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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963


by Christopher Paul Curtis

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Get this: The Watsons Go to Birmingham was originally going to be The Watsons Go to Florida. Huh? Why Florida? Because Christopher Paul Curtis (the author) got the idea for the book when he took a trip to Florida and decided to make the entire drive in one straight shot, just like Dad does in the book. (Source)

You know how Dad buys the record player for the car just so they won't have to listen to country music? Well, that little detail came straight out of Curtis's own life. He believes that you end up liking whatever music you're exposed to, and he's afraid that one day he'll be listening to country music and will end up a fan. What's your beef with country, Curtis?! (Source)

It turns out that Curtis has a lot in common with his characters. He grew up in Flint during the 1960s, too, and—you guessed it—the Watsons are based on his own family. The pictures on the cover are even real pictures of Curtis's parents and his little sister, Cydney, who was the inspiration for Joey's character. (Source)

Watsons is Curtis's favorite of all the books he's written. Partly because the success of this book is what got him out of a factory job that he hated and into full-time writing. (Source)

Did you know that Watsons might never have been published at all? Curtis submitted the book to two contests. It was rejected the first time, and he says that if the book hadn't made it in the second, he would have given up. The book didn't win the second contest, but the publisher published it anyway—and we're awfully glad about that. (Source)

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