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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. How do the small acts of violence in the first half of the book (bullying, the bird) relate to the big act of violence at the end of the book?
  2. What do you think the author is trying to tell us about family relationships? What's his point?
  3. Byron goes through a major change at the end of the book, and it's a little bit mysterious, like he suddenly just decides to start being a nice guy. What do you think inspires this change? And don't try to tell us it's all because of what happens at the church. Of course that's a part of it, but read closely; Byron begins to act like a different guy even before that happens, so what's the deal?
  4. What do you think the Wool Pooh is? Just Kenny's imagination, or something more?
  5. Christopher Paul Curtis said that he thought about writing the story so that Joey would die in the church. Why do you think he ultimately chose for Joey not to be in the church at the end? How would the story's message be different if she really had died?
  6. What's the difference between a random act of violence and an attack targeted at a specific group, like the one in the book? Is there a difference, or is all violence basically the same? Do you think the story would be different if the attack had been random as opposed to racially driven? Why or why not?

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