Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Favorite

I hadn't thought to ask Misa what her top 5 favorite books are, until yesterday when she finished reading The Watsons Go to Burmingham: 1963. She had been sifting through this book for the past month, and finished it as a homework assignment yesterday. It was obvious the text had an impact, as I observed her re-reading the final two chapters, and then listening to the epilogue twice, right at bedtime. By the time she closed the book, she was teary eyed.

I remember reading this book when it first came out, and I was fortunate to be in the audience when the author, Christopher Paul Curtis, came to speak in front of the student body. Since 1997 or around that time, it has been on just about every reading book list for both elementary and middle schoolers. And it should be. Historical fiction genres like this one, can capture the kid who favors narratives, and turn them into devotees of "real world events" genre fans. I have the book on audiotape and I have to say, listening to the author's voice brought the content and sincerity close to our hearts and minds. And not only that, but John-Pio got caught up in it as well, insisting that he get to listen to the book in its entirety, so it'll now will be part of his nightly ritual.

Misa's completion of the book, and the pique of John-Pio's interest comes on the heels of our on-going discussion about Civil Rights. We got stuck talking about The Watsons Go to Burmingham: 1963, so I'll have to check back to see her other 4. Stay tuned, and until then, here's Christopher Paul Curtis' interview.


  1. I liked reading that book to my kids. When i was a couple years older than Misa I was moved by what I'd learned about civil rights so, on my own initiative, I raised money to send a bunch of copies of a biography of George Washington Carver, to classrooms in need of trade books for the students. You are moved, yet you are just a little kid so you try to figure out something you can do.

  2. PS: It was 1964 that I was feeling I need to help and I sent those books. Civil rights struggles were very prominent news events. One of the other things I remember about that particular year of elementary school was Mrs. Falcoff teaching us "do you believe everything you read?" Well, THAT gave me pause. I had to think for myself what to do with that question. It's great when you can remember one thing a teacher left with you, a thing you remember almost 50 years later!

  3. That's cool, Anne :) Coincidentally, here is a link to a story on NPR about Watsons Go to Burmingham: 1963, just posted today!

  4. I found this amoung other fantastic books from my mother's old teaching supplies and took it (and a boxful of books) home for Sawyer. She hasn't started it yet.

    1. The young reader novels and non-fiction books that have been written over the past decade are so good! I mean, I still love the old school books too - Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Beverly Cleary books . . .