINNER 1996

Newbery Medal Winner WINNER 1996

Texas Lone Star Reading List WINNER 1997 50 Best Books for Kids WINNER 2012

Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award NOMINEE 1998

Author Q&A

Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body Plant #1. His job entailed hanging doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles-particularly big Buicks.

Curtis’s writing-and his dedication to it-has been greatly influenced by his family. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of “Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression,” it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.

In Bud, Not Buddy, Curtis tells the story of 10-year-old Bud Caldwell, who hits the road in search of his father and his home. Times may be hard in 1936 Flint, Michigan, but orphaned Bud’s got a few things going for him; he believes his mother left a clue of who his father was-and nothing can stop Bud from trying to find him.

Curtis’ debut novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, received both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor in 1996. It tells the story of 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan, and their unforgettable journey that leads them into one of the darkest moments in American history. It is by turns a hilarious, touching, and tragic story about civil rights and the impact of violence on one family.

fun facts

May 10, in Flint, Michigan

Inspiration for writing
I believe that young people are often blessed with the best ears for detecting what rings true or what feels right in a particular piece of writing. To me the highest accolade comes when a young reader tells me, “I really liked your book.” The young seem to be able to say “really” with a clarity, a faith, and an honesty that we adults have long forgotten. That is why I write.

Previous jobs
Factory worker, campaign worker, maintenance man, customer service representative, warehouse clerk, purchasing clerk

Favorite hobbies
Playing basketball, collecting old record albums, writing

Favorite foods
Mexican, Indian, West Indian

Favorite books
Anything by Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, and Zora Neale Hurston

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