As I was studying the new Essential Standards for Social Studies in NC, I was heart broken to see that the US History that we cover in fifth grade now only goes through the period of Reconstruction. While I found it totally overwhelming to try to cover everything about the United States through the ages in one year, I did always look forward to teaching a Civil Rights unit and tying in the Newberry Medal book, The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. This book is a compelling, historically relevant, and relatable look at a family living in Flint, Michigan in the 1960’s. They have 3 children – Byron, the juvenile delinquent; Kenny, the socially awkward middle child; and Joetta, the youngest, sweet young lady of the family. The story chronicles their lives together and their journey to Birmingham, Alabama, in the summer of 1963.
Here are some resources to consider if you do read The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – 1963 :