Lessons about mortality c/o The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963:
• We can't live forever.
• The people we love won't live forever.
• Death can strike anywhere at any time.
• Sometimes death is just plain senseless.
• A person can hate someone they have never met—enough to kill them.
That's a tough set of lessons for anyone, right? Especially for a ten-year-old. But unfortunately, that's just what Kenny and the rest of the Watsons are in for. First the mourning dove dies, then Kenny nearly drowns, then the bomb at the church kills four little girls. Each time, death strikes a little closer to home. And this forces our characters, especially Byron and Kenny, to learn some pretty grown-up lessons about just how deadly hate is and how fragile life is.
Death is a necessary part of life, so Kenny has to experience it in order to grow up. Ultimately, learning about death is a good thing for him.
Death is too painful for young kids; it would be better if Kenny hadn't learned about death and could just go on being a kid like before.