Blogging Features · Middle Grade Monday

Middle Grade Monday | April 21, 2014

Jordan's Jewels
Middle Grade Monday is a weekly meme where you spot like one middle grade book (or series) on, well, Monday! It can be a book (or series) that you’ve read or one that is sitting on your TBR shelf. It’s completely up to you. The point of this meme is to showcase middle grade books that people wouldn’t have sought out otherwise.

108077

Paperback, 210 pages
Published: December 12th 2000 by Laurel Leaf (first published January 1st 1995)
Original Title: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
ISBN: 044022800X (ISBN13: 9780440228004)
Edition Language: English
Setting: Alabama, 1963 (United States)
Personal Rating: Five (5) out of Five (5) Stars
A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird  Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s  13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble,  they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the  one person who can shape him up. And they happen to  be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown  up.

I wasn’t expecting to like this book. Going into this middle grade read I thought it was just another story about revolving around the civil war and how the “whites scared the blacks” it wasn’t. This book mixed sad moments, thoughtful actions and some downright hilarious events into an unbelievable plot.

I read it with my mom, nana, and sister. We read aloud because we only had one copy. It took about four days, and reading one hour a night wasn’t ideal, but I’m so glad we persevered! My mom used accents and facial expressions, like we were three, but that just added to the experience. I really loved reading this book with my family. We all took turns reading but, as mentioned, my mom was the best!

The book follows Kenny, an African American kid, living during the Civil Rights Movement. His brother Byron is a trouble maker and his parents have had enough of his “movies” and his skipping school. They threaten Byron and, eventually, take him to live with his Grandmother Byron.

We had read, nearly, half the book before they packed up to leave for Alabama. The book had a lot of cheerful moments but also mixed the troubles that people went through back during those days. I was expecting horrible stories, actions, and troubles. I forgot this was a kids book. The story was lighthearted at times but you could also since the subtle lingering pain and depression of that time.

My cousin is going into high school next year and got her reading list. It had one book (I know right?) and it was this one. We were confused. This book does have some suggestive language and also deals with things that happened in America’s History books that people still don’t like talking about. If you are a teacher or parent wondering about this book I would suggest reading it for yourself before you plan to let your students/children read it.

Going into this I just wanted to read it to watch the movie so that we could clear some space on the DVR. I do not regret reading this and plan, in the near future, to buy a hardback edition of this book. This book will always have a spot on my shelves.

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