The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 Character List


The protagonist, a ten-year-old boy who is the middle child of the Watson family. He is bright, drawn to reading, and level-headed, though he occasionally gets picked on by his older brother and schoolmates for his personality. He has a lazy eye, something else he often gets teased for.


Kenny's older brother and the eldest child in the Watson family. Byron is a bit of a bully, and everything he does is done in order to make him appear "cool." He also has a tendency to disobey his parents and misbehave; as a result, his parents decide to send him to live with his strict grandmother for the summer.


Joey, whose real name is Joetta, is the youngest child in the Watson family, at five years old. She cares deeply about her brothers, and is a stickler for following the rules. She is also very religious.


Wilona Sands Watson is the children's mother. She is originally from Alabama, but she moved to Flint to be with her husband. She loves her children deeply; however, this quality often causes her to be overprotective. When mad or excited, she slips into her thick Southern accent.


Wilona's husband, father to the three Watson children. He loves his children and has a good sense of humor -- although, when the children misbehave, he can be a disciplinarian.

Grandma Sands

Wilona's mother, and the children's grandmother, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She is known for being incredibly strict, and Daniel and Wilona want to send Byron to live with her in order to correct their son's rebellious ways.


Byron's partner in crime, who also likes to make fun of Kenny. Just like Byron, he is not a particularly good student.


A boy who comes from the South and who becomes close to Kenny. Otherwise, Rufus has difficulty making friends.


Rufus's little brother, another new student who moved to Flint from the South.

Larry Dunn

A fourth-grade bully, who particularly loves to pick on Rufus, and occasionally Kenny.

Mr. Robert

Grandma Sands calls Mr. Robert her "friend," but it appears that they are in a romantic relationship. He lives with her in Birmingham.

Aunt Cydney

One of the Watson children's aunts, who lives nearby in Flint.

LJ Jones

A kid who used to play with Kenny's dinosaur figurines; he had a habit of stealing Kenny's dinosaurs when Kenny wasn't looking.

Mr. Mitchell

The grocer who allows the Watsons to sign for their food and pay at the end of the week.

Mrs. Davidson

The Watsons' neighbor, who often babysits Joey; before the Watsons leave for Birmingham, she gives Joey a little angel doll as a goodbye present.

Mr. Johnson

A friend who gives Daniel advice about the Brown Bomber, and tells him it can make it all the way to Alabama in one shot.