~ Vocabulary List

The Watson’s go to Birmingham Vocabulary and Character Study Guide


Vocabulary  of The Watsons go to Birmingham


  1. welfare - help or money given to people that need it

  2. intimidate - make afraid; frighten

  3. hostile - unfriendly; showing ill will

  4. reputation - a person’s good name or standing in society
  5. whirlpool - water moving in a violent spiral 

  6. wilier - craftier; slyer

  7. vittles - food

  8. seniority - a higher position or status based on experience

  9. maestro - a master of any art

  10. pinnacle - the highest or culminating point

  11. conk - a hairstyle in which curly hair is straightened


  12. peon - a laborer working off a debt


  13. pomade - hair ointment with perfume


  14. emulate - copy or try to equal or rival


  15. narcissist - a person that admires themself deeply 

Characters of The Watsons go to Birmingham


  1. Kenneth: (Kenny) a 10-year old smart kid often picked on by his peers for his intelligence and his pesky lazy eye.

  2. Byron: (By) Kenny’s older brother who often takes on the title of head teaser and bully. All of his bad behavior is what sends the Watsons to Birmingham.

  3. Joetta: (Joey) Kenny’s little sister. She falls victim to Byron’s pranks as well but mostly because she is the youngest and isn’t aware of his trickery. When the church bomb goes off, she avoids it because of Kenny’s love and protection of her.

  4. Wilona: (Momma) the mother of the 3 siblings and the wife of Daniel. Her hometown is Birmingham and she truly hates the cold Michigan weather.


  5. Daniel: (Dad) the father of the 3 siblings and the husband of Wilona. He is from Flint, Michigan where the family resides and is just as determined as Momma to stop Byron’s behavior. His archenemies in Birmingham are Moses aka Hambone and Grandma Sands.

  6. Grandma Sands: the mother of Momma and grandmother of the Watsons.


  7. Buphead: fellow delinquent and friend of Byron’s.

  8. Rufus and Cody: country transplants from Arkansas, new to Clark Elementary. Rufus is the eldest of the two and Kenny’s newest friend. He is also often teased, but for being southern fried and for being poor.

  9. Mr. Robert: Grandma Sands’ dearest friend after Grandpa passed away.