Christopher Paul Curtis made an outstanding debut in children’s literature with “The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963,” named a Newbery Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. His second novel, “Bud, Not Buddy,” also won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award.
Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan, the setting of many of his books. He was a great reader, but as a youth, he could not find books that “were about me.” After high school, Christopher Paul Curtis spent 13 years on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body plant, hanging 80-pound car doors on Buicks. This left him with an aversion to getting in and out of large automobiles- especially Buicks! He attended college at night and wrote during his breaks to escape the noise of the factory. He wrote his first book, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963,” in longhand in the children’s room of the Windsor Public Library. His son Steven typed his father’s drafts into their computer and served as first reader. Christopher Paul Curtis’s writing, and his dedication to it, has been greatly influenced by his family members. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.
Christopher Paul Curtis’s hobbies include playing basketball, collecting old record albums, and, of course, writing. His favorite books include anything by Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, or Zora Neale Hurston.