A family travels south in hopes of straightening out their misbehaving son, only to experience violence and racism that threaten their safety.
The worksheets are laid out in a way that “makes sense” for students to follow along with the novel. Put events from the novel in the order they occur at Kenny’s school. Predict whether Kenny will be able to mend his friendship with Rufus. Explain why Kenny and his mother react a certain way to Byron’s hairstyle choice. Put yourselves into the author’s shoes and speculate why Kenny’s near-drowning experience was put into a certain perspective. Design a sign to post at Collier’s Landing to warn people that it is not safe to swim there. Identify elements of literature from the novel with a story elements graphic organizer. Aligned to your State Standards and written to Bloom's Taxonomy, additional crossword, word search, comprehension quiz and answer key are also included.
About the Novel:
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 follows Kenny and his family as they experience firsthand the violence and racism engulfing the South in the 1960s. Kenny is a fourth grader living with his family in Flint, Michigan. The winters are cold and the family must huddle together for warmth. At school, Kenny experiences bullying from his classmates, only saved by his brother—the biggest bully of all—who picks on Kenny at home. The two look after their younger sister as she starts to learn right from wrong in Sunday school. As Kenny’s brother’s behavior starts to get out-of-control, their mom and dad decide to send him down to Birmingham, Alabama to live with his grandmother over the summer. Hoping she’ll straighten him out, the family sets off in their “Brown Bomber” on the long drive down south. When they arrive, they experience fear, violence and racism that culminates in a tragedy that shakes them to their core. From this experience, Kenny must overcome his insecurities and deal with real world issues at a very young age.
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