Sunday, September 22, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Did you almost fall out of your chair? I know! I can barely believe I'm actually posting two days in a row. Truth is, Keagan is taking an exceptionally long nap, and I really like Amanda and Stacia's linky but never have a chance to link up. Plus I had already gotten to a good stopping point in my book when I thought I heard Keagan over an hour ago.

This week is all about Social Studies texts, and the only one I've had a chance to use so far was already taken (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers), so I started racking my brain for ones that I may use right now. Then I remembered how Erin had shared about this being the 50th anniversary of the church bombing in Birmingham. One of my favorite books for Black History month has always been The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963.

It's funny (for the majority of the book), relatable, and just perfectly written! I fall in love with it over and over again every time I read it. If you aren't familiar with it already, the story begins in Flint, Michigan with a family who is struggling to keep their oldest son under control. He pushes one too many buttons, and mama decides it's time to go to Alabama so grandma can straighten him out. Of course, life in Birmingham is ENTIRELY different from what they have grown up knowing, and the entire family is shaken to the core.

I have used this book to model vivid details because the way the author writes makes it so easy to feel like you're there. When I had to put together a text set for college, this was actually one of my books included for Sensory Details.

I would also use this book to discuss how characters change over time. The two brothers both experience significant changes, and it would also be interesting to compare them.

If you're really interested in this book, Hallmark JUST released a movie version that aired last weekend. I haven't seen it yet because (1). I don't have cable anymore and (2). I forgot. However, I will be searching for it because it's on my must see list. It's the perfect book to bring to life!

Now, click on the image at the top to see what other books people are using. Then link up and join the fun!


  1. I keep hearing about this book - I really must read it - it sounds perfect for February.

  2. Have I told you I love your new blog layout?? It's soooo adorable! I also love this book. :)

  3. Sounds like a very moving book. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice week.

    School Is a Happy Place

  4. Our fifth graders read this every year and love it. I have never read it and will have to pick it up this year to read. Love how you use it to teach vivid details, something students have a hard time incorporating!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  5. Oh, how I love this book! I didn't see the movie, either, but I'll be looking for it, too!

    I might just have to track down my copy of this book and reread it...thanks for reminding me! :)

    - Sarah Beth
    Miss White's Classroom