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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 Resources


Birmingham Church Bombing

Take a look at the History Channel's site on the Birmingham Church Bombing. Be sure to check out some of the links on this site to other Civil Rights Movement resources, too. Before you know it, you'll be an expert on this era.

Ballad of Birmingham

Curtis knew he wanted to write a story about the Watson family on a road trip, but originally he thought they would travel to Florida. It wasn't until his son brought this poem home from school that Curtis realized the Watsons would really be going to Birmingham.

From the Police Files

In the book, we never find out who was responsible for the bombing and what happened to them. Dying to know? Craving justice? Check out this in-depth look at the event, the investigation, and the trial of the men responsible.

Articles and Interviews

Author's Note

Wondering how Curtis came up with this story about the Weird Watsons? Check out this author's note for the complete backstory.

Birmingham 1963

Want to know more about Birmingham's role in the Civil Rights Movement? Check out this article for some in-depth historical context.

Birmingham in the News

The church bombing made national news. Take a look at the New York Times article covering this event, complete with an image of the old-timey New York Times front page.


The Author on the Book

Christopher Paul Curtis has a lot to say about Watsons. Oh, and he also gives his four rules for people who want to become writers. Check it out, and you'll be on your way to stardom.

Christopher Paul Curtis on Being a Writer

Here, our author talks about the inspiration for his books, his writing process, and the best and worst parts of being a writer. Budding authors, this one is a must-watch.


NPR's Backseat Book Club Does Watsons

Listen as readers like you ask questions about the book and get answers straight from the author himself.

To Read or to Listen? We suggest both.

The entire audio version of the book is delicious. Check out this sample.


Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Check out this photo of the real church that was bombed in Birmingham.

Four Girls

These are the four girls who died in the church bombing in 1963.

The Brown Bomber

Also known as a 1948 Plymouth…

Give my regards to Clark

Here's an image of the real (now abandoned) Clark Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. They call it a historical novel for a reason.

The Last Straw

Have you been wondering just how Byron's hair looked after the conk? Check out this image.

The Trip Plan

Curious about the Watsons' route from Flint to Birmingham? Here's a Google Maps version of Momma's notebook. Pretty nifty.

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